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DePaul University To Offer Degree In Predictive Analysis

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the tea-leaves-and-chicken-bones dept.

Education 71

itwbennett writes "The Chicago-based DePaul University will offer what it says is the nation's first master's degree in predictive analysis, the school announced on Wednesday in conjunction with IBM, which will provide resources for the program. 'We realized there was a need to create a program that prepared students in careers in data analytics and business intelligence,' said Raffaella Settimi, an associate professor at DePaul's College of Computing and Digital Media, who helped craft the program. 'A lot of the professionals who work in these fields have a variety of backgrounds, but there really isn't a program dedicated to data analytics,' Settimi said."

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71 comments

First prediction! (4, Funny)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601318)

Did they predict their own success?

I don't know... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32601616)

I don't know. Were you able to predict that I'm coming to pee in your ass? Bend over you little faggot.

Re:First prediction! (2)

tuomoks (246421) | more than 3 years ago | (#32602802)

No, because there is not yet a tool to do that. What I'm afraid, again - see this : "It will focus on hands-on use of applications"!

Instead of teaching how to think, maybe how and why to create these applications, they will teach how to use tools and toys? IMHO that's a real problem today, especially in IT - all these courses how to use tools and toys, operators, certified to push a button! What has happened to teaching how to think, how to create? At least a long time ago, business analysis needed a good background on statistics, business knowledge, IT (actually IS, a little more than just IT) experience and knowledge of business / customer history, risks and issues, and so on. What now - a certificate to use a tool and you are a pro?

Year 1 schedule announced. (3, Funny)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601342)

Chiromancy
Astrology
i-ching
tarot cards
numerology
dream interpretation ...

Re:Year 1 schedule announced. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#32602256)

Religion...

Re:Year 1 schedule announced. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32604092)

Religion...

Amazing! You, with your sweeping insight, have just exposed a gaping flaw in most orthodox religions, by comparing them to modern day fringe movements, such as astrology and tarot cards! That's certainly never been done before!

Bravo!

Re:Year 1 schedule announced. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32603918)

It seems they added a new course: "Tightening Up Those Formulas"
 
    That sounds fascinating!

Re:Year 1 schedule announced. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32605590)

Obviously, the future is like the past except when it isn't. You need a MBA degree to know this?

DePaul is Catholic (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#32606498)

Afaik, DePaul University is a Catholic pseudo-degree mill. So they'll use just use papal infallibility.

As others have observed, they have basically just added some calculous courses onto a standard low-level liberal arts degree. You'll fair far better hiring any math major with half was decent grades from any upper level state school.

Re:DePaul is Catholic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32613466)

Having gone to DePaul I can say that they are catholic (little c) in name only. The LGBTQ group on campus is probably the most influential (they get a week where they gay up the student center, it's awesome), there are secular/atheist groups on campus and many of my profs were non-religious and were open about that fact.

Though I have one of those "low-level" liberal arts degrees (thus my opinion is invalid on /.)

About it being a degree mill, I thought I got a great education out of it (though I'll agree you can coast there if you want, not putting anything into it). In any case, I'm off to UoC this fall for a masters program that will likely go through to a PhD, which is what I was aiming for. So it seems this "degree-mill" served me well.

I knew they were going to do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32601376)

I hope they are prepared for people to make fun of them. I predict that, too.

In Other Word: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32601400)

statistics.

Yours In Chicago,
Kilgore Trout

Re:In Other Word: (4, Insightful)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601452)

statistics.

As Feynman might have said, Statistics is to Predictive Analytics as Mathematics is to Physics.

Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32601618)

Unfortunately the idiotic moderators are uninformed.

K. Trout

Went to DePaul for Statistics (4, Informative)

proc_tarry (704097) | more than 3 years ago | (#32602944)

I went to DePaul and got an MS in Applied Statistics. I also work for a marketing company doing "predictive analytics". (I really don't like that term. It degrades the importance of understanding the relationship between independent and dependent variables, and places more emphasis on dependent variable fit. You can have a highly accurate model, but if marketers don't understand how their efforts affect sales the model is worthless.)

