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Cool open-source models?

November 27, 2013

I’m looking to develop my idea of open models, which I motivated here and started to describe here. I wrote the post in March 2012, but the need for such a platform has only become more obvious.

I’m lucky to be working with a super fantastic python guy on this, and the details are under wraps, but let’s just say it’s exciting.

So I’m looking to showcase a few good models to start with, preferably in python, but the critical ingredient is that they’re open source. They don’t have to be great, because the point is to see their flaws and possible to improve them.

  1. For example, I put in a FOIA request a couple of days ago to get the current teacher value-added model from New York City.
  2. A friends of mine, Marc Joffe, has an open source municipal credit rating model. It’s not in python but I’m hopeful we can work with it anyway.
  3. I’m in search of an open source credit scoring model for individuals. Does anyone know of something like that?
  4. They don’t have to be creepy! How about a Nate Silver – style weather model?
  5. Or something that relies on open government data?
  6. Can we get the Reinhart-Rogoff model?

The idea here is to get the model, not necessarily the data (although even better if it can be attached to data and updated regularly). And once we get a model, we’d build interactives with the model (like this one), or at least the tools to do so, so other people could build them.

At its core, the point of open models is this: you don’t really know what a model does until you can interact with it. You don’t know if a model is robust unless you can fiddle with its parameters and check. And finally, you don’t know if a model is best possible unless you’ve let people try to improve it.

  1. alg0rhythm
    November 27, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Don’t you hate models?


  2. expfcchuck
    November 30, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I assume you’re familiar with Steve Keen’s “Minsky” visually-oriented, econometric modeling engine. It includes a Godley interface for inputing double-entry accounting data. The Kickstarter-funded project is nearing completion, and the latest stable release is available from SourceForge here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/minsky/?source=dlp

    There’s a place for this type of tool in your vision, no?


  3. David Laxer
    November 30, 2013 at 8:01 pm
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