Netflix Gives $1 Million Prize to BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos

dell takes a slice at apple with super thin latitude z dellz closed

Back in 2006, movie rental powerhouse Netflix announced a competition: if someone—or a team of someones—could come up with a way to improve the service’s movie recommendation system by 10 percent, they’d wein $1 million. As expected, the competition drew interest from a wide variety of programmers and statisticians—and, naturally, Netflix began to reap the benefits of recommendation improvements investigated by the competitors without having to spend a dime of its own money on additional engineering and research efforts.

However, today Netflix put its money where its mouth was in 2006, announcing that the team BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos—a collation of three teams that had previously been competing against each other—have won the $1 million prize. The prize was awarded by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt in a ceremony in New York.

“We had a bona fide race right to the very end,” said Hastings, in a statement. “Teams that had previously battled it out independently joined forces to surpass the 10 percent barrier. New submissions arrived fast and furious in the closing hours.”

BellKor managed to submit their winning solution just 24 minutes ahead of the competition’s three-year deadline on July 26, 2009. Netflix’s panel of in-house and external judges took weeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the submitted solutions.

Given the interest in the Netflix Prize, the company has now announced Netflix Prize 2, which aims to improve the service’s movie recommendation service significantly for Netflix members who don’t rate movies often or at all; instead, the improvements to the recommendation service will have to rely on user demographic information and behavioral cues taken from their use of the Netflix site. Netflix Prize 2 doesn’t set any accuracy goals, but will award $500,000 to the submission with the most improvement after 6 months, and another $500,000 to the best solution after 18 months.

BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos had seven members—Bob Bell, Martin Chabbert, Michael Jahrer, Yehuda Koren, Martin Piotte, Andreas Toscher and Chris Volinsky—from the Canada, Austra, Israel, and the United States. The awards ceremony was the first time all the team members had met in person. The team hasn’t announced how they plan to split or distribute the prize money.

Mobile

Sony's Xperia 10 smartphone boasts a 6-inch screen and is now available

Sony took the wraps off of three new phones at Mobile World Congress 2019, including the new Xperia 1, which is the company's new flagship phone and the first with a 4K OLED display with a 21:9 aspect ratio.
Gaming

EA reportedly paid Ninja $1 million to stream Apex Legends for a day

Popular Twitch streamers Tyler Blevins -- also known as Ninja -- was reportedly paid $1 million by Electronic Arts to tweet about and stream the free-to-play Apex Legends for just one day.
Computing

We gave both notebooks a perfect score, but there can only be one best laptop

Dell's XPS 13 has been our favorite 13-inch laptop for a while, but HP's latest Spectre x360 13 2-in-1 presents a serious challenge. Which wins out in a head-to-head comparison?
Cars

Check to see if your Honda or Acura vehicle is part of the latest Takata recall

Honda has recalled more than a million vehicles in the U.S. that contain faulty and potentially lethal Takata airbag inflators. The notice is part of an ongoing recall by 19 automakers that affects tens of millions of vehicles.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Deals

Amazon slashes prices on TCL’s already affordable 4K Roku Smart TVs

If you're on a budget, some of the fancier models might seem way out of reach, but that doesn't mean you can't still get a solid TV at an affordable price. Amazon is dropping TCL 4K TV prices as low as $250 right now.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

2019 LG OLED TVs with AirPlay 2, HomeKit support coming in April

LG has revealed the prices and release dates of the first batch of 2019 OLED TVs with A.I. ThinQ. The new W9 wallpaper OLED TVs will arrive in June, while the E9 and C9 OLED TVs will start rolling out in April.
Movies & TV

These are the best movies on Hulu right now (March 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

11 Hollywood heavyweights who jumped from the big screen to the small screen

From Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep to James Franco and Mahershala Ali, lots of Hollywood A-list actors with successful film careers are flocking to television projects during the second Golden Age of Television.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: Aliens, Avengers: Endgame, Charlie Says, and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's new trailers for Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Charlie Says, Doom: Annihilation, and more.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Free Solo, Catastrophe season 4, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Free Solo documents an awe-inspiring climb, Catastrophe unveils its final season, and more.