At DePaul one series of classes was mostly math theory, the remaining classes were 100% about "predictive analytics", i.e. using a computer to build statistical models. It used a more traditional approach to applied statistics with "topical" classes: sampling, forecasting, design & analysis of experiments, nonparametric statistics, Monte Carlo simulation, multivariate statistics, etc.

The statistics program is part of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in the math department. This new program is in the computer science department (which has its own college). The program (http://www.cdm.depaul.edu/academics/Pages/MSinPredictiveAnalytics.aspx) looks like a hybrid of CS, Stats & Marketing. It includes a class in neural networks which most stats programs lack, but again, this focuses on "prediction" instead of "inference", which is less useful to marketers. (Neural networks is a highly valuable topic. Just not as much in this field.) Also, the program lacks pure programming classes, which there is A LOT of in this field (data never comes in formats ready to model). Most is done in SAS or R, but any programming language teaching basic concepts (variables, logic, arrays, loops, functions) is useful.

I graduated from the program... (3, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601404)

and I predict this will be FIRST POST!!!!

(yes, I did get a D- average... how did you know?)

Re:I graduated from the program... (4, Funny)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601576)

Congratulations, your performance is within the acceptable range of tolerance.

You'll receive your masters in 8-10 business days.

I tried to sign up but... (5, Funny)

Elbowgeek (633324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601406)

I got a notice saying the courses had been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances...

Re:I tried to sign up but... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32602030)

Sorry to hear that. They mailed me my master's degree out of the blue, because apparently I'm going to be joining the university and earning it in the next decade. Haha, now I don't have to, suckers!

statistics (4, Interesting)

flynt (248848) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601420)

There are, however, many quality degree programs in Statistics. As someone who went through one of them, you can largely choose your own mix of theory and practice. I wonder if this isn't just statistics rebranded? I hope it doesn't concentrate too much on certain proprietary software packages. Statistics is like anything else. You can easily produce a bunch of numbers and compile massive books of tables and graphics. But if you don't know the assumptions of each of your methods, and consequently their shortcomings in each situation, you can draw some fairly bad conclusions rather quickly. I just hope this program gives a solid background in theoretical statistical inference, experimental design, and regression analysis, so students understand the 'why'.

Re:statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32601552)

Hence the saying...
There's lies, there's damn lies, and then there's statistics. :-)

Looks like calculus to me (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32602192)

I looked at the site and it's basically a math degree which requires calculus and some statistics. I don't think this degree in specific would be worth the money unless you really have a passion for math.

Re:statistics (1)

Hythlodaeus (411441) | more than 3 years ago | (#32603048)

Sounds like mostly statistics, with a side of marketing and IT (and selling itself as something like operations research).

Re:statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32603408)

There are, however, many quality degree programs in Statistics. As someone who went through one of them, you can largely choose your own mix of theory and practice. I wonder if this isn't just statistics rebranded? I hope it doesn't concentrate too much on certain proprietary software packages. Statistics is like anything else. You can easily produce a bunch of numbers and compile massive books of tables and graphics. But if you don't know the assumptions of each of your methods, and consequently their shortcomings in each situation, you can draw some fairly bad conclusions rather quickly. I just hope this program gives a solid background in theoretical statistical inference, experimental design, and regression analysis, so students understand the 'why'.

My expectation: they'll have some courses covering the assumptions but they'll handwave them for the applied courses.

I'm an actuary and my observation has been that no one is willing to deal with the fact that most of the assumptions needed to do any kind of useful statistical work aren't really valid for most data that involves people outside of a laboratory setting. People's actions have a low correlation some of the time and a high correlation at other times greatly limiting the predictive ability of historical data. A recent example of this was the market crash which was largely precipitated by financial models treating the correlation of individuals defaulting on loans as a constant.

Some people in my line of work are doing a lot more predictive work using statistical methods, but I'm not very fond of that. The results are dependent on things like market performance and group behavior, both of which don't seem to have bounded variance making any kind of notion of "best estimate" of future results shaky at best.

My view is that the probabilities I work with strictly constitute assumptions used as a component of planning for future events rather than a basis for predicting future events. I do some work doing projections of future costs, but when we do it, it's strictly deterministic projections based on assuming that the current assumptions are met perfectly or we'll do some projections showing the impact of certain deviations from assumptions. Basically it's just a framework for planning out paying for things and reviewing and revising that plan over time.

