About the Forecasting ACE Site
Forecasting Ace invites you to participate in an exciting and important research project that will lead to an improved system for predicting future events and outcomes. Potential applications of the system include forecasting economic conditions, political changes, technological development, or medical breakthroughs, to name a few.
Interested? Read on to learn more.
Don't forecasting systems already exist? (show)
- Yes, they do, and many work pretty well. Among the best approaches are those that use the average forecast or prediction of many people.
How will this system be different from the others? (show)
- Our system will not rely on simple averaging, but will combine forecasts from many people in a way that substantially outperforms simple averaging of judgments. We will be testing many ideas and do not know yet which will work best.
Who is doing this research? (show)
- A team of scientists from a private research company and seven different universities are conducting this research. The universities are: The University of Maryland, Ohio State University, Fordham University, Wake Forest University, Wichita State University and the University of California-Irvine. The company is ARA.
Who is funding this research? (show)
- The U.S. Government, specifically the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), is funding the work with the expectation that it will improve the accuracy of intelligence analysis. But the system will be used far more broadly than that. Examples of other applications include improving economic and business forecasting, improving medical diagnosis, and guiding the allocation of resources into the most promising areas of scientific research.
What will I do on this project? (show)
- This project will continue for at least one and as many as four years. After you register, you can participate for as much or little of that time as you wish. You will be asked at various times to give your best probability judgments about future events in areas such as politics; foreign affairs; economics; science and technology; and popular topics such as sports and entertainment. As new information becomes available, you can change your judgments to reflect your revised opinions.
What is the time horizon for a forecast? (show)
- All events will have a precise time frame - in some cases weeks and in others months, so that ultimately the truth will be known. At that time, we will tell you what the actual outcome was and you can compare it to your forecast.
Why should I contribute? What's in it for me? (show)
- There are lots of reasons to contribute. This is an opportunity for you to compare your forecasting skills to those of others; and to improve your skills. Most people tend to be overconfident in their predictions. Learn whether you are in this group or whether you are among the few who tend to be accurate. By receiving feedback along with a record of your judgments, you can learn to improve your forecasting abilities. To increase the fun of contributing forecasts, we will set up competitions, so that you can see how well you do in comparison to other contributors overall or in certain topic areas that you identify. You can even arrange private competitions with your friends. Also, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing to important scientific research that will improve forecasting systems across the nation. To keep you informed of study progress and findings, we will release semi-annual newsletters.
But I am not an expert in all those areas. Can I really help? (show)
- Yes! You may be an expert in one or two of these areas, or maybe not in any of them. But if you keep up with events in the world, and think about them from time to time, then you have opinions that are informed by some knowledge and your input will be valuable. The advantage of averaging judgments is that lots of people know a little bit, but when that is combined, it adds up to a tremendous amount. And if there are topics that you really don't know anything about or care about, then you just ignore those.
What are the qualifications to participate? (show)
- The only qualifications are: (1) Ability to communicate in English. English need not be your native language, but you should be able to understand the nuances of the questions asked and be able to write short responses that can be shared with others. (2) You must be 18 years of age or older. (3) You should be enrolled in or graduated with a bachelor's degree from a college or university. (4) You are not participating in another IARPA-funded forecasting study.
What happens when I join? (show)
- Joining involves answering a few questions about yourself, but we will never ask you for identifying information. You will remain anonymous to us throughout the study. You will be asked to make up a screen name to login. We will use that name to track your forecasts and to provide you with feedback.
How will you communicate with me? (show)
- We will keep your email address in a separate, secure file so that we can let you know when new problems are available for forecasting, remind you occasionally to consider updating your forecasts, and to let you know when newsletters about the study are available for viewing or downloading.
How often will you contact me? (show)
- We will be careful not to send you emails too frequently. You can even update your contact preferences to increase or decrease the frequency. And if you ever want to opt out of contributing, just let us know and we will stop sending them altogether.