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Data Science for Business by Foster Provost, Tom Fawcett

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Chapter 14. Conclusion

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

Albert Einstein

The practice of data science can best be described as a combination of analytical engineering and exploration. The business presents a problem we would like to solve. Rarely is the business problem directly one of our basic data mining tasks. We decompose the problem into subtasks that we think we can solve, usually starting with existing tools. For some of these tasks we may not know how well we can solve them, so we have to mine the data and conduct evaluation to see. If that does not succeed, we may need to try something completely different. In the process we may discover knowledge that will help us to solve the problem we had set out to solve, or we may discover something unexpected that leads us to other important successes.

Neither the analytical engineering nor the exploration should be omitted when considering the application of data science methods to solve a business problem. Omitting the engineering aspect usually makes it much less likely that the results of mining data will actually solve the business problem. Omitting the understanding of process as one of exploration and discovery often keeps an organization from putting the right management, incentives, and investments in place for the project to succeed.

The Fundamental Concepts of Data Science

Both the analytical engineering and the exploration and discovery are made more systematic and thereby more likely to ...

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