Unfortunately, my view is in the minority for people in my generation (although some of the older actuaries think more along these lines). Computers have opened up a lot of possibilities for new analysis that weren't possible before and a lot of people are rushing ahead without properly considering how dangerous analysis based on faulty statistical assumptions can be.

oh nice oxymoron! (1)

Midnight's Shadow (1517137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601470)

'We realized there was a need to create a program that prepared students in careers in data analytics and business intelligence,' said Raffaella Settimi, an associate professor at DePaul's College of Computing and Digital Media, who helped craft the program.

It has got to be right up there with military intelligence and giant ants.

wha? (3, Interesting)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601476)

I have an M.S. in predictive analytics, and I'm only months away from my Ph.D. These guys didn't do much research.

Which School (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601706)

What school are you attending? I googled the terms and didn't come up with much?

Re:Which School (1)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 3 years ago | (#32602532)

After reading the article, I think I may have spoken a little too quickly ...maybe. My degree is related to data mining. The article says predictive analytics is the last step of data mining. While that's technically true, the other steps are things like "find out what data is available", "understand its context", and "gather the data". There's not really much to study for those steps that an intelligent person wouldn't assume anyway, so it's all focused on building predictive models and using them to drive business decisions. I don't see why ignoring earlier steps really makes this degree any more focused. I think they're just trying to be "unique" to attract interest.

Re:Which School (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32608048)

You didn't answer the original question: what school?

Re:wha? (3, Insightful)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601820)

I have an M.S. in predictive analytics, and I'm only months away from my Ph.D.

Knowing some Ph.D.'s, that's a pretty bold prediction :D

Re:wha? (1)

Vasheron (1750022) | more than 3 years ago | (#32604956)

So you what sort of things do you model in predictive analytics? What kind of methods do you use? How reliable are your predictions? I majored in mathematics with an emphasis in probability theory, and I have an interest in machine learning, so please don't refrain from any technical details/jargon you might offer in helping me to understand the nature of this field.

Hari Seldon would be proud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32601484)

Now who will offer the first course branching off from this named Psycho History?

Re:Hari Seldon would be proud (2, Funny)

yahwotqa (817672) | more than 3 years ago | (#32602406)

I'm afraid you will have to wait about 20000 more years for that...

Re:Hari Seldon would be proud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32607068)

But it will be in Chicago [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:Hari Seldon would be proud (1)

JimB (9642) | more than 3 years ago | (#32604230)

I thought it was one word. You didn't mention that Lawrence Robertson would ALSO be proud.

making predictions without facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32601520)

that's what happens EVERY time the s (spiritual) factor is left out of the equation, missing 99% of the possible variables.

Economics (0, Flamebait)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601628)

Most financial companies of any size are doing this already with Ph.Ds and Masters from economic programs. I don't see how is this any difference from modern economics. It sounds sexier? IBM is doing it? They might as well call it Psychohistory and suck their own cocks while they are at it.

No surprise here, this is DePaul (1)

alexmin (938677) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601650)

The quality of their product is well known in Chicago.

Re:No surprise here, this is DePaul (1)

jrade (1522777) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601982)

I live in Chicago and had two friends go to DePaul. One was in an accelerated program that was a joke to say the most. It is all about MONEY.

Re:No surprise here, this is DePaul (1)

cslax (1215816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32602652)

Yes, sometimes they do have programs that are very easy to go through quickly. However, if you get a good advisor (which CDM has, more often than not) you can substitute more classes and in turn, get more knowledge in useful areas. They do (at least for CS) have a lot of professors who teach fun independent studies and seminar classes.

Re:No surprise here, this is DePaul (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#32606104)

and the quality of their product, Chicago (the band), is quite well known. Those guys went to school there.
So did my father-in-law.
Blue Devils.

Re:No surprise here, this is DePaul (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#32606164)

Oops, my bad. Blue Demons.
Either way, a funny mascot for a Catholic university.

Psychohistory (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601708)

Math will prove that civilization is coming to a new dark age. We must compile encyclopedia galactica to reduce this period of ignorance so that Foundation may return.

Re:Psychohistory (1)

KurtisKiesel (905982) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601900)

Exactly the same thing I thought. Where do you sign up for the second foundation?
/we are all just pawns of a robot with ESP.

