Former Apple Engineer Is AMAZED At How Kaggle Helped Him Solve An Ugly Computing Problem

JetpacChris Raynor and Cathrine Lindblom Gunasekara are fighting with inflatable globes at the Jetpac office in San Francisco.

Photo: Pete Warden

If you’re stuck building a product that you could use some more brains on, you should think about outsourcing that work to a mathematically minded group on Kaggle.Jetpac’s Pete Warden held a competition on Kaggle to improve the quality of photos that were showing up on Jetpac’s iPad travel magazine.

Warden, a former engineer at Apple, is now the CTO of Jetpac. Since Warden is 50 per cent of the engineering team, he needed the extra help to solve this problem.

In the early prototype, Warden realised that crowdsourcing photos posted by your friends on Facebook page wouldn’t be good enough. In fact, most photos posted were terrible.

To fix that, Warden and his team used Kaggle to find the best algorithm to surface the best photos. The outsourced algorithm has become a critical component to their newly launched product.

The competition was held in November over a three week period.

“We were amazed that over four hundred teams entered for our $5,000 prize. The algorithms they gave us produced fantastic results, and we ended up using the second place winner’s algorithm,” he said.

“There are thousands of machine learning experts on Kaggle just waiting to dive into your problem. All you have to do is package it up, and provide a reasonable reward for their effort, and you’ll get back a world-class solution, way better than you could produce in-house.”

It worked.

“Before the competition, everybody asked, ‘how are you going to get rid of the bad photos?’ ¬†Now, nobody really asks about bad photos anymore,” Warden said.

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