New Kaggle Competition: Dogs vs. Cats

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Kaggle_dogcatThe machine learning competition platform Kaggle has just launched a new challenge for data scientists: develop an algorithm to distinguish images of Dogs vs. Cats. It turns out that humans, dogs and cats have no problem with this classification task, but computers find it more difficult. This fun contest runs until Feb. 1, 2014 and unlike many high-profile Kaggle competitions, there is no cash prize.

Asirra (Animal Species Image Recognition for Restricting Access) is a HIP (human interactive proof) that works by asking users to identify photographs of cats and dogs. This task is difficult for computers, but studies have shown that people can accomplish it quickly and accurately.

Asirra is unique because of its partnership with, the world’s largest site devoted to finding homes for homeless pets. They’ve provided Microsoft Research with over three million images of cats and dogs, manually classified by people at thousands of animal shelters across the United States. Kaggle is fortunate to offer a subset of this data for fun and research.



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