Have you heard of Kaggle?

The Benchmark Bond Trade Price Challenge is a competition to predict the
next price that a US corporate bond might trade at. Contestants are
given information on the bond including current coupon, time to maturity
and a reference price computed by
Benchmark Solutions.  Details of the previous 10 trades are also provided.  

This would be a perfect contest for the specs to enter.

Pitt T. Maner III writes: 

A bit more about Kaggle and its contests and contestants.


One way to find them, Goldbloom believes, is to make Kaggle into the geek equivalent of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.Every contest has a scoreboard. Math and computer science whizzes from places like IBM (IBM) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tend to do well, but there are some atypical participants, including glaciologists, archeologists, and curious undergrads. Momchil Georgiev, for instance, is a senior software engineer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. By day he verifies weather forecast data. At night he turns into “SirGuessalot” and goes up against more than 500 people trying predict what day of the week people will visit a supermarket and how much they’ll spend. (The sponsor is dunnhumby, an adviser to grocery chains like Tesco (TSCO:LN).) “To be honest, it’s gotten a little bit addictive,” says Georgiev.'


'By far the most lucrative prize on Kaggle is a $3 million reward offered by Heritage Provider Network to the person who can most accurately forecast which patients will be admitted to a hospital within the next year by looking at their past insurance claims data. More than 1,000 people have downloaded the anonymized data that covers four years of hospital visits, and they have until April 2013 to post answers.'


Opera Solutions at present leads the Kaggle "hospital problem" contest and its CEO Arnab Gupta, a chess player, is a proponent of "man plus machine". An average player plus a chess machine he claims would beat most grandmasters. The key for him is to extract the "signal" from massive amounts of data.

Given the promise of Big Data, Gupta ascribes to the idea expressed by the chief scientist at the Broad Institute that medicine in 2010 vs 2020 will be like chemistry before and after the periodic table.


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