Insight from Unexpected Places

I was working through Udacity’s intro to data science course and came to the first exercise which involves predicting if a passenger on the Titanic would be a survivor or not based on the characteristics of the passenger (age, sex, etc.).

Well, I got hung up because I don’t know enough Python syntax to do the programming (I guess I need to finish my Codecademy Python course first). So I decided to switch gears and explore how economists are using Big Data.

I was reading a working paper by Hal Varian, since he is partially responsible for getting me on this path, that was a high level overview of Big Data. It was in the 10 o’clock hour and my brain was spent so I stopped (I am a morning person). I was flipping ahead to see how many pages were left when I saw something I did not expect to see.

I saw a decision tree that showed how to predict if a person was a Titanic survivor based on some characteristics. You can get a hold of the paper on the resource page of this blog. It is funny where you can find insight. Who would of thought a paper, written for economists, could provide a model to predict Titanic survivors. There is a good lesson that Computer Scientists do not have a monopoly on this field.


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