Contest for coders: Netflix offers $100,000 prize money in cloud computing challenge

netflix12Fancy $10,000? If coding’s your thing, listen up. Netflix is offering ten $10,000 prizes to providers of the best ideas on how to improve the streaming video service for its 33 million members around the world.

In a release announcing the contest, Netflix said it was looking for software developers to come up with innovative ways to “improve the features, usability, quality, reliability and security of computing resources delivered as a service over the Internet.” That’s right, it’s talking about cloud computing, deliverer of all things Netflix.

The Netflix Cloud Prize will be judged by a panel of tech experts, including the likes of Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, Thoughtworks chief scientist Martin Fowler, University of Aarhus developer training expert Aino Corry, and Netflix cloud vice president Yury Izrailevsky.

Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt commented on the launch of the contest, saying, “Cloud computing has become a hot topic recently, but the technology is still just emerging.” It’s possible he had flashbacks to past service crashes when he said that.

Hunt added, “No doubt many of the key ideas that will take it to the next level have yet to be conceived, explored, and developed. The Netflix Cloud Prize is designed to attract and focus the attention of the most innovative minds to create the advances that will take cloud to the next level.”

Entrants are invited to submit a standalone program or a patch for one of Netflix’s open source projects, or basically “something cool”, as Netflix puts it on the competition page.

The closing date for entries is September 15, with the winners announced a month later. A special awards ceremony will take place at the Amazon Web Services Re:Invent conference taking place in Las Vegas this November.

More information about the competition and how to get involved can be found here.

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