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Data Scientists Compete for a Job at Facebook

Big Data startup Kaggle is crowdsourcing the application process.

With a blog post titled “You are not your Resume, You are a Data Prospector,” Kaggle cofounder Anthony Goldbloom has announced a data science competition where the prize is an interview at Facebook (for, you guessed it, data scientist positions).

Kaggle is a problem-solving platform that relies on a network of registered data scientists who contribute freelance solutions to a diverse array of big data problems posed by companies and organizations in different disciplines, from improving chess rating algorithms to predicting someone’s future credit score. These companies pay Kaggle to host and coordinate each project. Typically, data scientists compete for a cash prize based on predefined performance metrics.

Now Kaggle is now tapping its network of 40,000 data scientists to predict who should be connected with whom using “a real-world (anonymized) social network dataset.” By offering a job instead of money as a prize, Kaggle is also acting as a headhunting recruiter or HR firm for Facebook, at least in the big data arena.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Facebook Recruiting Competition had 69 users submitting 138 entries.

Among its backers, Kaggle counts Max Levchin, cofounder of Paypal and later Slide.com, who is the subject of a forthcoming Q&A interview in Technology Review’s July/August 2012 issue, and was named in our TR35 Innovators Under 35 list in 2002.

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