The Netflix Search Contest Continues…

By Deane Barker on November 22, 2008

If You Liked This, Sure to Love That – Winning the Netflix Prize: Here’s an engrossing article about the race to improve the Netflix search algorithm, which we first talked about two years ago. The goal was to improve the current search by 10%, and no one has claimed the prize yet, though some are very, very close.

Bertoni says it’s partly because of “Napoleon Dynamite,” an indie comedy from 2004 that achieved cult status and went on to become extremely popular on Netflix. It is, Bertoni and others have discovered, maddeningly hard to determine how much people will like it. When Bertoni runs his algorithms on regular hits like “Lethal Weapon” or “Miss Congeniality” and tries to predict how any given Netflix user will rate them, he’s usually within eight-tenths of a star. But with films like “Napoleon Dynamite,” he’s off by an average of 1.2 stars.

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