HPC

Number-crunching quant cooks up gambling machine, promises untold RICHES

Can 50,000 match simulations turn you into a winner?


HPC blog Have you ever wanted to lay a bet down on the Las Vegas sports books? Or take a bundle of money from the suckers in your office's Final Four betting pool? Is it possible to win sports bets consistently over the long haul?

According to the guys at PredictionMachine.com, the answer is yes. Their secret weapon? Numbers, baby – it’s all in the numbers. They’ve built a formidable prediction tool with their Predictalator, the name they’ve given their methodology and algorithms.

What’s interesting about their approach is that they aren’t looking at historical trends and trying to quantify their hunches. They’re taking a highly scientific and quantitative approach with sophisticated models and lots of simulations. In fact, their tool simulates each and every game 50,000 times before making a pick.

Over the last three years, the company's founders claim, Predictalator has scored wins on better than 70 per cent of their straight-up bets, and better than 50 per cent vs the Vegas spread.

This is a combined record on all of the professional and college football, basketball, pro hockey, and Major League Baseball games they’ve picked over the last three years, they say.

My pal Rich Brueckner and I had a chance to interview PredictionMachine.com founder Paul Bessire as part of our Radio Free HPC podcast a few weeks ago. In the programme, Paul discusses the genesis of the Predictalator and how he turned his master’s degree in quantitative analysis into a full-time business.

Along the way, we talk about what’s involved in analysing sports and how they arrived at their winning formula. It’s interesting listening for anyone who has ever been curious about applying scientific methodology to sports.

Paul also gives us some perspective on how technology has advanced over the past few years. When he first started, it would take 30 minutes to simulate one NFL season (267 games) "only" 50 times – which was, he said, far too small a sample size and yielded terrible results.

Today he can run a complete NFL season in a mere eight seconds using only one server, which is a pretty incredible speed-up in just the last three or four years. Some of this improvement is because of better code on his part, but much of it is due to faster technology – particularly when it comes to generating random numbers and raw compute power.

This speed is what enables their latest, and perhaps coolest, feature. Their Live ScoreCaster app tracks the action in live games and instantly updates their projections as game conditions change. For example, after every play in a football game, their server simulates the game 50,000 times and then publishes a new predicted outcome. This free app gives you the analytic justification to declare, “This idiot just lost us the game!” with complete authority.

Check out the podcast here – it’s an entertaining conversation about how analytics can be used for fun and profit. And good luck with the bookies… ®


Other stories you might like

  • Thunderbird 102 gets a major facelift, Matrix chat support
    Mozilla's messaging client appears to have benefited from sponsor shakeup

    Open-source cross-platform email and messaging client Thunderbird has hit version 102, with a new look and improved functionality, including Matrix chat support.

    The latest release is the first major upgrade since version 91, which The Reg looked at last August. This is normal for the app – it follows the same approximately annual release cycle as Firefox's Extended Support Releases, the most recent of which was also version 91. From now until the next major release, Thunderbird 102 will get a regular stream of minor updates and bug fixes.

    102 has a modernized look and feel. There's a new "Spaces" toolbar, which appears vertically on the left of the app window and lets users quickly flip between inbox, address book, calendar, task list, and chat tabs. All of these are built-in features – the former Lightning calendar add-on is now an integral part of the app, as is PGP support, which used to be an add-on called Enigmail. Thunderbird can talk to various groupware calendar and contact servers, including both private and corporate Google Mail accounts, Microsoft Exchange and Office 365, and others.

    Continue reading
  • UK govt promises to sink billions into electronic health records for England
    NHS App role expanded following perceived COVID-era success

    The UK's National Health Service (NHS) has committed to implementing electronic health records for all hospitals and community practices by 2025, backed by £2 billion (c $2.4 billion) in funding.

    The investment from one of the world's largest healthcare providers follows Oracle founder Larry Ellison's promise to create "unified national health records" in the US after the company paid $28.3 billion for Cerner, an American health software company also at the heart of many NHS record systems.

    In the UK, health secretary Sajid Javid has promised £2 billion to digitize the NHS in England, including electronic health records in all NHS trusts (hospitals or other healthcare providers) by March 2025.

    Continue reading
  • China says it has photographed all of Mars from orbit
    Enjoy the slideshow from Tianwen's orbital adventures

    China is claiming that as of Wednesday, its Tianwen-1 Mars orbiter has officially photographed the entire Red Planet. And it's shown off new photos of the southern polar cap and a volcano to prove it.

    "It has acquired the medium-resolution image data covering the whole globe of Mars, with all of its scientific payloads realizing a global survey," state-sponsored media quoted the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announcing.

    Among the images are one of Mount Askra with its crater, shots of the South Pole whose ice sheet is believed to consist of solid carbon dioxide and ice, the seven-kilometer deep Valles Marineris canyon, and the geomorphological characteristics of the rim of the Mund crater.

    Continue reading
  • Taiwan creates new challenge for tech industry: stern content regulation laws
    Big tech asked to be more transparent by logging what it took down and why

    Taiwan's concentration of tech manufacturing capability worries almost all stakeholders in the technology industry – if China reclaims the island, it would kick a colossal hole in global supply chains. Now the country has given Big Tech another reason to worry: transparency regulations of a kind social networks and surveillance capitalists detest.

    The regulations – named the Digital Intermediary Service Act and released as a draft yesterday by Taiwan's National Communications Commission – require platform operators to create a complaints mechanism anyone can use to request content takedowns, remove illegal content at speed, undergo audits to demonstrate they can do so, and respond promptly to orders to remove content.

    When platforms decide to take down content, they'll need to list each instance in a public database to promote accountability and transparency of their actions.

    Continue reading
  • Alibaba spins out a biz to productize home-grown data tools
    Business intelligence and analytics as a service, for marketers and techies

    Chinese tech giant Alibaba has spun out a business called Lingyang Intelligent Service Company that aims to deliver "data-as-a-service."

    Lingyang starts its life with assets adapted from tools developed for Alibaba’s own extensive operations, which span e-commerce, a public cloud, logistics, web portals, payments, and plenty more besides.

    The Chinese company has over 1.3 billion annual active customers – more than a billion in China. Serving all those customers – and their many transactions – has necessitated development of some pretty slick tools.

    Continue reading
  • Moscow court fines Pinterest, Airbnb, Twitch, UPS for not storing data locally
    Data sovereignty is more important than Ukrainian sovereignty

    A Moscow court has fined Airbnb, Twitch, UPS, and Pinterest for not storing Russian user data locally, according to Russian regulator Roskomnadzor.

    The decision was handed down by the Tagansky District Court of Moscow after the four foreign companies allegedly did not provide documents confirming that the storage and processing of Russian personal data was conducted entirely in the country.

    Twitch, Pinterest and Airbnb were fined approximately $38,500 while UPS received a fine of roughly $19,200.

    Continue reading
  • Israel plans ‘Cyber-Dome’ to defeat digital attacks from Iran and others
    Already has 'Iron Dome' – does it need another hero?

    The new head of Israel's National Cyber Directorate (INCD) has announced the nation intends to build a "Cyber-Dome" – a national defense system to fend off digital attacks.

    Gaby Portnoy, director general of INCD, revealed plans for Cyber-Dome on Tuesday, delivering his first public speech since his appointment to the role in February. Portnoy is a 31-year veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces, which he exited as a brigadier general after also serving as head of operations for the Intelligence Corps, and leading visual intelligence team Unit 9900.

    "The Cyber-Dome will elevate national cyber security by implementing new mechanisms in the national cyber perimeter, reducing the harm from cyber attacks at scale," Portnoy told a conference in Tel Aviv. "The Cyber-Dome will also provide tools and services to elevate the protection of the national assets as a whole. The Dome is a new big data, AI, overall approach to proactive defense. It will synchronize nation-level real-time detection, analysis, and mitigation of threats."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022