Behind the Netflix recommendation system

Aug 8, 2013

Wired has a fun Netflix interview on the behind-the-scenes work on the recommendation engine.

If you liked 1960s Star Trek, the first non-Trek title that Netflix is likely to suggest to you is the original Mission: Impossible series (the one with the cool Lalo Schifrin soundtrack). Streaming the latest Doctor Who is likely to net you the supernatural TV drama Being Human (the UK version). Watch From Dusk Till Dawn and 300 and say hello to a new row on your homepage: Visually Striking Violent Action & Adventure. Trying to understand the invisible array of algorithms that power your Netflix suggestions has long been a favorite sport, but what’s actually going on in that galaxy of big data, those billions and billions of ratings stars? Turns out there are 800 Netflix engineers working behind the scenes at their Silicon Valley HQ. The company estimates that 75 percent of viewer activity is driven by recommendation.

Some days you just want slouch back on the couch after a long day’s work and watch Hot Tub Time Machine.

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