Posted by Danny TarlowThere is a lot happening with data analysis and machine learning focused contests.
Yahoo has launched a learning to rank challenge. Given a set of query-dependent features of documents (e.g., how well the query matches words in the document) and relevance labels denoting how well a document matches a particular query, the goal is to learn a ranking function that performs best on a held out set of queries where you have the features but not the labels. This looks to be the largest publicly available data set of the sort, so it's very exciting. I have some ideas and may take a stab at it:
On the death side, the Netflix contest sequel is cancelled due to privacy concerns and lawsuits: http://blog.netflix.com/2010/03/this-is-neil-hunt-chief-product-officer.html
Finally, I have found a commissioner to run this year's march madness prediction challenge (for which there is a prize!). Get your algorithms tuned up and stay tuned--more details to come.