Welcome!

Wearables Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Rostyslav Demush

Related Topics: @DXWorldExpo, @CloudExpo, @ThingsExpo

@DXWorldExpo: Blog Feed Post

Is Data Science Really Science? | @BigDataExpo #BigData #Analytics #DataScience

Science works within systems of laws such as the laws of physics, thermodynamics, mathematics, electromagnetism

My son Max is home from college and that always leads to some interesting conversations.  Max is in graduate school at Iowa State University where he is studying kinesiology and strength training.  As part of his research project, he is applying physics to athletic training in order to understand how certain types of exercises can lead to improvements in athletic speed, strength, agility, and recovery.

Figure 1:  The Laws of Kinesiology

Max was showing me one drill designed to increase the speed and thrust associated with jumping (Max added 5 inches to his vertical leap over the past 6 weeks, and can now dunk over the old man).  When I was asking him about the science behind the drill, he went into great details about the interaction between the sciences of physics, biomechanics and human anatomy.

Max could explain to me how the laws of physics (the study of the properties of matter and energy.), kinesiology (the study of human motion that mainly focuses on muscles and their functions) and biomechanics (they study of movement involved in strength exercise or in the execution of a sport skill) interacted to produce the desired outcomes.  He could explain why it worked.

And that is the heart of my challenges with treating data science as a science.  As a data scientist, I can predict what is likely to happen, but I cannot explain why it is going to happen.  I can predict when someone is likely to attrite, or respond to a promotion, or commit fraud, or pick the pink button over the blue button, but I cannot tell you why that’s going to happen.  And I believe that the inability to explain why something is going to happen is why I struggle to call “data science” a science.

Okay, let the hate mail rain down on me, but let me explain why this is an important distinction!

What Is Science?
Science
is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

Science works within systems of laws such as the laws of physics, thermodynamics, mathematics, electromagnetism, aerodynamics, electricity (like Ohm’s law), Newton’s law of motions, and chemistry.  Scientists can apply these laws to understand why certain actions lead to certain outcomes.  In many disciplines, it is critical (life and death critical in some cases) that the scientists (or engineers) know why something is going to occur:

  • In pharmaceuticals, chemists need to understand how certain chemicals can be combined in certain combinations (recipes) to drive human outcomes or results.
  • In mechanical engineering, building engineers need to know how certain materials and designs can be combined to support the weight of a 40 story building (that looks like it was made out of Lego blocks).
  • In electrical engineering, electrical engineers need to understand how much wiring, what type of wiring and the optimal designs are required to support the electrical needs of buildings or vehicles.

Again, the laws that underpin these disciplines can be used to understand why certain actions or combinations lead to predictable outcomes.

Big Data and the “Death” of Why
An article by Chris Anderson in 2006 titled “The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete” really called into question the “science” nature of the data science role.  The premise of the article was that the massive amounts of data were yielding insights about the human behaviors without requiring the heavy statistical modeling typically needed when using sampled data sets.  This is the quote that most intrigued me:

“Google conquered the advertising world with nothing more than applied mathematics. It didn’t pretend to know anything about the culture and conventions of advertising — it just assumed that better data, with better analytical tools, would win the day. And Google was right.”

With the vast amounts of detailed data available and high-powered analytic tools, it is possible to identify what works without having to worry about why it worked.  Maybe when it comes to human behaviors, there are no laws that can be used to understand (or codify) why humans take certain actions under certain conditions.  In fact, we already know that humans are illogical decision-making machines (see “Human Decision-Making in a Big Data World”).

However, there are some new developments that I think will require “data science” to become more like other “sciences.”

Internet of Things and the “Birth” of Why
The Internet of Things (IOT) will require organizations to understand and codify why certain inputs lead to predictable outcomes.  For example, it will be critical for manufacturers to understand and codify why certain components in a product break down most often, by trying to address questions such as:

  • Was the failure caused by the materials used to build the component?
  • Was the failure caused by the design of the component?
  • Was the failure caused by the use of the component?
  • Was the failure caused by the installation of the component?
  • Was the failure caused by the maintenance of the component?

