circletimessquare brings us an update to the status of the million-dollar Netflix competition to develop a better algorithm for movie recommendations. We've discussed aspects of the competition since it started two years ago, but the New York Times has a lengthy overview of where it stands now. "The Netflix competition is still going strong, with a vibrant, competitive roster of some 30,000 programmers around the globe hard at work trying to win the prize. The Times provides a look at some of the more obsessive searchers, such as Len Bertoni, a semi-retired computer scientist near Pittsburgh who logs 20 hours a week on the problem, oftentimes with the help of his children. There's also Martin Chabbert in Montreal: 'After the kids are asleep and I've packed the lunches for school, I come down at 9 in the evening and work until 11 or 12.' The article gets into the history of the search algorithm Netflix currently uses, and explores the hot commodity called 'singular value decomposition' that serves as the basis for most of the algorithms in competition."
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