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Predicting the next Top500 list: the outcome
A couple of months ago I discussed my bets for the Top500 predict contest. I still owe you an update on the outcome...
After placing my original bets, I kept a close eye on their value. The contest allowed you to sell bets, for a part of the possible return value. I quickly realized this was an important aspect as this was a way to stack up credits in my virtual wallet with 100% guarantee, as opposed to hoping that the bets placed were correct to win a (possibly only slightly) larger return.
The value of bets was determined by the degree in which other betters agreed on your bets. The more people strongly agreed with one of your bets, the closer the value of that bet got to the possible return value. When a lot of people agreed with your bet, it was often clear that selling the bet was the best way to go. I opted for selling bets with a value of at least 65% of the possible return value.
After selling a bet, it was often interesting to place another slightly different bet on the same aspect of the Top500 list. Although the initial value of that bet would be fairly low, it was possible to either sell that bet again in a couple of days, or just leave the bet there, hope you got it right and cash in at the end. By just betting a small part of what you earned by selling the original bet, you could quickly stack up lots of credits and still hope for a large total return at the end.
Here's my entire trade history, and my portfolio at the end of the competition:
When I joined the contest, I spent my entire budget of 12,000 credits on bets. By selling high valued bets, I was able to collect about 41,500 credits throughout the contest, and placed other bets for about 3,300 credits. Out of the 8 bets that were still open at the end of the contest, 4 of them were correct, which yielded roughly another 17,500 credits (only about 4,600 credits were lost to incorrect bets). The resulting total of 55,700 credits, a 4.6x increase of my original budget, was enough to keep the first place in the betters ranking which resulted in a nice shiny iPad on my doorstep a couple of weeks later (thanks deplhit!).
I can't really say I've put that iPad to good use since then (unless you consider playing games during daily commutes or letting a drooling 1.5-year old smash his fists on it useful), but it's a nice toy to have nevertheless. More importantly, competing in the Top500 predict made me dive into a little bit of supercomputer history, which was quite interesting.