Stephen Baker

The Numerati
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Statisticians zero in on Euro crooner

May 31, 2010journalism

Kaggle, a British-based platform for prediction contests, has sponsored an unusual statistics competition, inviting teams from all over Europe to predict the winner of the annual European song contest. According to Kaggle's blog, the statisticians outperformed the prediction betting pools. This apparently indicates that smart stats fiends, at least in this case, outduel the wisdom of betting crowds.

The statisticians, according to the blog, took into account several variables that the betting public ignored. The most interesting point, to me was this:

[T]he betting-market data itself might have an impact on the outcome. This year, pre-contest favourites seemed unwilling to allocate votes to each other. Azerbaijan awarded Germany just one vote when other countries awarded Germany an average of 6.5. Germans returned the favour by not sparing a single vote for Azerbaijan.

As a special offering to fans of EuroVision contests, here's a look at Raphael singing, in 1966, Yo Soy Aquel.

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