The Netflix Prize: Quest for $1,000,000

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Wed Jul 15 13:59:00 EDT 2009

In October 2006, the DVD rental company Netflix released more than 100 million user ratings of movies for a competition to predict users' ratings based on prior ratings. The competition has attracted thousands of data analysts around the world due, at least in part, to a $1,000,000 prize to the winning team that reaches a ten percent reduction in prediction error relative to Netflix's current algorithm. After 33 months, the end appears to be near ( We will discuss some of the challenges and breakthroughs that have occurred and provide an update on the race.

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Robert M. Bell

Robert Bell received a Ph.D. in Statistics from Stanford University. He has been a member of the Statistics Research Department at AT&T Labs-Research since 1998. He previously worked for 18 years at RAND doing public policy analysis. His current research interests include machine learning methods, analysis of data from complex samples, and record linkage methods. He was a member of an international team that won the Netflix Prize competition. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association. Dr. Bell is a recognized expert on use of statistical methods in the decennial census, having served on four National Research Council panels advising the U.S. Census Bureau, one as chair, and the Census Advisory Committee of the American Statistical Association. He has served on the Fellows Committee of the American Statistical Association, the board of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, and the Committee on National Statistics.