Where Outliers are Central

In casual statistical analysis, you sometimes hear references to outliers, along with the suggestion that they should be ignored or dropped from the analysis.  Quite the contrary: often it is the outliers that convey useful information.  They may represent errors in data collection, e.g. a…

Comments Off on Where Outliers are Central

July 28: Statistics in Practice

In this week’s brief we discuss outliers and anomalies, the unusual cases and events that often end up being the focus of attention. Our course spotlight is Nov 6 - Dec 4: Anomaly Detection If you’re interested in this topic, you should also consider the…

Comments Off on July 28: Statistics in Practice

Small Ball: When a Downgrade is an Upgrade

In this mature age of digital marketing, companies have developed finely honed engines of automated and targeted promotion that factor in individual preferences and behavior.  The idea is to add small increments to revenue and profit. The system evolved in a stable era of economic…

Comments Off on Small Ball: When a Downgrade is an Upgrade

Three Myths in Data Science

Myth 1:  It’s All About Prediction “Who cares whether we understand the model - as long as it predicts well!” This was one of the seeming benefits of the era of big data and predictive modeling, and it set data science apart from traditional statistics.  …

Comments Off on Three Myths in Data Science

July 21: Statistics in Practice

In this week’s brief, a continuation of our “Statistical Thinking” series, we reflect on three “myths” in data science and statistics, and spotlight our ten-course Social Science Statistics certificate program. You can get started with either of these courses: Aug 7- Sep 4:  Survey Design and…

Comments Off on July 21: Statistics in Practice

July 7: Statistics in Practice

As Independence Day inaugurates the official summer political season in the U.S. (a season that, in reality, no longer ends), we discuss in this week’s brief uplift models; our course spotlight is on Aug 21 - Sep 18: Persuasion Analytics and Targeting See you in…

Comments Off on July 7: Statistics in Practice

Random Chance or Not?

On July 4, 1826, U.S. Independence Day, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third presidents of the U.S., both died within hours of each other.  Adams and Jefferson personified opposing factions in U.S. politics, with Adams favoring a strong central government and…

Comments Off on Random Chance or Not?

Model Interpretability

Model interpretability refers to the ability for a human to understand and articulate the relationship between a model’s predictors and its outcome.  For linear models, including linear and logistic regression, these relationships are seen directly in the model coefficients.  For black-box models like neural nets,…

Comments Off on Model Interpretability

Instructor Spotlight: Ken Strasma

Ken Strasma is a pioneer in the field of predictive analytics in high-stakes Presidential campaigns, serving as the National Targeting Director for President Obama’s historic 2008 campaign and for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. He produced the predictive analytics models used by the campaigns, and helped popularize…

Comments Off on Instructor Spotlight: Ken Strasma

Predicting “Do Not Disturbs”

In his book Predictive Analytics, Eric Siegel tells the story of marketing efforts at Telenor, a Norwegian telecom, to reduce churn (customers leaving for another carrier). Sophisticated analytics were used to guide the campaigns, but the managers gradually discovered that some campaigns were backfiring:  they…

Comments Off on Predicting “Do Not Disturbs”
Close Menu