BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Science/Nature  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 3 June, 2002, 07:32 GMT 08:32 UK
Computer predicts World Cup result
England plays Brazil at Wembley
England will not beat Brazil to World Cup title
It may break the hearts of fans following the other teams, but Brazil will win the World Cup, according to a computer simulation.

Scientists and statisticians at the University of Ulster have carried out an analysis of every match taking place in Korea and Japan over the next month.

The computer was programmed with the Fifa world rankings, the distance teams have to travel to compete, the effects of having to switch between Japan and Korea and the amount of rest between matches.

The simulation was run 2000 times and the result was a Brazil-Italy final, with the South Americans coming out triumphant.

Head versus heart

Brazil fans
Brazil fans will be cheering predicts computer
The aim of the study is to find out whether computers are better than humans when it comes to prediction.

The second part of the experiment pitted five football-mad professors against the computer.

Using good old-fashioned punditry, based on their knowledge of the teams, players and managers, the scientists predicted Argentina would win in a final against Italy.

"The result of our research is a classic case of head versus heart. Number crunching against subjective judgement," Dr Peter O'Donoghue told the BBC programme Go Digital.

Betting on Brazil

"It will be interesting to see how the tournament pans out and whether the human brain or the computer is the best way of analysing such unpredictable contests as a World Cup," he said.

Dr O'Donoghue is putting his faith in the computer.

"In all honesty I think the simulation will be closest. Yesterday for the first time in my life I went to a betting shop and put 20 on a Brazil-Italy final," he said.

For England fans it isn't all bad news. The computer did predict that Sven Goran Eriksson's team would get through its tough first group to the second stage of the competition.

Unfortunately the good news ends there, with the computer predicting England will lose to France in the knockout stage.

See also:

31 May 02 | Business
31 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
30 May 02 | Business
29 May 02 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Science/Nature stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Science/Nature stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes