Neil Alex’s Blog
Searching for Principles

Using Data Takes Discipline – “It’s like saying, I gave Stacy a pen, therefore she’s a journalist,” said ZestFinance CEO Douglas Merrill at GigaOM’s Structure:Data conference this March. We’re not automatically great decision makers just because we’re looking at data….

Discovering Variable Interactions Using Particle Swarm and Apache Spark – I’ve been exploring whether particle swarm optimizationa fairly high-complexity algorithm but which I’ve found can be relatively computationally accessible in a distributed computing environmentis able to enhance the predictive power of ordinary least squares regression….

Are Studies in Income Inequality Robust? This One’s Pretty Good – David Autor and David Dorn are known for their research into (among many topics) the polarization of the U.S. labor market, sometimes also referred to… as the hollowing out of the middle class…. I attempted to replicate one of their central papers to get a sense for its robustness….

Visualization and Predictive Modeling Using D3.js – Several tools exist for creating visualizations: Tableau, Shiny, Bokeh, D3 to name a few…. One reason I like D3 is that it’s capable of depicting the simulated outcomes of complex user scenarios–scenarios that might not even exist in one’s historical data….

When Her High School Only Had a Men’s Team, She Said to Heck With It and Ran with the Men – In 1973 my mother Celeste McQuarrie was a senior in Catholic high school and wanted to run track—and yet the only track team her school recognized was for men. Think that stopped her? Nope, she said to heck with it and just started running with the guys….