|Headquarters||San Francisco, United States|
|Key people||Anthony Goldbloom (CEO)
Max Levchin (Chairman)
Jeff Moser (CTO)
Kaggle is a platform for predictive modelling and analytics competitions on which companies and researchers post their data and statisticians and data miners from all over the world compete to produce the best models. This crowdsourcing approach relies on the fact that there are countless strategies that can be applied to any predictive modelling task and it is impossible to know at the outset which technique or analyst will be most effective. Kaggle aims at making data science a sport.
How Kaggle competitions work
- The competition host prepares the data and a description of the problem. Kaggle offers a consulting service which can help the host do this, as well as frame the competition, anonymize the data, and integrate the winning model into their operations.
- Participants experiment with different techniques and compete against each other to produce the best models. For most competitions, submissions are scored immediately (based on their predictive accuracy relative to a hidden solution file) and summarized on a live leaderboard.
- After the deadline passes, the competition host pays the prize money in exchange for "a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable and royalty free license [...] to use the winning Entry", i.e. the algorithm, software and related intellectual property developed, which is "non-exclusive unless otherwise specified".
Alongside its public competitions, it also offers private competitions limited to Kaggle's top participants, and Kaggle-in-Class for university groups.
Impact of Kaggle competitions
Kaggle has approximately 200,000 data scientists worldwide, from fields such as computer science, statistics, economics and mathematics. It has partnered with organisations such as NASA, Wikipedia, Deloitte and Allstate for its competitions. Kaggle is best known as the platform hosting the $3 million Heritage Health Prize. Another competition looked at improving gesture recognition for Microsoft Kinect.
Competitions have resulted in many successful projects including furthering the state of the art in HIV research, chess ratings and traffic forecasting. Several academic papers have been published on the basis of findings made in Kaggle competitions. A key to this is the effect of the live leaderboard, which encourages participants to continue innovating beyond existing best practice. The winning methods are frequently written up on the Kaggle blog, No Free Hunch.
In November 2011, Kaggle announced a Series A funding round of $11 million from a number of high profile Silicon Valley investors. Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures led the round, while Max Levchin, the co-founder of PayPal, also took part and became Chairman of the Board. Another well-known investor is Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google, who described Kaggle as "a way to organize the brainpower of the world’s most talented data scientists and make it accessible to organizations of every size". Founded in Melbourne, Australia, Kaggle moved to San Francisco in 2011 and experienced a phase of rapid expansion following its fundraising.
- Kaggle. "Terms and Conditions - Kaggle".
- Kaggle. "Kaggle in Class".
- Kaggle. "About Us".
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