Zocalo: An Open Source Toolkit for Prediction Markets

Prediction Markets are a 15-year old idea that have been getting attention recently for their ability to provide improved and continuously updated forecasts. Participants back their estimates of the likelihood of different outcomes with real or play money. The incentives reward honesty, insight, and information sharing. The result is a projection that accounts for the strengths of different opinions, and attends to contributions from people whose opinions would be ignored by polls, focus groups, or official forecasting departments.

These markets are being used in a variety of contexts, including sports betting, predicting Hollywood box office returns, and projecting the spread of infectious diseases. Trials in leading companies have shown that they can improve on corporate forecasts in areas ranging from predicting product sales to comparisons of market demand for different product features mixes.

Like other open source projects, the Zocalo effort intends to make the technology more accessible and to codify the state of the art so additional development can focus on expanding available features rather than reproducing basic functionality.

Chris Hibbert will show that Prediction Markets would be a valuable addition to any organization that wants to know more about what the employees are doing or what the customers want.


Chris Hibbert has worked for Xerox PARC, DEC’s Western Software Lab, Xanadu, Agorics, and CommerceNet. He is a software architect and a manager of development teams. His areas of expertise include Object-Oriented Programming, Extreme Programming, Privacy and SSNs, Electronic Commerce, and Agoric systems. Mr Hibbert is a co-inventor on 9 patents in Electronic Commerce, Distributed Object Systems, and Secure Communications. Zocalo can be downloaded at http://zocalo.sourceforge.net

Event Logistics

Cubberley Community Center
4000 Middlefield Road, Room H-1
Palo Alto, CA

7:00 – 7:20 p.m. Registration / Networking / Refreshments / Pizza
7:20 – 9:00 p.m. Presentation

$15 at the door for non-SDForum members
No charge for SDForum members
No registration required