5月 112012

Part of what captivated me about this paper and poster presentation were the presenters - these guys are high school kids using SAS to do a visual analysis of Internet use by high schoolers. The idea was so compelling that Anna Brown and Inside SAS Global Forum went to talk to two of the presenters to learn what they researched and why they started the project.


Watch live streaming video from sasglobalforum2012 at


Aren't these guys fascinating?! They are definitely going to be competing for one of the sexy statistician jobs of the future! How can you use their inspiration in your research?

Here's a link to their paper, "A Week in the Life”: A Visual Analysis of Internet Use by School-Age Students.

tags: Friday's Innovation Inspiration, Inside SAS Global Forum, Internet, papers & presentations, SAS Global Forum, social media, STEM, student scholarship programs
4月 272012
With a project based on analytics using SAS solutions, Juan Sebastian Lopez Cubides from Colombia was awarded the SAS® Global Forum Student Scholarship. Cubides received the scholarship at SAS Global Forum 2012 in Orlando. Juan Sebastian Lopez Cubides was part of a group of students and professors at the University [...]
3月 302012
There may be some of you who don't remember this song, but in high school and early college it was one of my favorites. "Get a haircut and get a real job," by George Thorogood and the Destroyers, really spoke to the rebel in me. Most of my rebellious days are behind [...]
3月 272012

As an economist by training, data has always interested me. Today, getting a decent dataset with a few million records is pretty easy. It wasn't always that way, though - I still remember how for many of my colleagues at university, their choice of thesis was actually guided by what data was available and not where their interests laid!

I firmly believe that we, as a society, need to develop our numeracy skills. Regardless of what industry you're in, knowledge has advanced to a point where it's hard to truly innovate without some grounding in mathematics. The amazing thing is that it doesn't matter where you look, maths has a role to play everywhere: sequencing the genome, more effectively managing credit, high-velocity trading, customer engagement, even resource management within the public sector!

These applications require real skills. And, while those skills take time to develop, we seem to do a depressingly effective job in turning students off on maths. Where I think we let them down is in making it relevant - it took me a good decade after I learned calculus in high school to realise the practical applications. It wasn't until I was trying to benchmark the net utility created by two different policy approaches that everything clicked. Measuring the area under the curve moved away from being an abstract concept to something that actually meant something.

It's for that reason I was so happy to hear Keitha Booth from Land Information NZ talk about how the New Zealand government is making a large effort to join the open data initiative. With my private sector hat on, her point that leveraging this data can allow companies to innovate really resonated with me. With my personal hat on though, I think it's even cooler - it makes it easier for non-mathematicians to see the power of information. It's hard not play around with the LINZ Data Service without getting alternatively interested and excited!

The greatest thing is that there's so much out there. Regardless of whether you want to play around with data from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, or the world, there's insights everywhere. Numbers aren't just abstract concepts - they model reality. What better way to make mathematics relevant to a future generation of kids than to give them the ability to interactively explore the world they live in?

Photograph of Keitha Booth shot by Andrew McMillan in 2011, check out his Flickr stream.

tags: Keitha Booth, New Zealand, open data, STEM, students
12月 062011
December 4 marked the beginning of Computer Science Education Week, and I'd like to take a moment to consider how the business community might support K-12 schools as they respond to this rapidly changing field. Many years ago when computer science courses first appeared in schools, they were considered “extra” [...]