Micro Challenge #39 – Decomposing recommendation algorithms

3 July 2020 - 2 minute read

Welcome to the thirty-ninth of Altitude Foundation’s #MicroChallenges2020

Today’s challenge will let you explore how your phone predicts your texts

What’s a Micro Challenge?

These challenges are short activities to help you develop, revise or refresh your coding skills, posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Micro Challenge #39

This week, we are looking at how computers ‘learn’ and store new information. It might be useful to review Challenge 11 and Challenge 12 on computer programming. 

The Challenge:

Today’s challenge focuses on decomposition: you can read more about decomposition here. To put it simply, decomposition means breaking down a problem into smaller parts to start addressing or solving the problem, Today, the problem is based on the Netflix Prize – a contest to find the best recommendation algorithm (in a simplified form). The problem is this: how can you predict what someone will want to watch next?

You do not need to design the algorithm, but rather think about the elements of the problem. You might want to consider:

  • What information are you looking for?
  • What are the connections between users and films?
  • What does the programme need to ‘learn’ to predict the user’s wants? (check Challenge 12 to review machine learning) 

Review it:


  • Could you draw up a matrices overview of the information you need to be able to create recommendations?

Share it

We would love to see what you have created! Please send any pictures, videos, or files of your activities to us – either via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram  using #MicroChallenges2020 or to challenges@altitudefoundation.org. If you are emailing them to us, please let us know if you are happy for us to share your stuff on our social media platforms (with credit, of course).

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