Every data scientist knows that inspiration can come from anywhere. We may be guided by recent conversations with colleagues or clients, and work to meet their needs with the best modeling we can produce.
Sometimes, however, inspiration comes from really unexpected places. Warming up for exercise the other day, I watched a video on YouTube called Closer to Fine, by the Indigo Girls. Its title struck me as what we try to achieve. It also struck me as a metaphor of how our work gets done. To honor their work and leverage their insights, I came up with a bit of poetry describing how data science often proceeds.
I hope you enjoy it. Here it goes:
Saw this in the morning
Warming up for workout
Their life lessons offered
I see one for modeling too
We use insight-searching methods
Shallow, then deep
Bagging, boosting, neural
Ample yes, but fine?
Guided by intuition
Leveraging readied data
We group, classify, reinforce, and regress
Whether Bayesian or classically
We’re inspired by the doctors of philosophy
And often by what we read
Hopefully by theory
Yet often by serendipity
The more we search these mazes
The more we try and fail
The closer we get to fine
But “there’s more than one answer to [our] questions”
“Pointing [us] in crooked lines.”
So, we rethink and ponder
And model AutoML-
Curiosity is driving
The more we think and test
When we forge our path with science
The closer we get to fine, yeah.
— — — —
Quoted lyrics and links are from Closer to Fine, by the Indigo Girls (1989). Bracketed text and tortured analogies are mine.
Thank you, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, for the inspiration and your wonderful music!
Cover Photo by Dominik Opdenbosch on Unsplash.com
Ron is an internationally recognized consultant, analytics leader, and chief scientist whose published research has been viewed by people in over 90 countries. Educated in the SUNY system and The University of Michigan. Specializing in healthcare analytics, business strategy, economics, policy, and program evaluation. Founder & President of Analytics Strategy & Consulting LLC. Known for exceptional service to clients in The White House, federal and state agencies, life sciences companies, large employers and insurers, industry groups, and health systems. Over 100 endorsements each for leadership, analytic skills, and industry knowledge, on LinkedIn (see https://www.linkedin.com/