Nerd contest aims to predict when people will go to the hospital

California physicians group Heritage Provider Network Inc. is holding a contest to find an algorithm that can "best predict when people are likely to be sent to the hospital." The competition will start April 4 and go for about two years. The winner will get $3 million. The company running the contest has managed many similar data-mining contest before with Ford and it will run more with NASA and Wikipedia, but a $3 million prize is unusual for these kinds of things. A senior executive at Heritage told the Wall Street Journal, "We just wanted to spur innovation and different ways of thinking in health care," he said. Heritage, which works with insurers but doesn't provide insurance, says the data won't be used to charge higher premiums."

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