Flag public health risks at restaurants by combining Yelp reviews with open city data on past inspections. An algorithmic approach discovers more violations with the same number of inspections.
July 7, 2015, 11:59 p.m.
Evaluation Period Ends:
Aug. 19, 2015, 11:59 p.m.
The City of Boston regularly inspects every restaurant to monitor and improve food safety and public health. As in most cities, health inspections are generally random, which can increase time spent on spot checks at clean restaurants that have been following the rules closely — and missed opportunities to improve health and hygiene at places with more pressing food safety issues.
Each year, millions of people cycle through and post Yelp reviews about their experiences at these same restaurants. The information in these reviews has the potential to improve the City’s inspection efforts, and could transform the way inspections are targeted.
A team of Harvard economists and Yelp – with support from the City of Boston – are co-sponsoring this competition to explore ways to use Yelp review data to improve the inspections process. We are looking for your help to achieve this goal.
Winning algorithms will be awarded financial prizes — but the real prize is the opportunity to help the City of Boston, which is committed to examining ways to integrate the winning algorithm into its day-to-day inspection operations.
The goal for this competition is to use data from social media to narrow the search for health code violations in Boston. Competitors will have access to historical hygiene violation records from the City of Boston — a leader in open government data — and Yelp's consumer reviews. The challenge: Figure out the words, phrases, ratings, and patterns that predict violations, to help public health inspectors do their job better.
The competition opens Monday, April 27th and will accept submissions for eight weeks. Submissions will be evaluated on fresh hygiene inspection results during the six weeks following the competition; after that, the prizes will be awarded. Your submission will not only put you in the running for the prize – it has the chance to transform how city governments ensure public health.
Keeping it Fresh: Predict Restaurant Inspections: Rules and Terms of Data Use
DrivenData Competition Rules
One account per participant
You cannot sign up to DrivenData from multiple accounts and therefore you cannot submit from multiple accounts.
Private sharing of code
Privately sharing code or data outside of teams is not permitted.
Public dissemination of entries
DrivenData and the competition host have the right to publicly disseminate any entries or models.
Open licensing of winners
Winning solutions need to be made available under The MIT License (an open source software license commonly described at http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT) in order to be eligible for recognition and prize money if offered.
Documentation for winning solutions
Winning solutions must be documented using the provided Winning Model Documentation Template in order to be eligible for recognition and prize money if offered.
The number of submissions per day is restricted to a fixed value on a per-competition basis. Any attempt to circumvent this limit will result in disqualification.
Competitors who download the external dataset from Yelp, Inc. will be bound by the terms and conditions present on Yelp’s data download page.
External data is not allowed unless otherwise noted explicitly on these competition pages. Participants agree to make no attempt to use additional data or data sources not provided on these competition pages.
These are the complete, official rules for the Competition (the 'Competition Rules') and incorporate by reference the contents of the Competition Website listed above.
By downloading a dataset linked from the Competition Website, submitting an entry to this Competition, or joining a Team in this Competition, you are agreeing to be bound by these Competition Rules which constitute a binding agreement between you and DrivenData and, if applicable, any rules and restrictions that may be imposed by the Competition Sponsor.
The Competition is sponsored by Yelp, Inc. (also referred to herein from time to time as “Competition Sponsor” or “Sponsor”) and hosted on the Competition Sponsor's behalf by DrivenData, Inc ('DrivenData'). The Competition will run according to the dates listed on the Competition Website (the “Competition Period”).
Each registered individual or Team is referred to as a Participant. You may only compete using a single, unique DrivenData account registered at http://www.drivendata.org. Competing using more than one DrivenData account per individual is a breach of these Competition Rules and Competition Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any individual (or Team including an individual) who is found to breach these Competition Rules.
The Competition is open to all individuals over the age of 18 at the time of entry and to all validly formed legal entities that have not declared or been declared in bankruptcy.
Officers, directors, employees and advisory board members (and their immediate families and members of the same household) of the Competition Sponsor, DrivenData and their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, contractors, agents, judges and advertising and promotion agencies are not eligible to participate in the Competition.
You are not eligible to receive any Prize in the Competition if you are a resident of a country designated by the United States Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
If you meet the eligibility requirements and would like to participate, then you must first complete the registration process at
After you register individually, you may join a team (a "Team"), only if expressly permitted by these rules below, but you may register only once. If you register for the Competition more than once, you will be, and the remainder of your Team may be, disqualified in Sponsor's sole discretion.
You acknowledge and agree that you are solely responsible for abiding by your employer's policies regarding participation in the Competition. Sponsor disclaims any and all liability or responsibility for disputes arising between an employee and employer related to this Competition.
Once you have completed the registration process, you or your Team will be provided with access to the Data that you use to develop your Entries.
BY ENTERING THE COMPETITION YOU ACCEPT THE CONDITIONS STATED IN THESE OFFICIAL RULES INCLUDING THE RULES ON THE COMPETITION PAGE, AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE DECISIONS OF THE JUDGES AND WARRANT THAT YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE COMPETITION. IF YOU DO NOT ACCEPT ALL OF THESE OFFICIAL RULES, THEN PLEASE DO NOT REGISTER FOR THE COMPETITION. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU PRINT OUT A COPY OF THESE OFFICIAL RULES FOR YOUR FUTURE REFERENCE.
FORMING A TEAM. Multiple individuals or entities may collaborate as a team ("Team"). You may not participate on more than one Team. Each Team member must be a single individual operating a separate DrivenData account. You must register individually for the Competition before joining a Team. You must confirm your Team membership to make it official by responding to the Team notification message which will be sent to your Account.
TEAM PRIZES. If a Team wins a monetary Prize, Competition Sponsor will allocate the Prize money in even shares between the Team members unless the Team unanimously contacts DrivenData within three business days following the Submission deadline to request an alternative prize distribution.
Each Entry must be uploaded to the Website in the manner and format specified on the Website. All Entries must be received during the Competition Period. An "Entry" is the data submitted in the manner and format specified on the Website via the Entry form. The number of Entries a Participant may submit during each calendar day of the Competition Period will be displayed on the Competition page. Sponsor reserves the right to request that a Participant submit the algorithm associated with an Entry to Sponsor. If the Competition is a multi-stage Competition with temporally separate training data and/or leaderboard data, one or more valid Entries must be submitted and selected during each stage of the Competition in the manner described on the Website.
USER SUBMISSIONS MUST IN THEIR ENTIRETY COMPLY WITH ALL APPLICABLE FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL, AND INTERNATIONAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS. WITHOUT LIMITING THE FOREGOING, IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE, YOU WARRANT THAT (UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED IN THE PROBLEM STATEMENT) YOUR SUBMISSION FOR THIS COMPETITION:
- Does not include or anticipate the inclusion of any content that is in violation of or infringes third party intellectual property rights including, but not limited to copyrights, including music copyrights, patents, trade secrets, trademarks, and rights of publicity or privacy.
- Is free and clear of all liens, claims, encumbrances or demands of any third parties.
- Does not include or anticipate the inclusion of any unsuitable or offensive content, including nudity, sexually explicit, disparaging, libelous or other inappropriate content.
- Has not been entered in previous challenges, or won previous awards.
- Has not been published or distributed previously in any media.
- Is suitable for a general audience.
- Does not contain any claims that are not and cannot be substantiated or that would be false and/or misleading to a reasonable consumer.
Selection of winners
This Competition is a challenge of skill and the final results are determined solely by leaderboard ranking on the private leaderboard (subject to compliance with these Competition Rules). Participants' scores and ranks on the Competition Website at any given stage of the Competition will be based on the evaluation metric described on the Competition Website, as determined by applying the predictions in the Submission to the ground truth of a validation dataset whose instances were a fixed set sampled from the Data.
The evaluation metric used for scoring and ranking Submissions will be displayed on the Competition Website.
Any prize awards are subject to verification of eligibility and compliance with these Competition Rules. All decisions of DrivenData, the Competition Sponsor and/or judges will be final and binding on all matters relating to this Competition. DrivenData and Competition Sponsor reserves the right to examine the Submission and any associated code or documentation for compliance with these Competition Rules. In the event that the Submission demonstrates a breach of these Competition Rules, Competition Sponsor may at its discretion take either of the following actions:
- disqualify your Submission(s); or
- require that you remediate within one week all issues identified in your Submission(s) (including, without limitation, the resolution of license conflicts, the fulfillment of all obligations required by software licenses, and the removal of any software that violates the software restrictions).
A tie between two or more valid and identically ranked submissions will be resolved in favor of the tied submission that was submitted first.
A Participant may decline to be nominated as a Winner by notifying DrivenData directly within one week following the Competition deadline, in which case the declining Participant forgoes any prize or other features associated with winning the Competition. DrivenData reserves the right to disqualify a Participant who so declines at DrivenData's sole discretion if DrivenData deems disqualification appropriate.
Prizes and conditions
If the Competition has a prize, the Prize Winner(s) will be notified and announced within 30 days of the end of the Competition on the Website.
The Prize Winner(s) will receive their prizes awarded as a check or wire transfer.
If a Team wins a prize, all Team members must submit a single written statement describing how the prize is to be allocated among the Team members. If the Team fails to submit such statement within 30 days after Sponsor requests it, then Sponsor will distribute the prize among Team members in equal shares and will have no further obligation to winning Team members.
As a condition of receipt of the prize, winner must deliver the algorithm's code and documentation to Sponsor. The source code must contain a description of resources required to build and run the algorithm. The accompanying documentation should be consistent with DrivenData's Winning Model Documentation Template, which will be provided to winners within 30 days of the end of the Competition Period.
The prize may be awarded to an alternate winner if required documentation is not returned within thirty (30) days after mailing to winner, if prize notification letter/email or prize is returned as undeliverable, or if winner does not respond to an email or other communication from Sponsor within ten (10) days of the date sent. Allow thirty (30) days for prize delivery. By accepting any prize/award, Winner agrees to allow DrivenData and/or the Competition Sponsor to disclose Winner's first name, first initial of last name, and city of residence, as well as prize information to the extent required by law, and if so required by law, Winner agrees to the disclosure of additional personal information, all without additional compensation.
Sponsor is responsible only for prize delivery and is not responsible for prize utility or otherwise. No substitution or transfer of prizes is permitted. All taxes, fees and expenses associated with participation in the Competition or receipt and use of a prize are the sole responsibility of the Prize Winner(s).
PARTICIPANT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LICENSING. As a further condition of receipt of a Prize, each winning Participant thereby licenses their winning Submission and the source code used to generate the Submission according to the Winner License Type specified above (note: if no Winner License Type is specified above, the Winner License Type is deemed to be Non-Exclusive License).
NON-EXCLUSIVE LICENSE. If the Winner License Type for the Competition (see Winner License Type above) is a Non-Exclusive License then each Winner by accepting a Prize thereby:
- grants to Competition Sponsor and its designees a worldwide, non-exclusive, sub-licensable, transferable, fully paid-up, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right to use, not use, reproduce, distribute, create derivative works of, publicly perform, publicly display, digitally perform, make, have made, sell, offer for sale and import their winning Submission and the source code used to generate the Submission, in any media now known or hereafter developed, for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise, without further approval by or payment to Participant; and
- represents that he/she/it has the unrestricted right to grant that license.
OPEN SOURCE LICENSE. If the Winner License Type for the Competition (see Winner License Type above) is Open Source License, then each Winner by accepting a Prize thereby:
- licenses their winning Submission and the source code used to generate the Submission under the MIT License (an open source software license commonly described at http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT); and
- represents that he/she/it has the unrestricted right to grant that license.
CHEATING. Participating using more than one DrivenData account is deemed cheating and, if discovered, will result in disqualification from the Competition and any other affected Competitions and may result in banning or deactivation of affected DrivenData accounts.
DrivenData reserves the right to request information associated with our investigation of suspected cheating. Failure to respond to these requests (including failure to furnish the requested information) within ten (10) days is grounds for disqualification.
