Strata: one down, one to go
Yesterday I gave a talk called “Finance vs. Machine Learning” at Strata. It was meant to be a smack-down, but for whatever reason I couldn’t engage people to personify the two disciplines and have a wrestling match on stage. For the record, I offered to be on either side. Either they were afraid to hurt a girl or they were afraid to lose to a girl, you decide.
Unfortunately I didn’t actually get to the main motivation for the genesis of this talk, namely the realization I had a while ago that when machine learners talk about “ridge regression” or “Tikhonov regularization” or even “L2 regularization” it comes down to the same thing that quants call a very simple bayesian prior that your coefficients shouldn’t be too large. I talked about this here.
What I did have time for: I talked about “causal modeling” in the finance-y sense (discussion of finance vs. statistician definition of causal here), exponential downweighting with a well-chosen decay, storytelling as part of feature selection, and always choosing to visualize everything, and always visualizing the evolution of a statistic rather than a snapshot statistic.
They videotaped me but I don’t see it on the strata website yet. I’ll update if that happens.
This morning, at 9:35, I’ll be in a keynote discussion with Julie Steele for 10 minutes entitled “You Can’t Learn That in School”, which will be live streamed. It’s about whether data science can and should be taught in academia.
For those of you wondering why I haven’t blogged the Columbia Data Science class like I usually do Thursday, these talks are why. I’ll get to it soon, I promise! Last night’s talks by Mark Hansen, data vizzer extraordinaire and Ian Wong, Inference Scientist from Square, were really awesome.