The biggest prize by far open to the public is $3 million offered by the California-based Heritage Provider Network medical group to the data scientist best able to use hospital admission records to predict the profiles of people most likely to end up in the hospital. The next-biggest purse is $100,000 in prizes put up by the Hewlett Foundation for algorithms that can automatically grade student essays.
In its grandest vision of itself, the 11-person company backed by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin will have tens of thousands of competitions running simultaneously. Guilds of data gurus will band together to unleash software that enters competitions automatically. Kaggle becomes not just a way to push humans to perform at their best but to make machines themselves smarter as code-based contestants battle and "learn" from their mistakes.
In this way, Howard said, data competitions become steps along the development of artificial intelligence systems such as self-driving cars.
As for why orange used cars are most likely to be in good shape, the numbers did not hold the answer. One notion was that such a flashy color would only attract car fanatics who would be more likely to take care of their vehicles. That didn't pan out, however, since the least well-kept used cars turned out to be purple.
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