Speller Challenge

Contest closed - Congratulations to all winners!

Q. Do I have to register to participate?
A. Yes. To participate in the Speller Challenge participants need to register at http://spellerchallenge.com. Registration opens on January 17, 2011.

Q. Can I compete even if I am not affiliated with an academic or industrial lab?
A. Yes.

Q. How do you evaluate the spellers?
A. Rules are explained in http://spellerchallenge.com/rules.aspx.

Q. Is this competition open to entrants who live outside the United States?
A. Individuals who live in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria are not eligible to participate in the competition. Individuals living in other countries or regions may participate.

Q. Who is not eligible to compete in the challenge?
A.The challenge is not open to

  • Entrants who are younger than 18 years of age;
  • Residents of any of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria;
  • Employees of Microsoft Corporation or an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary;
  • Persons involved in any part of the administration and execution of the competition; or
  • Immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household members of a Microsoft employee, an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary, or a person involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Contest.

Q. Why does the challenge include separate validation sets and a test set?
A. When you submit a speller, you get immediate feedback based on the TREC Data validation set, so you have an idea of how well your algorithm is doing. Also, you can use the TREC Data Set to compare yourself to other competitors on the leaderboard. The validation set is for participants to test their speller Web service. The Bing Test Data Set is used to evaluate the spellers for the Challenge.

Q. Why does the challenge restrict the number of submissions on the final day of the competition (June 2, 2011)?
A. Microsoft will only accept three final entries from each team, as determined by the entries listed on your team site as of 11:59 AM PDT on June 2, 2011. One of these entries must be listed as a primary, which is the only entry that is eligible to win a prize. The secondary entries will be run against the final dataset to provide teams with feedback about the quality of those spellers, but they will not be eligible for prizes (even if they outperform primary spellers). The restriction and timing limits the load on our servers. In addition, we have restricted the number of submissions to avoid giving an unfair advantage to teams with the ability to develop a large number of submissions.

Prior to June 2, you may “submit” an unlimited number of test runs for your speller(s) to see results against the sample dataset and improve your speller.

Q. Why do I need to choose one of my submissions as my "primary entry?" Can’t Microsoft just do that for me?
A. You are required to determine which speller to submit as your primary entry, which is the only entry that is eligible for the cash prizes. This limitation is designed to prevent participants with fewer resources from being disadvantaged, since participants with more resources could just provide three entries and get three chances at winning a prize. This also requires teams to judge for themselves which speller they think is best – and then see if their intuition was correct.

We permit secondary submissions in order to enable teams to get feedback on more than one speller, but the secondary submissions are not eligible for any prizes (regardless of whether they outperform other primary spellers).

Q. Will you release the final Bing Test Data set?
A. No. We will not release the Bing Test Data Set.

Q. What if the website doesn’t work, or seems to be responding slowly?
A. Send email to spellerchallenge@microsoft.com or check community announcements in the social media (see below).

Q. Where can I find the requirements for building a speller (Speller Challenge Rules)?
A. To view the Speller Challenge Rules go to http://spellerchallenge.com/rules.aspx

Q. Where can I find the Official Contest Rules and the Terms of Use of the Speller Challenge Website?
A. To view the full Official Rules of the Contest go to http://spellerchallenge.com/rules.aspx, and scroll down to the bottom of the page. To see the terms of use of the website go to the Registration page at http://spellerchallenge.com/myteam.aspx.

Q. Who can I contact for other questions on the Speller Challenge?
A. You can contact us at spellerchallenge@microsoft.com or participate in the community discussion (see below).

Q. Is there a place where I can interact with the participants of the Speller Challenge?
A. Yes. We encourage participants to use the discussion forum of the Facebook Speller Challenge and Twitter.

Q. When will the winners be announced?
A. The winners will be announced after Microsoft receives and validates the winning entries. The official results are expected to be announced in June 2011.