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DePaul University To Offer Degree In Predictive Analysis 71

itwbennett writes "The Chicago-based DePaul University will offer what it says is the nation's first master's degree in predictive analysis, the school announced on Wednesday in conjunction with IBM, which will provide resources for the program. 'We realized there was a need to create a program that prepared students in careers in data analytics and business intelligence,' said Raffaella Settimi, an associate professor at DePaul's College of Computing and Digital Media, who helped craft the program. 'A lot of the professionals who work in these fields have a variety of backgrounds, but there really isn't a program dedicated to data analytics,' Settimi said."
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DePaul University To Offer Degree In Predictive Analysis

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  • by line-bundle ( 235965 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @09:24AM (#32601318) Homepage Journal

    Did they predict their own success?

    • I hear the market for these jobs is great in Italy.

    • by tuomoks ( 246421 )

      No, because there is not yet a tool to do that. What I'm afraid, again - see this : "It will focus on hands-on use of applications"!

      Instead of teaching how to think, maybe how and why to create these applications, they will teach how to use tools and toys? IMHO that's a real problem today, especially in IT - all these courses how to use tools and toys, operators, certified to push a button! What has happened to teaching how to think, how to create? At least a long time ago, business analysis needed a good b

    • All I have to say is that I saw this one coming a mile away.
  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @09:27AM (#32601342) Homepage Journal

    tarot cards
    dream interpretation ...

    • by gwayne ( 306174 )

      You forgot Feng Shui, you insensitive clod!

    • Religion...

    • Afaik, DePaul University is a Catholic pseudo-degree mill. So they'll use just use papal infallibility.

      As others have observed, they have basically just added some calculous courses onto a standard low-level liberal arts degree. You'll fair far better hiring any math major with half was decent grades from any upper level state school.

  • In Other Word: (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward


    Yours In Chicago,
    Kilgore Trout

    • Re:In Other Word: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by srussia ( 884021 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @09:38AM (#32601452)


      As Feynman might have said, Statistics is to Predictive Analytics as Mathematics is to Physics.

    • by proc_tarry ( 704097 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @11:38AM (#32602944)

      I went to DePaul and got an MS in Applied Statistics. I also work for a marketing company doing "predictive analytics". (I really don't like that term. It degrades the importance of understanding the relationship between independent and dependent variables, and places more emphasis on dependent variable fit. You can have a highly accurate model, but if marketers don't understand how their efforts affect sales the model is worthless.)

      At DePaul one series of classes was mostly math theory, the remaining classes were 100% about "predictive analytics", i.e. using a computer to build statistical models. It used a more traditional approach to applied statistics with "topical" classes: sampling, forecasting, design & analysis of experiments, nonparametric statistics, Monte Carlo simulation, multivariate statistics, etc.

      The statistics program is part of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in the math department. This new program is in the computer science department (which has its own college). The program ( looks like a hybrid of CS, Stats & Marketing. It includes a class in neural networks which most stats programs lack, but again, this focuses on "prediction" instead of "inference", which is less useful to marketers. (Neural networks is a highly valuable topic. Just not as much in this field.) Also, the program lacks pure programming classes, which there is A LOT of in this field (data never comes in formats ready to model). Most is done in SAS or R, but any programming language teaching basic concepts (variables, logic, arrays, loops, functions) is useful.

  • by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @09:33AM (#32601404) Journal

    and I predict this will be FIRST POST!!!!

    (yes, I did get a D- average... how did you know?)

  • by Elbowgeek ( 633324 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @09:33AM (#32601406) Journal

    I got a notice saying the courses had been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances...

    • Sorry to hear that. They mailed me my master's degree out of the blue, because apparently I'm going to be joining the university and earning it in the next decade. Haha, now I don't have to, suckers!
  • statistics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by flynt ( 248848 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @09:34AM (#32601420)

    There are, however, many quality degree programs in Statistics. As someone who went through one of them, you can largely choose your own mix of theory and practice. I wonder if this isn't just statistics rebranded? I hope it doesn't concentrate too much on certain proprietary software packages. Statistics is like anything else. You can easily produce a bunch of numbers and compile massive books of tables and graphics. But if you don't know the assumptions of each of your methods, and consequently their shortcomings in each situation, you can draw some fairly bad conclusions rather quickly. I just hope this program gives a solid background in theoretical statistical inference, experimental design, and regression analysis, so students understand the 'why'.

    • I looked at the site and it's basically a math degree which requires calculus and some statistics. I don't think this degree in specific would be worth the money unless you really have a passion for math.

    • Sounds like mostly statistics, with a side of marketing and IT (and selling itself as something like operations research).

  • A.K.A. Applied Statistics
  • 'We realized there was a need to create a program that prepared students in careers in data analytics and business intelligence,' said Raffaella Settimi, an associate professor at DePaul's College of Computing and Digital Media, who helped craft the program.

