KorBell, a group of AT&T Bell Labs researchers, have won the $50,000 "progress" award in the Netflix Prize Contest (which means that the $1 million grand prize is still up for grabs).
The KorBell team of Yehuda Koren, Robert Bell, and Chris Volinsky, who work on visualizing and analyzing large networks for AT&T in Florham Park, N.J., improved upon the Netflix recommendation system by 8.43 percent. They led a crowded field of more than 27,000 contestants on more than 2,550 teams from 161 countries.
Koren, KorBell's captain, said he is an enthusiastic Netflix member who was drawn to compete for the Netflix Prize after the Netflix Prize dataset gave him an "opportunity to study a fascinating network." Koren said he and his team spent 2,000 hours in data analysis and computation to come up with the highest improvement to date over the Netflix recommendation system. Results of the team's work will also apply to AT&T Labs' ongoing research and development efforts to enhance the company's network and communications and entertainment service portfolio.
The press release has more details about the news.