Netflix Prize – The Ensemble interview @ Kempton’s Virtual Cafe

July-26-Netflix Prize Final Winning Leader BoardFew nights ago, I had the great pleasure to chat with four members of The Ensemble team, one of the two teams that beat the 10% improvement goal set by the Netflix Prize – million dollar challenge.

To make the Skype audio interview more enjoyable to you, I’ve edited the interview for length and also eliminated some dead air, silence and noise. (For example, I was a bit confused about the Prize solution submission process and got a nice explanation that I ended up removing for length reason.)

Here is the chat (in mp3 or streaming audio) with The Ensemble team’s Lester MackeyJoe SillCes Bertino, and Bo Yang in their own voices and words.

  • introducing themselves
  • talking about what they’ve contributed to “The Ensemble” solution
  • the computation resources used in achieving the results
  • how are the results from different team members “combined”?
  • talking about how the last 30 days of the final competition was like?
  • And how did the cooperation from various teams and people happen?
  • How did they create a cooperation agreement in the final days?
  • What was the process for Grand Prize Team and Vandelay Industries in their decisions to split the prize money amongst the team members?
  • Given that the “BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos” team has been contacted by Netlflix to check their code and documentations, so BPC‘s likeliness of winning is pretty high, how do the The Ensemble team members see their experiences in the Netflix Prize competition?

I personally think both BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos and The Ensemble are developing and creating some cutting edge technologies. While the participants may not fully realize it yet, but their efforts are now part of some ground breaking computer science history!

Once the prize award/money has been settled, I hope both teams will consider writing up technical papers to share the insights they gained. And may be even share their software code under a suitable GNU General Public License or something like that.

Finally, I hope you’ve enjoyed the interview as much as I in conducting it. And I want to thank LesterJoeCes, and Bo again for a wonderful chat.

P.S. Here is Lester writing about the “Final Submission Countdown“. And here is a link to a New York Times article, “Netflix Competitors Learn the Power of Teamwork“ plus an interesting post “What The Netflix Prize Tells Us About Innovation, Collaboration, Info Sharing And Game Theory“.

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One Response to Netflix Prize – The Ensemble interview @ Kempton’s Virtual Cafe

  1. [...] After finishing my Netflix million dollar Prize interview with The Ensemble team, it is fun to read Carlos Lozada’s Washington Post article “Want to Innovate but Avoid [...]

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