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$1m retail recommendations challenge

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Technology researchers are being offered a $1m prize to solve a complex condundrum faced by retailers – how to choose the best online product recommendations to show shoppers.

Dynamic recommendation company RichRelevance and discounted merchandise site Overstock.com have launched the RecLab Prize, which is looking for new ways of making sure online browsers are shown the most relevant products at any point in the research and purchase process.

In order to win the prize, open to non-commercial teams around the world, a researcher or team must deliver at least a 10% lift over existing product recommendations on Overstock.com.

If that figure is not achieved the prize will be awarded on a pro-rata basis to the best performing team.

Darren Vengroff, RichRelevance chief scientist and the creator of RecLab, said the prize would give researchers a chance to solve a real-world problem while also seeing “how their best algorithms perform when put in front of live shoppers.”

He added: “The academic community has been clamouring for access to live real-world data and live user interaction to drive their research and we are giving them more and better access than ever before, using a unique approach that absolutely preserves the privacy of shoppers.”

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