March 7, 2012

Kaggle – Solving Problems With Competitions

Have you ever had a competitive friend who turned everything into a game that he or she just had to win? If that friend were a website, it might be named Kaggle. The web-application invites number crunchers, statisticians, mathematicians, and anyone else with data science skills to compete in various contests for big-money prizes. Kaggle also helps companies host their own competitions to find the answers to all types of data-related problems.

Whether you’re looking to earn some cash or show off your prowess in the world of data science, you’ll want to register with Kaggle to start taking part in the web-app’s competitions. Once you’ve confirmed your email address, you can start browsing through the various competitions going on right now. Sort competitions by name, reward amount, number of competing teams, or the deadline, or type in a keyword to find out if any active competitions meet your request. When you find something that looks interesting and click on the title, you’ll go to the competition page. Read the description, evaluation, and rules before downloading the associated data and getting start with your work. When you’ve created an algorithm that solves the problem, you can submit your work and pat yourself on the back. In many cases, the competitions hosted on Kaggle come with monetary prizes that you could be entitled to as a result of your participation in the events.

For businesses, Kaggle is an innovative solution that provides access to genius data scientists for a relatively low price. Companies and organizations that provide the right types of incentives – usually financial – can get answers to some of their most complicated problems without hiring any new employees or consultancy firms.

Practical Uses:

  • Win money for solving data science problems
  • Use existing data to find a solution to a business’ workflow issues
  • Help an online gaming company predict the winners of its upcoming competitions
  • Ask unemployed scientists to solve some of your start-up’s biggest fiscal concerns

Insider Tips:

  • Download the .CSV training data file to begin work on a new competition
  • Players can team up and work together in certain competitions
  • Players who do well in multiple competitions may get asked to go “Pro”
  • Kaggle pays some pre-selected players to analyze data sets for private companies

What we liked:

  • Out of work data scientists can potentially make money through Kaggle
  • Kaggle uses the idea of crowd sourcing to solve complex data issues
  • Businesses can solve data problems without hiring full-time staffers
  • Players can view the prize pool before deciding whether to enter a competition

What we didn’t like:

  • Nothing


  • None

Company Info:

  • Launched: 2010
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • Founded by: Anthony Goldbloom
  • Web site:


  • Free for players

Submit a Comment