Friday, May 02, 2008

Zocalo News

I've been busy with a major home remodel recently, so I haven't had a chance to crow in public about some great news for Zocalo, my open source prediction market project. I have two consulting contracts now that are paying for ongoing improvements in the software. Together they are keeping me busy full-time.

I have been working on development of Zocalo since 2004, including a period of 18 months as a Research Fellow at CommerceNet. I've been busy with personal matters for much of the last 8 months (a major home remodel), so I wasn't able to put in as much time as I'd have liked recently, but I've been working on the code again full-time for about two months.

I'm pleased to be able to say that I have two consulting contracts at this point. I'm working with a group at Chapman University and another university I'm not allowed to mention in public announcements. The Chapman team is led by Dave Porter, who I worked with while he was at George Mason University. Most of the Experimentalists from the GMU Economics department have moved (or are in the process of moving) to Chapman in Orange County, California. Dave has been using Zocalo for economics experiments since 2005, while I was at CommerceNet. He has plans (and budget) to expand Zocalo to support a variety of experiments that he'd like to do. The software continues to be used at George Mason as well.

The other group is probably familiar to most of you, though my contract says I can't use their name for publicity without approval (which they didn't give). Suffice it to say, I'm happy to be working with this group; the professor in charge has been working on market-related software systems for almost 20 years.

These consulting contracts support my continued development of Zocalo, and both groups are fully supportive of the open source approach. Having these groups actively working with the software, requesting changes, and reviewing progress will contribute substantially to the usefulness and usability of the code. The fact that one group is working with the experiment configuration and the other with the prediction markets ensures that both will continue to be enhanced and get more robust as they are being used.

This announcement is being cross-posted to


Douggie melville-clarke said...

HI Chris, I found Zocalo Prediction Markets under the following link rather than the It looks a really intresting project and was just wondering if you had any quick start guide to get up and running, I could work backwards from the jetty configs but if you had something to hand. I found a repo on google code so cloned it into git, might not be the correct one.

It looks a very intresting project so any pointers will be welcomed!



Chris Hibbert said...

Hi Douggie. Thanks for your note.

Looks like SourceForge is currently trying to recover from some kind of outage. I sure hope they can bring back the page soon, since I use that as the main place to put all the helpful links. If it's not back in a few days, I'll try to locate the material and give you a pointer.

Did you find the formarket pages on That's a branch from my code, and it has been worked on more recently than anything that I have done, but is itself untouched in 3+ years. Again, if the sourceforge site isn't back in a few days, I can send you a drop from my copy of the repo.