Category Archives: Updates

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish!

SciCasters:

Thank you for your participation over the past year and a half in the largest collaborative S&T forecasting project, ever. Our main IARPA funding has ended, and we were not able to finalize things with our (likely) new sponsor in time to keep the question-management, user support, engineering support, and prizes running uninterrupted. Therefore we will be suspending SciCast Predict for the summer, starting June 12, 2015 at 4 pm ET.  We expect to resume in the Fall with the enthusiastic support of a big S&T sponsor. In the meantime, we will continue to update the blog, and provide links to leaderboard snapshots and important data.

Recap

Through the course of this project, we’ve seen nearly 130,000 forecasts from thousands of forecasters on over 1,200 forecasting questions, and an average of >240 forecasts per day. We created a combinatorial engine robust enough to allow crowdsourced linking, resulting in the following rich domain structure:

Near-final questoin structure on SciCast, with most of the live links provided by users.

Near-final question structure on SciCast, with most of the live links provided by users. (Click for full size)

Some project highlights:

  • The market beat its own unweighted opinion pool (from Safe Mode) 7/10 times, by an average of 18% (measured by mean daily Brier score on a question)
  • The overall market Brier was about 0.29
  • The project was featured in The Wall Street Journal and Nature and many other places
  • SciCast partnered with AAAS, IEEE, and the FUSE program to author more than 1,200 questions
  • Project principals Charles Twardy and Robin Hanson answered questions in a Reddit Science AMA
  • SciCasters weighed in on news movers & shakers like the Philae landing and Flight MH370
  • SciCast held partner webinars with ACS and with TechCast Global
  • SciCast hosted questions (and provided commentary) for the Dicty World Race
  • In collaboration The Discovery Analytics Center at Virginia Tech and Healthmap.org, SciCast featured questions about the 2014-2015 flu season
  • SciCast gave away BIG prizes for accuracy and combo edits
  • Other researchers are using SciCast for analysis and research in the Bitcoin block size debate
  • MIT and ANU researchers studied SciCast accuracy and efficiency, and were unable to improve using stock machine learning — a testimony to our most active forecasters and their bots. [See links for Della Penna, Adjodah, and Pentland 2015, here.]

What’s Next?

Prizes for the combo edits contest will be sent out this week, and we will be sharing a blog post summarizing the project. Although SciCast.org will be closed, this blog will remain open as well as the user group.  Watch for announcements regarding future SciCast.

Once again, thank you so much for your participation!  We’re nothing without our crowd.

Contact

Please contact us at contact@scicast.org if you have questions about the research project or want to talk about using SciCast in your own organization.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

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Help us improve the Recommender

The Recommender is used throughout SciCast to suggest new questions based on your previous activity. It is most obvious in the carousel on the main “exchange” page, shown below:
Recommender

You’re invited to take a brief three question survey to help us make the Question Recommender even better. We appreciate your input and to say thank you, we’re drawing one name randomly on Monday, March 9 to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card. Previous survey-takers are already entered in the drawing. SciCast username must be entered in the survey in order to be entered to win.

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Cheating/Gaming

The admins are monitoring several accounts which appear to be engaged in blatant gaming behavior such as “dumping” points from a shill account or “throwing” points across a leaderboard deadline, in opposition to any sensible accuracy-guided forecasting strategy.  Most of these accounts will probably be disabled and eventually removed from all leaderboards.  Disablings will be announced.  Forecasters with permanently disabled accounts will have to start over.  The SciCast team is examining some non-trading variables for possible exonerating evidence.

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Boo! Shadow forecasts on SciCast

In time for Hallowe’en, we’ve added Shadow Forecasts and other features to help show the awesome power of combo.

  1. Shadowy: when linked forecasts affect a question, we show “Shadow Forecasts” in the history and the trend graph.legend
  2. Pointy: the trend graph now shows one point per forecast instead of just the nightly snapshot.
  3. Chatty: Comment while you forecast.  (But not while you drive.)

Read on for news about upcoming prizes.

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New Approach to Conditional (Combo) Forecasts…

Tonight’s release streamlines combo trades, adds some per-question rank feedback, prettifies resolutions, and disables recurring edits.

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 9.28.27 PM

We’ve redone the approach to trading linked questions. Now if the question is linked to other questions, you can make any desired assumptions right from the main trade screen.

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