Explain or predict: simulation

Some time ago, when I presented the “explain or predict” work, my colleague Avi Gal asked where simulation falls. Simulation is a key method in operations research, as well as in statistics. A related question arose in my mind when thinking of Scott Nestler‘s distinction between descriptive/predictive/prescriptive analytics. Scott defines prescriptive analytics as “what should happen in the future? (optimization, simulation)“. So where does simulation fall? Does it fall in a completely different goal category, or can it be part of the explain/predict/describe framework? My opinion is that simulation, like other data analytics techniques, does not define a goal in … Continue reading Explain or predict: simulation

Mining health-related data: How to benefit scientific research

Image from KDnuggets.com While debates over privacy issues related to electronic health records are still ongoing, predictive analytics are beginning to being used with administrative health data (available to health insurance companies, aka, “health provider networks”). One such venue are large data mining contests. Let me describe a few and then get to my point about their contribution to pubic health, medicine and to data mining research. The latest and grandest is the ongoing $3 million prize contest by Hereitage Provider Network, which opened in 2010 and lasts 2 years. The contest’s stated goal is to create “an algorithm that … Continue reading Mining health-related data: How to benefit scientific research

ASA’s magazine: Excel’s default charts

Being in Bhutan this year, I have requested the American Statistical Association (ASA) and INFORMS to mail the magazines that come with my membership to Bhutan. Although I can access the magazines online, I greatly enjoy receiving the issues by mail (even if a month late) and leafing through them leisurely. Not to mention the ability to share them with local colleagues who are seeing these magazines for the first time! Now to the data-analytic reason for my post: The main article in the August 2010 issue of AMSTAT News (the ASA’s magazine) on Fellow Award: Revisited (Again) presented an “update to … Continue reading ASA’s magazine: Excel’s default charts