Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Automating comparison of unlike products

Oded told me today about a friend who had developed an application to identify your best mobile phone plan.

You set it to access your call pattern from your current provider; it then trawls through the web for the plans on offer from all providers, and recommends the best to you.

That in itself would be a great help, but I can see a variety of uses for this in the realm of consumer selection, particularly where service providers seem to deliberately obfusticate by ensuring their products aren't directly comparable.

Oded mentioned it in the context of evolving algorithms. I'm not sure of the exact connection, but I understood him to refer to the necessity to cater for products such as this change that change subtly over time. Parameter changes are nothing new, but if this refers to the ability to integrate new features (characteristics) into the algorithm, and learn how they interact, that would be something. If I hear anything further etc.

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