eView: Why the Netflix Prize Is a Good Start to Personalized Recommendations

Netflix created the $1 million Netflix Prize in 2006 as a way to reward developers of a next-generation film-rating prediction algorithm.

The idea sounded seductively simple: If developers could predict how users would rate a film, they could use that prediction to decide whether it makes sense to recommend the film to them or not.

The winner would be the first person to develop an algorithm capable of predicting user ratings of films at least 10 percent more accurately than Netflix’s internally developed Cinematch algorithm. Three years and 43,000 entries later — from more than 5,100 teams in 185 countries — a winner appears to have emerged. The winner will be officially announced this month, and it’s down to two teams.

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