Algorithmia announced an AI competition today that could usher in a new era of machine learning model development using the Ethereum blockchain.

The company is offering 3 Ethereum tokens (worth more than $2,500 as of this writing) to the team that can provide the best algorithm for determining voter preferences in the last presidential election, broken down by latitude and longitude. That contest, which has been coded into a smart contract, will last for 60 days. The first team to submit the most accurate model will be the winner.

This competition is really a proof-of-concept test of a system that could allow anyone to create their own smart contract and solicit a custom machine learning model to solve a particular problem. That could help organizations that want to apply machine learning to a particular problem but don’t have the resources to hire a data scientist. Algorithmia’s method doesn’t require participants to trust one another (since all of the components are controlled by the contract), and it automates reward payment.

The DanKu contracts Algorithmia invented allow a developer to outline a particular problem they want solved through a machine learning model, like determining whether or not a transaction is fraudulent, or if a photo contains a chicken.

Each task has a minimum accuracy requirement, a reward, a date when competition ends, and a dataset associated with the problem. Creators then use the smart contract to establish randomized pools of training data, which are publicly available for data scientists to apply to model creation, and test data, which is kept secret and used…

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