NetFlix Seeks Programming Stars, alphaworks Turns 10, and Our New IBM Executive Interaction Channel Hits the Cyberwaves
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If you didn't like the movie, perhaps you'll like the programming contest.
The shocker: Popular online movie rental service, NetFlix, has announced a competition to award $1 million to the first person who can improve the accuracy of its movie recommendations based on personal preferences.
According to a story in The New York Times, to win the prize a contestant will have to devise a system that is more accurate than the company's current recommendations system by at least 10 percent.
I myself am not a programmer, nor do I play one in the movies or on television. However, there are plenty of programmers who have surfed through our alphaWorks Web site over the last decade.
I was a wee, green (err..blue) lad in the pastoral scene that constitutes Somers, New York, when IBM Internet guru John Patrick and his band of merry Web denizens struck out 10 years ago to build a Web-based test-bed for early-stage Internet and other software technologies. The rest, as they say, is h1st0ry (if I knew how to spell history in actual binary, I would...but this is as close as I'm gonna get).
You can learn more about alphaworks 10th anniversary here, but let me just congratulate the entire team and tell them to keep up the great work. If you'd have told me you'd still be here 10 years later back in 1996, I don't know I would have believed you.
If you'd have told me I would still be here, I would have broken down and cried (okay, maybe not cried, but I certainly would have bought beau-coup shares of stock from Yahoo, eBay, and other fledgling dot com startups who survived and thrived in their transition into the 21st Century.)
Of course, good things do sometimes come to those who wait. Just last week, after much blood, sweat, and tears (and interviews with numerous customers), we've launched our new Executive Interactive Channel (hereafter known as the "EIC"...hey, it wouldn't be an IBM site if we didn't come up with a good acronym for it.)
The EIC is intended to help senior business leaders think about new ways of understanding their most pressing business issues, while arming them to anticipate and address changing conditions and opportunities in the world.
While that doesn't mean we're going to be holding any seances to try and predict the future (although I will bring the candles if you'll bring the crystal ball), what it does mean is that a lot of great content from a lot of smart people here at IBM are going to help us collectively better understand the implications of changing business conditions on the intelligent use of information technology.
Don't take my word for it. Go here and check it out for yourself. I've already spent some time exploring the site, and found the information very useful (this in spite of the also very clever Flash navigation.) It's got everything from podcasts about our master inventors to video blogs from our chief privacy officer.
Now, I've got to get back to learning how to program so I can try and win that million bucks.