Essential Concepts

IDS Unit 4: Essential Concepts

Lesson 1: Water Usage

Data can be used to make predictions. Official data sets rely on censuses or random samples and can be used to make generalizations. On the other hand, data from Participatory Sensing campaigns are not random and rely on the sensors, in our case, humans, to be gathered and limits the ability to generalize.

Lesson 2: Exploring Water Usage

Exploring different data sets can give us insight about the same processes. Information from an official data set compared with a Participatory Sensing data set can yield more information than one data set alone. Research questions provide an overall direction to make comparisons between data sets.

Lesson 3: Evaluating and Implementing a Water Campaign

Statistical questions guide a Participatory Sensing campaign so that we can learn about a community or ourselves. These campaigns should be evaluated before implementing to make sure they are reasonable and ethically sound.

Lesson 4: Learning About Our Water Campaign

Statistical questions guide a Participatory Sensing campaign so that we can learn about a community or ourselves. These campaigns should be tried before implementing to make sure they are collecting the data they are meant to collect and refined accordingly.

Lesson 5: Statistical Predictions using One Variable

Anyone can make a prediction. But statisticians measure the success of their predictions. This lesson encourages the classroom to consider different measures of success.

Lesson 6: Statistical Predictions by Applying the Rule

If we use the squared residuals rule, then the mean of our current data is the best prediction of future values. If we use the mean absolute error rule, then the median of the current data is the best prediction of future values.

Lesson 7: Statistical Predictions Using Two Variables

When predicting values of a variable y, and if y is associated with x, then we can get improved predictions by using our knowledge about x. Basically, we “subset” the data for a given value of x, and use the mean y for those subset values. If the resulting means follow a trend, we can model this trend to generalize to as-yet unseen values of x.

Lesson 8: What’s the Trend?

Associations are important because they help us make better predictions; the stronger the trend, the better the prediction we can make. “Better” in this case means that our mean squared residuals can be made smaller.

Lesson 9: Spaghetti Line

We can often use a straight line to summarize a trend. “Eye balling” a straight line to a scatterplot is one way to do this.

Lesson 10: Predicting Values

The regression line can be used to make good predictions about values of y for any given value of x. This works for exactly the same reason the mean works well for one variable: the predictions will make your score on the mean squared residuals as small as possible.

Lesson 11: How Strong Is It?

A high absolute value for correlation means a strong linear trend. A value close to 0 means a weak linear trend.

Lesson 12: More Variables to Make Better Predictions

We can use scatterplots to assess which variables might lead to strong predictive models. Sometimes using several predictors in one model can produce stronger models.

Lesson 13: Combination of Variables

If multiple predictors are associated with the response variable, a better predictive model will be produced, as measured by the mean absolute error.

Lesson 14: Improving your Model

If a linear model is fit to a non-linear trend, it will not do a good job of predicting. For this reason, we need to identify non-linear trends by looking at a scatterplot or the model needs to match the trend.

Lesson 15: The Growth of Landfills

Modeling does not always have to produce an equation. Instead, we can create models to answer real-world problems related to our community.

Lesson 16: Exploring Trash via the Dashboard

Exploring the IDS Dashboard provides a visual approach to data analysis.

Lesson 17: Exploring Trash via RStudio

RStudio can be used to verify initial results/findings from data analysis done via the IDS Dashboard.

Lesson 18: Grow Your Own Classification Tree

Many data sets have multiple predictors and are very non-linear. We can still use this data, but need to model it differently, such as in a decision tree. Decision trees are a useful tool for classifying observations into groups.

Lesson 19: Data Scientists or Doctors?

We can determine the usefulness of decision trees by comparing the number of misclassifications in each.

Lesson 20: Where Do I Belong?

We can identify groups, or “clusters,” in data based on a few characteristics. For example, it is easy to classify a classroom into males and females, but what if you only knew each student’s arm span? How well could you classify their genders now?

Lesson 21: Our Class Network

Networks are made when observations are interconnected. In a social setting, we can examine how different people are connected by finding relationships between other people in a network.