Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Operations Research courses via Open Courseware Consortium

Open Courseware is making it possible for anyone with an internet connection to find subject knowledge from many different academic institutions. The best part for knowledge seekers is that it is free and open to the public. Perhaps you would like to know about Quantum Physics or English Literature. There is a very good chance that lectures, notes, exams and class references will be available in a particular subject.

Operations Research is no different to Open Courseware. In fact there is an increasing amount of Operations Research, Management Science, Supply Chain, and Applied Mathematics available on the internet. The Open Courseware Consortium is one way to find open courses on the internet in Operations Research. The consortium themselves are trying to promote themselves with membership but to search for courses is free to the public by the institution. IEOR Tools has featured this in previous blog post about open courseware.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Analytic Competitions

In a follow-up to a previous IEOR Tools blog post on Predictive Modeling and Recommendation Challenges there is another organization opening up analytic competitions. Kaggle is an organization that is trying to bring together the best prediction modeling and statistical talent vis-a-vis analytic competitions.

Kaggle is also encouraging organizations to host a competition on their platform. They want to encourage companies to use them to find top notch predictive analysts.

There are two types of competitions promoted by Kaggle. The two kinds are predicting the future and predicting the past. From Kaggle's website...

The platform allows companies, researchers, governments and other organizations to post their problems and have statisticians worldwide compete to predict the future (produce the best forecasts) or predict the past (find the best insights hiding in your data).

The current contest is a European Voting.

Kaggle is taking advantage of the Netflix Prize and its success. The hope is that Kaggle can be a platform to bring these competitions together. It will be interesting to follow Kaggle to see if there is success in these open competitions for analytics. The results of the Netflix Prize seems to think that there will be a good indication.

Friday, April 23, 2010

World Bank opens data to the public for open research

Press release this week from the World Bank Group states the World Bank will release free access to data. According to the article there is over 2,000 financial, business, health, economic and human development statistics available for free to research.

The World Bank has created a new website to access the free data at Skimming over the Data Catalog shows a great amount of variety in the data sets. There are tables on Global Finance, Education Statistics, Poverty in developing countries, Gender, Business, Debt, Governance just to name a few.

This is very encouraging that the World Bank will offer data openly in this manner. Openness can be a great asset to the research community and help drive improvements and reform where needed. I definitely cheer the World Bank for allowing this data to become public.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

OR-Exchange in the top 50

Per Stack Exchange's directory of sites OR-Exchange has moved into the Top 50. This is good news for those in favor of keeping OR-Exchange a resource for the Operations Research community. There have been a lot of good questions asked this week. Although I threw a proverbial OR question about OR solvers some of the good ones include...

What file format for problem definition is suitable for OR-Exchange?

References for conjecture: Any regression can be translated into a math model

Please keep the questions and answers coming for OR-Exchange. For those that don't know about OR-Exchange I had a recent blog post about promoting this website for the Operations Research community.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

OR-Exchange Needs Your Help

Michael Trick, maintainer of the OR-Exchange site, is finding himself in a predicament. Apparently the owners of Stack Exchange that make OR-Exchange possible are changing their terms of service and providing an ultimatum to the lower trafficked pages. OR-Exchange will have to shut down if it can not meet the new requirements.

I'm a fan of OR-Exchange. OR-Exchange is a great place to share ideas with the Operations Research community and find answers to questions. OR-Exchange is in the model of and where you can vote up the questions and answers that you find favorable. That means value content will always rise to the top for easy dissemination.

Some people may argue that there is already a lot of information on the internet with Operations Research and that I can't argue against. The value of OR-Exchange is the dynamic collaboration with the Operations Research community. There can be value in posting Q&A topics and getting the community to answer to vote up and comment.

I urge you to give OR-Exchange a try to help promote this project. Otherwise we might lose a great resource.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Math is the New Cool for Employers

While parusing AnalyticBridge, Vincent Granville posted an article from the Wall Street Journal online that New Hiring Formula Values Math Pros. The WSJ article states that more and more companies are looking to statistics, data mining, and machine learning experts. Computer Science is waning compared to analytic experts. From the article...

The most desirable candidates, employers say, can have a variety of experience and educational backgrounds. Companies say specific degrees are less important than a focus on data-mining techniques.

This is definitely a trend I've been seeing. Companies want to see value delivered from their employees instead of just data management. I'm encouraged for the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research field and am looking forward to see how it takes off.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Anyone interested in a good RUG?

R User Groups are popping up around the country. In Dallas there is a new R User Group as told by David at the REvolutions blog. If the Larry in the article sounds familiar than you are right! Here is where you can sign up for the RUG in Dallas.

Also in Chicago they are getting things going with their own R User Group. REvolutions blog chimes in as well in an announcement for the windy city R users.

For those that don't know, R Project is a statistical computing environment very similar to S+ and SAS. It is free and open source and contains hundreds of free libraries and packages for statistical, optimization, predictive analytics, and data mining computing.

If you would like to get more interested in R in your region take a look at the REvolutions blog. REvolutions lists R User Groups all around the world. And if one is not in your area go ahead and get one started. It is a great way to network with professionals in your discipline.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 devoted to sharing data mining resources is an up and coming website devoted to all things data mining. There is a lot of tutorials, videos, reviews, and recommendations for quality tools of the data mining trade. There is even a feature for Open Source tools which definitely gets my attention. seems to be to data mining what IEOR Tools is to Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. I really like the presentation of the content. The links are tagged really well and are easy to find relevant resources for data mining. In the future I hope to feature some of the tutorials from this website.

One area you may to look at is the R Project tutorials which has my interest as of late.