tedster - 4:35 am on Apr 2, 2012 (gmt 0)
I have pretty good reasons to think you're wrong. Panda is not just a complex data scoring of a massive number of web pages - that's just the "data refresh" area of Panda. The core algorithm itself is constantly evolving through machine learning on a massive scale. This means that what specific metrics it uses to create the scores (and the formula for how those metrics are combined) are not the same from iteration to iteration.
There was just one Panda data refresh that did not involve a new version of the core algorithm and that was during the week of Jan 19-24, 2012. Members (including me) here had trouble pinning down the date any better than that, since it faded into all the other ranking changes that month.
Not only is this a vast machine learning process (done on a scale that even Google never before attempted) the learning process is being done over a moving target: all the web pages that are continually changing. Even IBM's Watson doesn't have this kind of challenge.
If they just want to protect the Panda algorithm against reverse engineering, all they would need to do is not announce which ranking updates were from the Panda portion of the total algorithm.