Re:Psychohistory (2, Insightful)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#32602590)

If you have not already been contacted to take part, it is because it had been mathematically determined that you would provide no useful input.

Stasiland diploma (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#32601726)

So this will pump out the cubicle critters to run systems like
http://wikileaks.org/wiki/EU_social_network_spy_system_brief,_INDECT_Work_Package_4,_2009 [wikileaks.org] and
http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Mind_Your_Tweets:_The_CIA_Social_Networking_Surveillance_System
The only question is why do they need to make such bold public push for future workers? Hard to tap the shoulder of an entire graduating class for a private chat?
Fusion centres a growth sector in the USA?
NSA shifts to e-mail, Web, data-mining dragnet
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-9890761-38.html [cnet.com]

Asmiov invents the future again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32601864)

Psychohistory anyone?

Wisdom From Homer Simpson (2, Funny)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 3 years ago | (#32602364)

I think that this is best guide to how the market analysts actually predicted anything on Wall Street

The code of the schoolyard, Marge! The rules that teach a boy to be a man. Let's see. Don't tattle. Always make fun of those different from you. Never say anything, unless you're sure everyone feels exactly the same way you do.

Tune in the Marketwatch a few times and see if I am wrong...

statistics without rigor: terrifying (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 3 years ago | (#32602644)

Programs like this essentially boil down to training to interpret (using this word generously here) statistical results, without a solid understanding of statistics.

Anyone smart enough to be entrustable with this kind of stuff, should be smart and willing enough to learn real statistics. Unfortunately this would require more commitment than our "fluid" and deskilled labor market can tolerate. We all pay for this.

Queueing Systems (3, Interesting)

Conchobair (1648793) | more than 3 years ago | (#32602760)

Get your Astrology and Fortune telling jokes out of the way, but it's not really hard to use predictive analysis and come out to be very accurate (within 3%). You are not always going to hit it on the head, but it's very easy to get close. There are patterns in everything people do and while there will always be outliers for the most part behavior follows basic patterns or cycles, although these may change over time.

It's important to be predictive in anything that involves a queuing system, such as a sales website or where a lot of the theory got its start in telephone calls [wikipedia.org]. Really it applies to anything where people try to do the same thing at once that requires resources for the company to allocate. It can be the difference between success (Blizzcon ticket queue never crashed out) and failure (iPhone 4G). Especially with more people trying to access the same thing at once on the internet, this sort of analysis of how many resources to allocate efficiently is going to be more important. You don't want to allocate too much due to costs, but you can't do too little otherwise your customers suffer.

Yeah, it’s a lot like statistics, but it's going from 'What Happened?' to 'How and why did it happen?' and from 'What is happening now?' to 'What's the next best action?'.

Re:Queueing Systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32606010)

It can be the difference between success (Blizzcon ticket queue never crashed out) and failure (iPhone 4G).

Yeah, ten times the first-day reservations of their last phone is a pretty clear-cut failure. I'll be surprised if Apple lasts the year.

Applied Reckoning (1)

benwiggy (1262536) | more than 3 years ago | (#32603068)

I already have qualifications in the field of dead reckoning.

I reckon that if I took this course, I would get an A.

Just don't practice in Italy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32606020)

They prosecute you there if your predictions are wrong.

Three years too late (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#32604134)

They're several years too late. The market for Wall Street "quants" has collapsed.

DePaul Programs (1)

ChiRaven (800537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32604670)

Being from their cross-town rival I almost hate to say this, but DePaul has been at the forefront of this sort of program for some time. Back in the late '80's or early '90's they introduced a master's degree in applied mathematics that contained an in-depth study of all of the material customarily found in a quantitatively-oriented MBA degree, with some additional courses that were somewhat more oriented toward the theory behind that basic core.

Predictive statistics is a Fraud (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32604798)

I wonder what Nassim Taleb would say about this degree?

He would probably point out that it amounts to an advanced degree in practical fraud perpetuation.

Standard Gaussian statistics cannot accurately predict anything that matters.

Because if their track record (2, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 3 years ago | (#32605830)

Are the guys teaching this stuff the same ones that failed to predict the financial bubble?
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