Constance Crozier (@clcrozier on Twitter) shared an interesting simulation in which she tried to fit a sigmoid curve (s-curve) to predict a plateau in a time-series. The result was a very intuitive and convincing animation that shows how wrong her initial forecasts were.
The matter of fact is that this phenomenon is not new at all. My first post-University job involved fitting numerous pharmacodynamics models. We always had to keep in mind that if the available data does not account for at least 95% of the maximum effect, the model will be very much suboptimal. It took me a while, but I managed to find the reference for this phenomenon [here]. Maybe, when I have some time, I will repeat Constance Crozier’s analysis, and add confidence intervals to emphasize the point.
EDIT: I came the conclusion that the most important takaway message of this demonstration is the necessity of reporting uncertainty with any forecast, and how small the value of a forecast is without uncertainty estimations.
S-curves (or sigmoid functions) are commonly used to model the evolution of social or biological systems over time . These functions start with exponential growth, then increase linearly, and finally level off (therefore end up looking like a wonky s). Many things that we think of as exponential functions will actually follow an s-curve (otherwise […]
My job wasn’t affected by the COVID madness in almost any way. I used to work from home before, and I work from home now, none on my customers cancelled any projects, the health system in Israel is still functioning, all of my relatives are in good health, everything is just fine! I know how unusual I am in the current world, with the skyrocketing unemployment, non-functioning governments, and three-digit body counts. I was about to write about that, but then I read AnnMaria’s post.
You should read it too
I’ve read a lot of cheery tweets that said something like, “Buffy, Biff and I are isolated at home with our terrier, Boo. Here’s a picture. Isn’t he cute? We played card games, then I baked this three-course meal I saw on Pinterest. Biff is taking this time to finally become proficient in Mandarin with…
Being a data science freelancer, and a long-time AnnMaria’s fan, I HAVE to repost here latest post on consulting success
Last week, I mentioned that successful consultants have five categories of skills; communication, testing, statistics, programming and generalist. COMMUNICATION Communication is the number one most important skill. All five are necessary to some extent, but a terrific communicator with mediocre statistical analysis skills will get more business than a stellar statistician that can’t communicate. Communication…
If you read my shortish post about staying employable as a data scientist, you might like a longer post by a colleague, Yanir Seroussi. In his post, Yanir lists four possible paths for a data scientist: (1) become an engineer; (2) reinvent the wheel; (3) search for niches; and (4) expand the cutting edge.
To this list, I would also add two other options.
(5) Manage. Managing is not developing, it’s a different profession. However, some developers and data scientists that I know choose this path. I am not a manager myself, so I hope I don’t insult the managers who read these lines, but I think that it is much easier for a good manager to stay good, than for a good developer or data scientist.
(6) Teach. I teach as a part-time job. One reason for teaching is that I sometimes enjoy it. Another reason is that I feel that at some point, I might not be good enough to stay on the cutting edge but still sharp enough to teach the new generations the basics.
Anyhow, read Yanir’s post linked below.
The passage of time makes wizards of us all. Today, any dullard can make bells ring across the ocean by tapping out phone numbers, cause inanimate toys to march by barking an order, or activate remote devices by touching a wireless screen. Thomas Edison couldn’t have managed any of this at his peak—and shortly before […]