Friday, March 26, 2010

New IEOR Tools contributor - developer of OpenOpt

I would like to welcome Dmitrey, developer of the open source optimization software suite, OpenOpt and maintainer of Dmitrey will contribute from time to time about OpenOpt and software releases.

When I started the IEOR Tools blog I wanted it to be a forum for discussion, evaluation, and peer review of the tools available to the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research community. I believe that the best opportunity for continued development and research of tools of the trade is in the Open Source community. I hope that this blog can be a conduit for continued development and opportunity.

I'm excited for the contributions that Dmitrey will provide with OpenOpt and other open source developments.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Timetric, startup grearing up for a new statistics presentation platform

Techcrunch is reporting that Timetric has closed seed funding for an innovative way to present statistics online. From the article, the money is going to be used to help get their statistical platform rolled out. Timetric's claim is that it will be able to present statistics in a more "useful" manner. Timetric already is working with online gurus such as Guardian and United Business Media.

It seems to me that this may be competing with the Wolphram Alphra platform. Another way to present public data on the internet. Yet this is also showing an increased trend in the importance of data visualization. I'm encouraged to see there is competitors in the data visualization market. It definitely shows that there is a need for that data management and presenting it in a meaningful way. Sounds a lot like Operations Research to me!

I really like the layout of the website. Any website that focuses on visualization should be sharp and refined. Curious to see how Timetric proves out in the future.

Friday, March 19, 2010

R Project in Google Summer of Code 2010

R Project, the open source statistical and mathematical computing environment, is going to be a part of the Google Summer of Code 2010. There is a an R Wiki page devoted to topics and projects within the R Project for the Google Summer of Code. The assortment of projects range from mathematical and statistical research oriented to computer API and interface.

The Google Summer of Code is a student internship program that provides stipends to develop free and open source software around the globe. The GSOC has been in existence since 2005 and has allowed thousands of students to work on hundreds of computing projects of interest. For a complete list of the GSOC open source organizations can be found on their project site.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

10 Linux Productivity Tools

For anyone who reads this blog it is no mystery that I am an Open Source and Free Software advocate. I have my reasons, which are many, I have previously posted on the IEOR Tools blog. That being said I like to find software for my favorite free operating system Linux. I know, Linux by itself is not an operating system but the kernel. I'm just referring to the "flavor" of the operating system which uses Linux.

There are some great productivity tools for Linux that can help any Analyst or Engineer. does a great job of reviewing some of the best available productivity tools for Linux. I am a big fan of Kontact, Ocular, and Kivio. I've mentioned before that Kivio is a great free software diagramming tool.

These applications can help improve productivity in the Linux environment. Often times folks feel the Windows corners the market on these types of applications but that is not often the case.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Predictive Modeling/Recommendation Challenges

The absence of the Netflix Prize may leave a gaping hole in some of our leisure activities. Well maybe not that big of a hole but at least some of our thought provoking lapses of time. If you are an avid modeler and really want to stretch your data mining and predictive modeling skills to the limit than there are other ways to get that accomplished.

Here are some other notable predictive modeling contests available compliments of KDnuggets.

A notable competition is the Analytics X Prize which aims at solving social problems within our world. The current prize is predicting homicide rates in Philadelphia. A bit morbid but may prove useful to municipalities across the world.

Also Yahoo has a collaborative learning or recommendation prize of their own. Yahoo Learning to Rank Challenge allows modelers to benchmark their ranking algorithms against the world. Must act quick because the challenge ends in June 2010.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Netflix scraps Netflix Prize II in lieu of lawsuit

Unfortunately for the prediction and mathematical modeling community Netflix has decided to scrap the sequel to the Netflix Prize. The matter came to a conclusion after a lawsuit was filed against Netflix about the public access to its member's ratings data. For the original Netflix prize the member ratings data was made anonymous. Yet the lawsuit is claiming that the ratings are so good that (from the article)

improvements made to the recommendation engine made it easier to identify people through supposedly anonymous information.
I guess the modeling community gets a +1 for great improvements.

I was a big fan of the Netflix Prize even if it only brought marginal improvements to the actual recommendation system. The shared knowledge and collaborative spirit was impressive. It doesn't sound like Netflix is going to go out on a limb and suggest a new contest. So it looks like this might be the end of the contest. This is very unfortunate because I was hoping this would spark a lot of companies trying these types of contests.

This also brings up a good point about making data anonymous. There are lots of ways to get this done. Please share ways that you're modeling for business, academic, or clientele that required making data anonymous.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Free e-books on Mathematics

Thanks to Jeromy Anglim on his blog he found a great link for free e-books on mathematics from There are quite a few e-books in this link which can be a great resource for rehashing and learning some new methods.

Some noted e-books in mathematics that I found to be interesting

Algorithms by Ian Craw, John Pulham
An Introduction to R by W. N. Venables, D. M. Smith
Engineering Mathematics by Ian Craw, Stuart Dagger, John Pulham
Statistics for Business and Economics by Marcelo Fernandes

Jeromy Anglim's blog is a very interesting resource for statistics, data mining, and R. Be sure to read it for its wonderful insights.