Teaching Analytics to NYC Employees: An Introduction

For over a year now, I’ve been teaching analytics courses for employees of the City of New York. Starting with a course called Data Analytics for Managers, I began helping the 300,000 civil service employees in New York become more data literate by helping them be comfortable with numbers and figures, as well as more […]

Mapping the NYC Subway Transit Sheds

I’ve been fascinated with the idea of a transit shed since I first encountered it studying the transit system in New York City. The idea is similar to a watershed, the area drained by a particular river. Public transit lines are like rivers of people, feeding them into the great reservoirs of jobs all around […]

The Rightful Use of Big Data

People often express concern about the role “big data” and predictive analytics will hold in the near and long term future of our society.  Some fear that critical decisions will be made automatically with little to no human intervention.  The reality is that computers are often able to make life-saving decisions much quicker than humans. […]

American Community Survey Data Users Conference – Day 2

As I mentioned in a previous post, I attended the inaugural ACS Data Users Conference this past month in Washington, DC. It was a gathering of over 300 researchers, policy analysts, and business analysts who work with the data.  The second day was focused more on applications and one of the more interesting presentations came […]

Data Science in the Public Interest (And How It Differs from Academia and Private Industry)

I recently responded to a comment on Stack Overflow that denounced the use of anything but black box algorithms because other algorithms had “failed” and opaque black box algorithms were the only way to go. I completely disagreed and in the disagreement, I came to understand one of the defining differences between the academic point of view […]

In Praise of Simplicity

I’ve finally been able to start getting caught up on my podcasts and just listened to Walter Isaacson’s interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air (yes, I have podcasts from over a year ago I still haven’t listened to).  Pulling nuggets of wisdom and insight from Steve Job’s life is like finding seashells on the […]