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Perception Matters
I lenjoyed reading the following from Dear Mona, Which Is The Fastest CheckOut Lane At The Grocery Store? (You should read it all, as it provides an interesting crash course on queuing theory in practice): After airline passengers wouldn’t stop complaining about the time they spent at baggage claim (even when more staff were added and wait times fell) a Houston airport simply moved the arrival gates so that passengers spent more of their “wait” time walking to... [More]
Etiquetas: analytics psychology optimization 
Analysts Views On Optimization
According to leading analyst firms, the corporate world should invest more in advanced analytics in general, and optimization in particular. Here are few examples. Last week at IBM Insight conference, Forrester's Mike Gualtieri presented with my colleague Eric Mazeran an interesting view on prescriptive analytics. Here is one of their slides. I like it because it propose a comprehensive view of where optimization lies within an end to end flow from data to actions. For those who never read my blog before, mathematical... [More]
Etiquetas: prescriptive analytics optimization 
Using Jupyter Docker Stack To Run R Notebooks
I'm a Python fan but I am cognizant of R being more popular than Python among data scientists. The combination of Python scientific stack , Jupyter notebooks , and Docker makes it easy to deploy cloud data science services, see for instance Deploy IPython Notebooks With Docker On Bluemix In Minutes . Can we do the same with R? I decided to test a combination of R, Jupyter notebooks, and Docker. To make an unbiased test, I further decided to use R code not written by me (which probably is a good thing... [More]
Etiquetas: notebook docker analytics jupyter rstats 
Installing Docker Toolbox On Windows
Docker is a great solution to the portability of software. It alleviates the "it worked on my machine, don't understand why it does not run on yours" nightmare. It does so via packaging your software and its execution environment in self contained containers This is an elegant solution to a very general problem. A good Docker introduction is available as online tutorials at https://training.docker.com/selfpacedtraining . I recommend going to the first one at least before reading this... [More]
Etiquetas: notebook windows boot2docker docker python 
Start With History?
Should we start with building history data before we know what we collect data for? Or should we really start with a question before collecting any data? I recently advocated for the latter in Start With A Question . I am not the first one, by far. For instance W. Edwards Deming wrote about it in 1942. While many agreed with this message, and even rephrased it in better ways than mine, Paul Rubin pointed to a kind of contradiction. In his words: I do not entirely disagree with the Deming and Godin quotes,... [More]

Start With A Question
The view that storing large amounts of data is enough to get insights out of it is losing ground, fortunately. It is a well known fact that data gathering should have a purpose. See for instance this citation this citation from 1942, shared by Dr Kuonen : A more recent way of saying it is from Seth Godin : Analytics without action Don't measure anything unless the data helps you make a better decision or change your actions. If you're not prepared to change your diet or your workouts, don't get... [More]

Solving Sudoku In Python With DOcplex On DOcloud
We just announced a major update of our CPLEX cloud service. Part of it is the availability of a Python modeling API called DOcplex. It is open sourced under the Apache 2.0 license. Here are useful links: Landing page on pypi: https://pypi.python.org/pypi/docplex Source code: https://github.com/IBMDecisionOptimization/docplex Documentation: https://github.com/IBMDecisionOptimization/docplexdoc Online documentation: https://rawgit.com/IBMDecisionOptimization/docplexdoc/master/docs/index.html Examples:... [More]
Etiquetas: cloud optimization docplex docloud python analytics sudoku 
Analytics Landscape
A great way to explain the value of analytics is to speak about the analytics maturity model . This model contains two pieces. First, analytics is a two step process: insights are generated from data, then decisions are made based on these insights. Second, we distinguish four maturity levels, depending on how much of the analytics process is automated: descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive. Descriptive Analytics answers: What happened? What is happening now? It makes data visible to human decision... [More]
Etiquetas: big_data data_science analytics 
Optimizing Car (And Cyclist) Speed
What is the optimal way to adjust one's car speed in order to minimize fuel consumption (or CO2 emission) while meeting desired travel time? The answer to that question came to me after I wrote my last blog entry on Predicting Cyclist Speed . In that post I explained how an endurance cyclist, Dave Haase , was using his power. He wasn't using constant power as most cyclists do. This made me think about what would be the best strategy. Use constant power, or use something closer to what Dave was doing? After... [More]
Etiquetas: green math sustainable optimization analytics 
Predicting Cyclist Speed
I have been the 'data scientist' on the IBM team that helped Dave Haase run the Race Across America (RAAM) this year. This project exemplified quite a few of the classical tips of data science documents in The Inconvenient Truth About Data Science : Data is never clean. You will spend most of your time cleaning and preparing data. 95% of tasks do not require deep learning. In 90% of cases generalized linear regression will do the trick. Big Data is just a tool. You should embrace the Bayesian... [More]
Etiquetas: data_science optimization python analytics 
Accountable Analytics
My post on How Does Cognitive Computing Relate To Analytics? triggered some interesting discussion. It all started with this tweet. The discussion was interesting, and it quickly moved to the issue of responsibility when decision making is fully automated. If prescriptive analytics computes decisions that are automatically executed, then what is the recourse when something bad happens? Think of self driving cars like Google cars. Who is responsible if such car causes an accident? One... [More]

Prescriptive Analytics Is Easier And More Profitable Than Predictive Analytics
When you hear about algorithms these days, chances are that you hear about machine learning or predictive analytics. (Some make a distinction between machine learning and predictive analytics, but the distinction is not material for this post. I'll use both interchangeably here). A quick search returns recent discussion in the news of machine learning algorithms: Using Algorithms to Determine Character , When Algorithms Discriminate ,... [More]
Etiquetas: optimization predictive prescriptive analytics 
How Does Cognitive Computing Relate To Analytics?
Readers of this blog are familiar with the analytics maturity model that includes several analytics levels: descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive. Presenting this model sometime triggers a very interesting question: where would Watson fit? If you've missed recent IBM history here is a refresher. Watson stands for IBM's offerings for Cognitive Computing. It has its roots in the Jeopardy Watson supercomputer that won the Jeopardy game few years ago. Watson now includes several... [More]
Etiquetas: cognitive analytics 
Modeling Cyclist Power
With the Tour de France nearing its end, and with some controversy about the power developed by some racers, I thought it would be timely to share some work I did in a recent project called Analytics For The Perfect Race . Part of that project required the capacity to forecast the pace at which the cyclist would move. For that we needed to build a physical model of the cyclist. More precisely, we needed to build a model that relates the power of the cyclist to his actual speed on the... [More]
Etiquetas: analytics cycling python 
Where Is Operations Research In Social Media?
Michael Trick's State of Operations Research Blogging discusses the fact that OR blogging is vanishing while twitter activity around OR is increasing. As an example of the latter, look for #ismp2015 on twitter and you'll get the most detailed ever journal of an OR conference I have seen. Mike further links blogging decline to the disappearance of Google Reader. I do think that there is another reason to the decrease in OR blogging. There is definitely a trend where OR is being... [More]
Etiquetas: optimization analytics data_science 