I realize that virtually everyone has been reading about the Netflix prize coming to a close. It has been exciting to follow the competition. If you’re keeping score, The Ensemble has been named the unofficial victor with a come-from-behind victory (Read more articles about the first place team). Check out Mike Trick’s blog for some more information, but it looks like the second place team, BellKor, might actually officially win. I’m sure the blogosphere will be atwitter in the next few days. I’m anxious to find our more about the winning algorithm.
Over a year ago, I wrote about Gavin Potter, then one of the leaders (he finished in #17 as “just a guy in a garage”), the only major contender that is a social scientist. He blended statistical techniques, algorithm design, and machine learning, with economics methodologies (like anchoring) to take the human element into account. His reflections following the competition succinctly and eloquently capture what was learned.