Winners Announced for the Zillow Prize (IEEE Spectrum)

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Winners Announced for the Zillow Prize For Spectrum's January issue, I wrote about the Zillow Prize competition, in which nearly 4,000 teams were pitted against one another in a quest to come up with a computerized algorithm or machine-learning system that could predict the future sale price of homes. Real-estate giant Zillow organized the competition in hopes of using what it learned from these teams to improve its own system of predicting home prices, something the company calls the "Zestimate." And today, Zillow has announced a winner: a team made up of Chahhou Mohamed of Morocco, Jordan Meyer of the United States, and Nima Shahbazi of Canada, whose predictions bettered the Zestimate by about 13 percent. Stan Humphries, chief analytics officer for the Zillow Group, in Seattle, says that he and his colleagues have learned an enormous amount from the winning team and others in the competition--thousands of people working for two years on the problem: "That's a huge help," says Humphries. Although he couldn't be too specific, Humphries shared that one area of insight was "how you combine various models in an ensemble approach."

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