RECEIVING PRIZES. After verification of eligibility, if prizes are awarded, each Prize winner will receive the prize in the form of a check or wire transfer made out to the Prize winner (if an individual, or to the individual Team members if a Team). Allow 30 days from final confirmation for Prize delivery. Any winners who are U.S. citizens will receive an IRS 1099 form in the amount of their prize at the appropriate time. Prize winners are responsible for any taxes, fees or other liability resulting from their receipt of a Prize.
Except where prohibited by law, entry constitutes permission to use winners' names, hometowns and likenesses for online posting, and/or any advertising and publicity without additional compensation. Winners may also be required to sign and return a release of liability, declaration of eligibility and, where lawful, a publicity consent agreement, as conditions of receiving a prize. Failure to comply with the aforementioned conditions shall be grounds for forfeiture of a prize.
Data use and code sharing
DATA. "Data" means the Data or Datasets linked from the Competition Website for the purpose of use by Participants in the Competition. For the avoidance of doubt, Data is deemed for the purpose of these Competition Rules to include any prototype or executable code provided to Participants by DrivenData or Competition Sponsor via the Website. Participants must use the Data only as permitted by these Competition Rules and any associated data use rules specified on the Competition Website.
Unless otherwise permitted by the terms of the Competition Website, Participants must use the Data solely for the purpose and duration of the Competition, including but not limited to reading and learning from the Data, analyzing the Data, modifying the Data and generally preparing your Submission and any underlying models and participating in forum discussions on the Website. Participants agree to use suitable measures to prevent persons who have not formally agreed to these Competition Rules from gaining access to the Data and agree not to transmit, duplicate, publish, redistribute or otherwise provide or make available the Data to any party not participating in the Competition. Participants agree to notify DrivenData immediately upon learning of any possible unauthorized transmission or unauthorized access of the Data and agree to work with DrivenData to rectify any unauthorized transmission. Participants agree that participation in the Competition shall not be construed as having or being granted a license (expressly, by implication, estoppel, or otherwise) under, or any right of ownership in, any of the Data.
EXTERNAL DATA. Unless otherwise expressly stated on the Competition Website, Participants must not use data other than the Data to develop and test their models and Submissions. Competition Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any Participant who Competition Sponsor discovers has undertaken or attempted to undertake the use of data other than the Data, or who uses the Data other than as permitted according to the Competition Website and in these Competition Rules, in the course of the Competition.
CODE SHARING. Participants are prohibited from privately sharing source or executable code developed in connection with or based upon the Data, and any such sharing is a breach of these Competition Rules and may result in disqualification. Participants are permitted to publicly share source or executable code developed in connection with or based upon the Data, or otherwise relevant to the Competition, provided that such sharing does not violate the intellectual property rights of any third party. By so sharing, the sharing Participant is thereby deemed to have licensed the shared code under the MIT License (an open source software license commonly described at http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT).
OPEN-SOURCE CODE. A Submission will be ineligible to win a prize if it was developed using code containing or depending on software licensed under an open source license:
- other than an Open Source Initiative-approved license (see http://opensource.org/licenses); or
- an open source license that prohibits commercial use.
Participant warranties and obligations
By registering, you agree that (a) your Account is complete, correct and accurate and (b) your registration may be rejected or terminated and all Entries submitted by you and/or your Team may be disqualified if any of the information in your Account is (or Competition Sponsor has reasonable grounds to believe it is) incomplete, incorrect or inaccurate. You are solely responsible for your Account. All registration information is deemed collected in the United States.
Participation is subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. You are responsible for checking applicable laws and regulations in your jurisdiction before participating in the Competition to make sure that your participation is legal. You are responsible for all taxes and reporting related to any award that you may receive as part of the Competition. You are responsible for abiding by your employer's policies regarding participation in the Competition. Competition Sponsor disclaims any and all liability or responsibility for disputes arising between you and your employer related to this Competition.
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- complies with all applicable federal, state, local and international laws and regulations;
- is your own original work, or is used by permission, in which case full and proper credit and identify is given and the third party contributions are clearly identified within your Submission;
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- was not previously published and has not won any other prize/award.
A breach of any of these warranties will result in the corresponding Submission being invalid.
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Equipment and costs of participation
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Delivery and receipt of entries
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Limitations of liability
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