Netflix Prize 2009

Box office boffo for brainiacs: The Netflix Prize

September 21, 2009: 10:15 AM ET

How To Recommend Movies (and Win $1 million)

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

It was like the machine learning world's version of "American Idol" Monday in New York:  A seven-man multinational group dubbed BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos was awarded $1 million by Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings as the winners of the Netflix Prize.

Cooked up three years ago by Hastings, the Netflix Prize challenged all comers to improve the recommendation technology used by the online movie rental company by 10%.

As they clutched the Ed McMahon-style check, and slung enormous gold medallions stamped with "Netflix Prize 2009" around their necks, it was the first time the winning team - a collection of computer scientists, electrical engineers and statisticians  - had actually ever physically been in the same place at the same time. More

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