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Summary:

GE, an airline and a health system have crowdsourced data science questions using Kaggle and are now paying out $600,000 to winners of two competitions.

Companies scrambled to get the attention of data scientists to fill openings at Strata conference in March 2013 in Santa Clara, Calif.
photo: Jordan Novet

Even GE respects the wisdom of the crowd. The manufacturer joined up with Alaska Airlines, the Ochsner Health System and Kaggle in November to ask outside data scientists and designers to help give pilots actionable data and make hospital visits and subsequent care more efficient.

The organizers of the first Industrial Internet Quests have since received more than 3,000 submissions and were expecting to announce on Wednesday the contestants who will receive a total of $600,000. One submission for the flight competition has earned $100,000 for its developers, a five-person team from Singapore.

Kaggle has hosted data-science competitions for several other brand-name companies, from Facebook to Ford. Its publicly available leaderboards make data science a bit like a spectator sport, and open-source education on machine learning and natural-language processing makes it possible for lots of people to compete.

Demand is sky-high for data scientists and application developers, and farming out one-off projects is a common practice in all sorts of industries. That’s why it’s not surprising to see even big companies like GE turning to the crowd for data science solutions. And it’s why this sort of news could become more common in the future.

  1. GE was the big winner and loser in the same time! They could use excellent minds for a very cheap price. 242 top Engineers for $250K.. In the same time GE was a loser since Kaggle couldn’t identify the best models correctly. It is fun to read this thread:
    http://www.gequest.com/c/flight/forums/t/4284/acknowledging-two-more-great-competitors

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