Centric’s BI practice has been working to polish skills in analytics, particularly in big data. Yet, our approach to better serving clients via purposeful skill development is simple compared to Kaggle.

Kaggle is working to make Data Science a sport. They’ve built a crowd-sourced, gamified playing field where analytics experts can work together in teams to create predictive algorithms to compete for price money. Essentially it’s statistical / analytics outsourcing. Companies, governments and researchers present datasets and problems – the world’s best data scientists then compete to produce the best solutions. At the end of a competition, the competition host pays prize money in exchange for the intellectual property behind the winning model.


And the prize money provided by blue-chip sponsors is no small change. Winners take home prize money ranging from $100K to $3M.

Some Kaggle contest examples:

  • GE Flight Quest – develop a usable and scalable algorithm that delivers a real-time flight profile to the pilot, helping them make flights more efficient and reliably on time
  • Heritage Provider Network – identify patients who will be admitted to a hospital within the next year using historical claims data

Another benefit received by Kaggle contest participants – networking and job offers. The site has a significant social aspect due to teaming arrangements and gamification. A thriving job board also offers plenty of opportunities for data scientists.

Kaggle is just another vivid example of how big data and the ability to process it will change the world.

I’ve got to go and tell my high school senior that he should consider the field of “data scientist.”

I welcome your comments.

Mike Brannan