As we move into the world of IoT, we will start to see increased collaboration between analytics and physics.  See what organizations like GE are doing with the concept of “Digital Twins”.

The Digital Twin involves building a digital model, or twin, of every machine – from a jet engine to a locomotive – to grow and create new business and service models through the Industrial Internet.[1]

Digital twins are computerized companions of physical assets that can be used for various purposes. Digital twins use data from sensors installed on physical objects to represent their real-time status, working condition or position.[2]

GE is building digital models that mirror the physical structures of their products and components.  This allows them to not only accelerate the development of new products, but allows them to test the products in a greater number of situations to determine metrics such as mean-time-to-failure, stress capability and structural loads.

As the worlds of physics and IoT collide, data scientist will become more like other “scientists” as their digital world will begin to be governed by the laws that govern disciplines such as physics, aerodynamics, chemistry and electricity.

Data Science and the Cost of Wrong
Another potential driver in the IoT world is the substantial cost of being wrong.  As discussed in my blog “Understanding Type I and Type II Errors”, the cost of being wrong (false positives and false negatives) has minimal impact when trying to predict human behaviors such as which customers might respond to which ads, or which customers are likely to recommend you to their friends.

However in the world of IOT, the costs of being wrong (false positives and false negatives) can have severe or even catastrophic financial, legal and liability costs.  Organizations cannot afford to have planes falling out of the skies or autonomous cars driving into crowds or pharmaceuticals accidently killing patients.

Summary
Traditionally, big data historically was not concerned with understanding or quantifying “why” certain actions occurred because for the most part, organizations were using big data to understand and predict customer behaviors (e.g., acquisition, up-sell, fraud, theft, attrition, advocacy).  The costs associated with false positives and false negatives were relatively small compared to the financial benefit or return.

And while there may never be “laws” that dictate human behaviors, in the world of IOT where organizations are melding analytics (machine learning and artificial intelligence) with physical products, we will see “data science” advancing beyond just “data” science.  In IOT, the data science team must expand to include scientists and engineers from the physical sciences so that the team can understand and quantify the “why things happen” aspect of the analytic models.  If not, the costs could be catastrophic.

[1] https://www.ge.com/digital/blog/dawn-digital-industrial-era

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Twins

The post Is Data Science Really Science? appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By William Schmarzo

Bill Schmarzo, author of “Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business” and “Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science”, is responsible for setting strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings for Dell EMC’s Big Data Practice.

As a CTO within Dell EMC’s 2,000+ person consulting organization, he works with organizations to identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He’s written white papers, is an avid blogger and is a frequent speaker on the use of Big Data and data science to power an organization’s key business initiatives. He is a University of San Francisco School of Management (SOM) Executive Fellow where he teaches the “Big Data MBA” course. Bill also just completed a research paper on “Determining The Economic Value of Data”. Onalytica recently ranked Bill as #4 Big Data Influencer worldwide.

Bill has over three decades of experience in data warehousing, BI and analytics. Bill authored the Vision Workshop methodology that links an organization’s strategic business initiatives with their supporting data and analytic requirements. Bill serves on the City of San Jose’s Technology Innovation Board, and on the faculties of The Data Warehouse Institute and Strata.

Previously, Bill was vice president of Analytics at Yahoo where he was responsible for the development of Yahoo’s Advertiser and Website analytics products, including the delivery of “actionable insights” through a holistic user experience. Before that, Bill oversaw the Analytic Applications business unit at Business Objects, including the development, marketing and sales of their industry-defining analytic applications.

Bill holds a Masters Business Administration from University of Iowa and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics, Computer Science and Business Administration from Coe College.

@ThingsExpo Stories
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
"We view the cloud not as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), held June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Archi...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.