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September/October 2011


Classes and Workshops
The Story of the Netflix Prize

Announcing A Joint Seminar of the Committee on National Statistics-Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CNSTAT-CATS) of the National Academies

Friday, November 4, 2011 • 3:00-5:00 pm
Reception to Follow

Keck Center of the National Academies, Room 100
500 Fifth Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

Just over five years ago, Netflix released more than 100 million movie ratings as part of a data analaysis contest to improve methods for recommending movies to customers based on ratings they had provided for previously rented movies. A prize of $1 million was offered for a "recommender" algorithms that outperformed the existing Netflix system CinematchSM by at least 10% in terms of root mean squared prediction error. In a textbook example of "crowdsourcing," more than 20,000 teams from over 150 countries submitted algorithms. By August 2009, after almost three years of effort, two teams, BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos and The Ensemble, had surpassed the 10% goald in a finish worthy of its own movie.

Bob Bell (Bellkor's Pragmatic Chaos) and Lester Mackey (The Ensemble) will describe the overall set-up of the competition, the challenges it prosed, the main ideas underlying their recommender algorithms, and the interaction among leading competitors. Emmanuel Candes will then discuss the research avenues stimulated by the various algorithms developed in this competition, some of the resulitnig advances, and some difficult problems that remain.

Open to the Public • Please RSVP!

For planning and bulding check-in purposes, please RSVP by October 31 to Agnes Gaskin at agaskin@nas.edu or (202) 334-3096.

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Classes and Workshops
Workshops Sponsored by American University

Fall 2011 (October)
Philosophy of Information, October 3, 2011, Washington DC, USA
Fall 2011 (November)
Information Theory and Shrinkage Estimation, November 12, 2011, Washington DC, USA
Spring 2012 (March)
Information and Econometrics of Networks, March 30-31, 2012, Washington DC, USA
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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the November 2011 issue of the WSS NEWS will be accepted until the 15th day of the preceding month.

Email items to wss.editor@gmail.com.

Please submit all materials in MS WORD or plain text.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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