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FICO-Kaggle Competition: Help Sleighless Santa Save Christmas

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

Santa’s been getting a bit absent-minded these days. Maybe he’s working too hard to help Mrs. Santa kick off her new online candy cane-scented candle business. Perhaps all that work on the elliptical trainer to work off his Thanksgiving pumpkin pie is wearing him down. Or maybe he's frustrated that his recent Hadoop deployment hasn’t solved the eternal problem of determining which kids are actually good.

Nevertheless, when Santa left his keys in his magical sleigh at the local mall, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist elf to figure out what happened. Some hooligan made off with Santa’s longitudinal runners (we can’t call them wheels, can we?), and the ruffian is probably long gone by now.

So that leaves Santa in a quandary for this year’s holiday season. How can he get all those toys to excited boys and girls across the globe in one night without his trusty magic sleigh?

That’s where Kaggle, FICO and optimization come in.

Santa’s lead operations research elf has reached out to the fabulous scientific minds at Kaggle to hold a spirited competition. The goal is to come up with optimized delivery routes and loads to and from Santa's sprawling North Pole estate to meet the high-wire Christmas Eve toy deployment. But there’s also a catch – the reindeer can’t be overworked, so there is a weight limit for each delivery.

While any optimization tool is permissible, contestants who use FICO® Xpress Optimization Suite to solve Santa’s dilemma will qualify for a special prize. Xpress provides easy ways to create, deploy and utilize business optimization solutions based on scalable high-performance algorithms, a flexible modeling environment, and rapid application and reporting capabilities for on-premises and cloud installations.

So if you want to help save Santa (and his reindeer) this holiday season, or simply want to check the leaderboards, visit

And let’s hope the authorities help track down that missing sleigh. It can’t be that hard, unless the perpetrator has discovered a way to add a space travel retrofit!



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