Chapter 4

The Analytical Approach

Several methods are available to apply analytics to solving business problems, the oldest of which are based on mathematical approaches. There are some indications that the oldest mathematical objects are from 35,000 bc—from the mountains of Swaziland (currently known as Kingdom of Swaziland), bordered by South Africa and Mozambique—used as an early attempt to quantify time. The history of mathematics spreads out from these roots, and there are suggestions that formal mathematical models were deployed by the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Greeks at different time periods and mostly for arithmetics and geometry. Mathematics was basically a method used to describe natural phenomena, sometimes based on observations and at other times used to develop formulas to predict results. Chinese, Indian, and Islamic developments also contributed to the field of mathematical science, particularly further developing geometry, trigonometry, and algebraic disciplines. Since those early times, we have been using mathematics in virtually every field to solve specific problems as well as furthering other scientific development. Mathematics has been crucial to the development of all the modern sciences such as physics, chemistry, and biology. Today we still use mathematics to solve a wide range of business problems, from calculating changes in restaurant placement to computing the trajectory of a space craft.

Modern branches of mathematical science, such as the fields ...

Get Heuristics in Analytics: A Practical Perspective of What Influences Our Analytical World now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.