Updated 24 February 11:54 PM: David Rothschild’s predictions were correct in 19 of 24 categories – nearly 80 percent accuracy.


Can we use big data to predict the future?

In a recent post on Inside Microsoft Research, Rob Knies writes: “Last year, David Rothschild of Microsoft Research New York City used a versatile, data-driven model to predict correctly the results of the U.S. presidential election in 50 of 51 jurisdictions—the nation’s 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“Given the overwhelming accuracy—better than 98 percent—of those predictions, it’s no wonder that the work of Rothschild and a few other individuals trying to learn how to harness the value of big data gained the attention of the news media. ‘Some things,’ wrote Steven Cherry in IEEE Spectrum, ‘are predictable—if you go to the people who rely on data and not their gut.’”

Now Rothschild is using a similarly data-driven approach to forecast who will take home Oscars at this Sunday’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 85th annual Academy Awards. You can see his picks to win in all 24 categories using the new Oscars Ballot Predictor Office app for Excel, powered by prediction data from Rothschild’s PredictWise blog.

Read the full Inside Microsoft Research post to learn more and get a sneak peek at Rothschild’s Oscar picks, including his favorite for Best Picture, then download the Oscars Ballot Predictor app to see the full list and make your own predictions.

Posted by Steve Wiens
Guest Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog