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{ Category Archives } Challenges

Sad News on the Netflix Prize

The followup to the wildly successful Netflix Prize has been canceled due to privacy concerns.  From a blog post by Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer for Netflix: In the past few months, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asked us how a Netflix Prize sequel might affect Netflix members’ privacy, and a lawsuit was filed by […]

AIMMS Contest

I can’t resist competitions in operations research.  It brings out the competitor in me, even if it is more like ESPN and sports:  I like to watch others doing the work! AIMMS (whose software I use in class) is sponsoring their second modeling competition, in conjunction with this year’s MOPTA (Modeling and Optimization: Theory and […]

Data Mining, Operations Research, and Predicting Murders

John Toczek, who writes the PuzzlOR column for OR/MS Today  (example), has put together a new operations research/data mining challenge in the spirit of, though without the million dollar reward of, the Netflix Prize.  The Analytics X Prize is a  fascinating problem: Current Contest – 2010 – Predicting Homicides in Philadelphia Philadelphia is a city […]

Operations Research Embarrassments and the Traveling Tournament Problem

Dick Lipton of Georgia Tech has a very nice blog on the theory of computation (though it ranges broader than that). He has a fascinating post on “Mathematical Embarrassments”. A “Mathematical Embarrassment” does not refer to the mistaken proof I had in a real analysis course twenty five years ago (that still causes me to […]

DIMACS Talk on the Importance of Challenges

I gave a talk at DIMACS on the importance of DIMACS Challenges. In short, we need the Challenges because it is important for the advancement of the field of computational optimization.  You are welcome to see the slides here.

Become Famous by Winning the COIN-OR Cup!

Do you use COIN-OR (open source software for operations research)?  According to the log files, lots and lots of people do!  If you are doing something interesting with COIN-OR and are planning to attend the San Diego INFORMS Meeting, I strongly encourage you to enter the COIN-OR Cup!  You could join John Forrest, Jonathan Eckstein+Bill […]

Competition then Cooperation: More on the Netflix Challenge

Wired has a nice article on the teams competing to win the Netflix Prize (thanks for the pointer, Matt!).  I think the most interesting aspect is how the “competition” turned into a cooperation: Teams Bellkor (AT&T Research), Big Chaos and Pragmatic Theory combined to form Bellkor’s Pragmatic Chaos, the first team to qualify for the […]

Graph Coloring Benchmark System

For many years, I have wanted to put together a system for keeping track of results in solving instances of various combinatorial optimization problems.  This started back in the early 1990s when I was the coordinator for the DIMACS Challenge on Cliques, Coloring, and Satisfiability.  This was pre-web, so everything was done via ftp and […]

How to Design a Contest: The Netflix Challenge

It looks like the Netflix people made some good decisions when they designed their million dollar challenge. In particular, it appears that they kept two verification test sets: one that was the basis for the public standings and one that no one ever saw the results from. It is the success on the latter set […]

Netflix Prize ready to finish?

While I have been somewhat skeptical of the Netflix Prize (in short: it seems to be showing how little information is in the data, rather than how much; and the data is rather strange for “real data”), it is still fascinating to watch some pretty high powered groups take a stab at it. If I […]