Book Image

Data Smart

By : John W. Foreman
Book Image

Data Smart

By: John W. Foreman

Overview of this book

Data Science gets thrown around in the press like it's magic. Major retailers are predicting everything from when their customers are pregnant to when they want a new pair of Chuck Taylors. It's a brave new world where seemingly meaningless data can be transformed into valuable insight to drive smart business decisions. But how does one exactly do data science? Do you have to hire one of these priests of the dark arts, the "data scientist," to extract this gold from your data? Nope. Data science is little more than using straight-forward steps to process raw data into actionable insight. And in Data Smart, author and data scientist John Foreman will show you how that's done within the familiar environment of a spreadsheet. Why a spreadsheet? It's comfortable! You get to look at the data every step of the way, building confidence as you learn the tricks of the trade. Plus, spreadsheets are a vendor-neutral place to learn data science without the hype. But don't let the Excel sheets fool you. This is a book for those serious about learning the analytic techniques, math and the magic, behind big data.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Free Chapter
1
Cover
2
Credits
3
About the Author
4
About the Technical Editors
5
Acknowledgments
18
End User License Agreement

OpenSolver: I Wish We Didn't Need This, but We Do

This book was originally designed to work completely with Excel's built-in Solver. However, as it turns out, functionality was removed from Solver in later versions for mysterious and unadvertised reasons.

What that means is that while this whole book works using vanilla Solver in Excel 2007 and Excel 2011 for Mac, in Excel 2010 and Excel 2013, the built-in Solver will occasionally complain that a linear optimization model is too large (I'll give you a heads-up in this book whenever a model gets that complex).

Luckily, there's an excellent free tool called OpenSolver that's available for the Windows versions of Excel that addresses this deficiency. With OpenSolver, you can still build your model in the regular Solver interface, but OpenSolver provides a button that you press to use its Simplex LP algorithm implementation, which is blazingly fast.

To set up OpenSolver, navigate to http://OpenSolver.org and download...