New data analysis competitions

  • Big data analysis competition at Kaggle: Zillow's Home Value Prediction, with more than 1 million dollars in prizes. Not very well planned, if you ask me: the first phase is pure modeling, as the dataset is already provided, but for the second phase they require participants to generate their own features from scratch. The first phase will probably eliminate teams that would do very well during the second one.

How-to

Privacy

  • Google starts tracking offline shopping -- what you buy at stores in person. HackerNews discussion here.

    Google already monitors online shopping -- but now it's also keeping an eye on what people buy in physical stores as it tries to sell more digital advertising.

    The Internet giant said Tuesday that a new tool will track how much money people spend in merchants' bricks-and-mortar stores after clicking on their digital ads.

    The analysis will be done by matching the combined ad clicks of people who are logged into Google services with their collective purchases on credit and debit cards. Google says it won't be able to examine the specific items bought or how much a specific individual spent.

  • How Facebook's tentacles reach further than you think. Original report (and more research) here.

    Visually arresting flow charts that take hours to absorb fully, but which show how the data we give Facebook is used to calculate our ethnic affinity (Facebook's term), sexual orientation, political affiliation, social class, travel schedule and much more.

    One map shows how everything -- from the links we post on Facebook, to the pages we like, to our online behaviour in many other corners of cyber-space that are owned or interact with the company (Instagram, WhatsApp or sites that merely use your Facebook log-in) -- could all be entering a giant algorithmic process.

Tech

  • How Montreal aims to become a world centre of artificial intelligence.

    The idea is to create a "fluid, dynamic ecosystem" in Montreal where AI research, startup, investment and commercialization activities all mesh productively together, said Gagné, who founded Element with researcher Nicolas Chapados and Université de Montréal deep learning pioneer Yoshua Bengio.

    "Artificial intelligence is seen now as a strategic asset to governments and to corporations. The fight for resources is global," he said.

    The rise of Montreal -- and rival Toronto -- as AI hubs owes a lot to provincial and federal government funding.

Visualizations

  • The Price of Entry, or how much does it cost to obtain residence or citizenship. Because in immigration there are also classes.

Data Links is a periodic blog post published on Sundays (specific time may vary) which contains interesting links about data science, machine learning and related topics. You can subscribe to it using the general blog RSS feed or this one, which only contains these articles, if you are not interested in other things I might publish.

Have you read an article you liked and would you like to suggest it for the next issue? Just contact me!