Mar19

March Madness and The Coding Crystal Ball

Posted by Sarah Holt

Crystal-ball

Want to know who will win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament? The 2014 Bracket Calculator could tell you…

During the 2010 World Cup, an octopus called Paul correctly predicted the outcome of every football game. Sadly, Paul now swims with the fishes. But there’s a new sporty fortune teller on the block. The 2014 Bracket Calculator has been created by Midphase techie Cody Erekson to predict the winners of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The roots of the 2014 Bracket Calculator were put down by Cody two years ago, after his colleagues coerced him into making bracket selections as part of the office sweepstakes.

“First of all, you have to understand that I don’t follow basketball at all,” says Cody. “Every year I am encouraged to enter these bracket competitions, and I have no knowledge of which teams to choose.  Therefore I would simply make random guesses, which never went well. So two years ago I decided to create a script that would randomly choose for me.”

Unfortunately, the random predictor was just as unreliable as Cody at choosing the winning basketball teams. Therefore, in 2013, Cody decided to up his game.

“My goal was to do something new and different,” says Cody. “ I recalled a colleague telling me a bit about numerology, how some believe that if you convert a person’s name into numbers it can tell quite a bit about them.  So I did a bit of research into that and decided that I could fairly easily write some code that could convert a basketball team’s name into the requisite numbers and compare them using the principles of Chaldean Numerology.”

After tweaking the script to take into account the time and place of the game and its relevance in the lunar cycle, Cody used it to make his bracket selections. In the first round, he had a 75 percent success rate. What’s more, the same script predicted that the Seattle Seahawks would win the SuperBowl.

However, Cody wasn’t satisfied with his three-quarter success rate. So for 2014, he’s written a new script which harnesses twitter data to predict the winners of each game.

“Rather than using an ancient “mystical” method, I have opted to go with a sort of crowd-sourced method, or global consciousness to pick the winners this time.”

Cody has created a website for the 2014 Bracket Calculator, which is online now. To use it to fill out your own brackets visit  http://brackets.codyerekson.me

 

 

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About Sarah Holt

Sarah Holt is a journalist and author. Her work has been published in the Guardian and The Observer, among other places. After hours, she’s a bookworm, a chocoholic, and a serial bubble bath taker. She’s addicted to travelling and spas. Her philosophy for life is live and let live. You can tweet her at @sarahholt01 or find her on Google+.

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