Instructor Spotlight: Cliff Ragsdale

Cliff T. Ragsdale teaches several courses for the Institute in the area of operations research, based on his best selling text "Spreadsheet Modeling and Decision Analysis." One of Cliff's special talents is making his subject, which can be quite challenging technically, widely accessible. His courses…

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Selection Bias

Selection bias is a sampling or data collection process that yields a biased, or unrepresentative, sample.  It can occur in numerous situations, here are just a few:

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Space Shuttle Explosion

In 1986, the U.S. space shuttle Challenger exploded several minutes after launch. A later investigation found that the cause of the disaster was O-ring failure, due to cold temperatures. The temperature at launch was 39 degrees, colder than any prior launch. The cold caused the…

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Alaskan Generosity

People in Alaska are extraordinarily generous - that's what a predictive model showed, when applied to a charitable organization's donor list. A closer examination revealed a flaw - while the original data was for all 50 states, the model's training data for Alaska included donors,…

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