Google's Kaggle platform will be playing host to a Google and NCAA co-sponsored competition centering around the college basketball tournament formally known as March Madness. For those who aren't already aware, Kaggle is a platform dedicated to sharing data science and machine learning expertise, as well as learning about the topic and competing for prizes. In this case, teams who register through the Kaggle site will be making use of historical NCAA data and creating algorithms that will be used by A.I. to fill a bracket. The goal will be to create algorithms that can, in the second stage of the contest, accurately predict the outcome of 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. To entice entry into the competition, the sponsoring companies have put up $100,000, split between the Men's and Women's divisions. That means that in either - or both - divisions, competing teams can take home $25,000 for first prize, $15,000 for second place, or $10,000 for third.
Stages for the two concurrent competitions is split into two stages as alluded to above. The first stage centers around the creation of accurate A.I. algorithms, while the second centers around the upcoming NCAA games. The latter is the only portion that will count towards Kaggle-specific rankings or points. An equal number of points is available per game and points will be awarded or docked with secondary consideration given to the confidence in a prediction. A log loss function will be used in scoring, with a smaller log loss representing a better score. Those will work the same for both the Men's and Women's division of the championships but the competition dates will be slightly different for each one.
Stage 1 for the men's side starts on March 10. That will be followed by Stage 2 over the next two days and then from March 15 through the end of the associated basketball games. The final deadline for predictions on the men's side of the competition falls on March 15 at 3:00 pm UTC. The schedule for the competition pertaining to women's games follows a similar flow but beginning a day later. That means the stage 1 and the first part of stage 2 will fall on March 11 through March 13. Meanwhile, the deadline for predictions on that front is March 16 at 3:00 pm UTC and the competition will end with the end of the tournament which begins on that same day.