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Netflix hands out big bucks to improve recommendations system

Darren Murph
12.11.08
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There's no doubt that Netflix is always toiling away in an attempt to improve its online rental service, but rather than tasking its own whiz-kids to do the impossible, it has established a potential $1 million prize for any individual or team who can "improve upon the complex Netflix movie recommendation system by 10-percent." The second annual competition just concluded, and for the second straight year there was no million dollar winner. Instead, BellKor in BigChaos took home $50,000 with a 9.44% improvement. According to team member Dr. Hunt, "hitting that last [small bit] is less of a dash to the finish line and more of a tough slog to the peak of Mt. Everest." Kind of makes you wonder, though -- what else is going on behind Netflix's doors?

[Thanks, Seth]

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