Pragmatic Theory

Serving the world's movie rating needs since 2008...
prag·matic (prag matik)


1. matter-of-fact, pragmatic, pragmatical

concerned with practical matters; "a matter-of-fact (or pragmatic) approach to the problem"; "a matter-of-fact account of the trip"

2. hardheaded, hard-nosed, practical, pragmatic

guided by practical experience and observation rather than theory; "a hardheaded appraisal of our position"; "a hard-nosed labor leader"; "completely practical in his approach to business"; "not ideology but pragmatic politics

3. pragmatic, pragmatical

of or concerning the theory of pragmatism

The theory behind team Pragmatic Theory is that we don't have a theory. We don't have any preconceived notions that a certain approach is better than another. We will literally try anything and everything... and this approach has not let us down so far.

As described in this New-York Times Magazine article, team Pragmatic Theory consists of Martin Piotte, 43, electrical engineer, and Martin Chabbert, 32, software engineer, both located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Neither of us has a formal academic background in either machine learning or mathematics. We both work full time as computer engineers (at the same company) in the field of telecommunications.

We took an interest in the netflix challenge when a colleague pointed us to an article in wired magazine in March 2008. Since then, we have been working on this in our spare time (which is unfortunately rather limited).

Our progress has been slow but steady. We managed to hit the number one rank on Friday March 13th 2009 and have held that position until now, except for two weeks in May. See this column in Wired.

On June 26th 2009, we reached 10% improvement as part of team BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos. See reports here and here.

On September 21st 2009, Netflix officially announced that we were the winners of the Netflix Grand Prize. Coverage of the event can be seen in the NY Times, Business Week, Wired, and many more. Another interesting article in Wired that gives a bit of information on our solution. 

Netflix has also released "The Pragmatic Theory solution to the Netflix Grand Prize".

Please consult our blog for some random thoughts and ramblings about this contest. We are (still) trying to keep it as active and entertaining as possible. As always, comments are welcome... Enjoy!