    It has got to be right up there with military intelligence and giant ants.

  • Will it be taught by Nostredumbass?
  • wha? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spikenerd ( 642677 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @09:42AM (#32601476)
    I have an M.S. in predictive analytics, and I'm only months away from my Ph.D. These guys didn't do much research.
    • Re:wha? (Score:5, Funny)

      by e2d2 ( 115622 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @10:05AM (#32601704)

      I'm a bit dismayed that you didn't see this coming.

    • What school are you attending? I googled the terms and didn't come up with much?

      • After reading the article, I think I may have spoken a little too quickly ...maybe. My degree is related to data mining. The article says predictive analytics is the last step of data mining. While that's technically true, the other steps are things like "find out what data is available", "understand its context", and "gather the data". There's not really much to study for those steps that an intelligent person wouldn't assume anyway, so it's all focused on building predictive models and using them to drive
    • Re:wha? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cerberusss ( 660701 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @10:14AM (#32601820) Homepage Journal

      I have an M.S. in predictive analytics, and I'm only months away from my Ph.D.

      Knowing some Ph.D.'s, that's a pretty bold prediction :D

    • So you what sort of things do you model in predictive analytics? What kind of methods do you use? How reliable are your predictions? I majored in mathematics with an emphasis in probability theory, and I have an interest in machine learning, so please don't refrain from any technical details/jargon you might offer in helping me to understand the nature of this field.
  • is anything to do with discovering your predictive algorithm fails.
  • This could be very popular with Italian Geologists [].
  • The quality of their product is well known in Chicago.

    • by jrade ( 1522777 )
      I live in Chicago and had two friends go to DePaul. One was in an accelerated program that was a joke to say the most. It is all about MONEY.
      • by cslax ( 1215816 )
        Yes, sometimes they do have programs that are very easy to go through quickly. However, if you get a good advisor (which CDM has, more often than not) you can substitute more classes and in turn, get more knowledge in useful areas. They do (at least for CS) have a lot of professors who teach fun independent studies and seminar classes.
    • by treeves ( 963993 )

      and the quality of their product, Chicago (the band), is quite well known. Those guys went to school there.
      So did my father-in-law.
      Blue Devils.

  • Math will prove that civilization is coming to a new dark age. We must compile encyclopedia galactica to reduce this period of ignorance so that Foundation may return.
    • Exactly the same thing I thought. Where do you sign up for the second foundation?
      /we are all just pawns of a robot with ESP.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by RivenAleem ( 1590553 )

        If you have not already been contacted to take part, it is because it had been mathematically determined that you would provide no useful input.

  • So this will pump out the cubicle critters to run systems like,_INDECT_Work_Package_4,_2009 [] and
    The only question is why do they need to make such bold public push for future workers? Hard to tap the shoulder of an entire graduating class for a private chat?
    Fusion centres a growth sector in the USA?
    NSA shifts to e-mail, Web, data-mining dragnet
    http://ne []
  • by Herkum01 ( 592704 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @10:56AM (#32602364)

    I think that this is best guide to how the market analysts actually predicted anything on Wall Street

    The code of the schoolyard, Marge! The rules that teach a boy to be a man. Let's see. Don't tattle. Always make fun of those different from you. Never say anything, unless you're sure everyone feels exactly the same way you do.

    Tune in the Marketwatch a few times and see if I am wrong...

  • Programs like this essentially boil down to training to interpret (using this word generously here) statistical results, without a solid understanding of statistics.

    Anyone smart enough to be entrustable with this kind of stuff, should be smart and willing enough to learn real statistics. Unfortunately this would require more commitment than our "fluid" and deskilled labor market can tolerate. We all pay for this.

  • Queueing Systems (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Conchobair ( 1648793 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @11:27AM (#32602760)
    Get your Astrology and Fortune telling jokes out of the way, but it's not really hard to use predictive analysis and come out to be very accurate (within 3%). You are not always going to hit it on the head, but it's very easy to get close. There are patterns in everything people do and while there will always be outliers for the most part behavior follows basic patterns or cycles, although these may change over time.

    It's important to be predictive in anything that involves a queuing system, such as a sales website or where a lot of the theory got its start in telephone calls []. Really it applies to anything where people try to do the same thing at once that requires resources for the company to allocate. It can be the difference between success (Blizzcon ticket queue never crashed out) and failure (iPhone 4G). Especially with more people trying to access the same thing at once on the internet, this sort of analysis of how many resources to allocate efficiently is going to be more important. You don't want to allocate too much due to costs, but you can't do too little otherwise your customers suffer.

    Yeah, it’s a lot like statistics, but it's going from 'What Happened?' to 'How and why did it happen?' and from 'What is happening now?' to 'What's the next best action?'.
  • I already have qualifications in the field of dead reckoning.

    I reckon that if I took this course, I would get an A.

  • Perhaps this will lead to Hari Seldon's psychohistory.

  • They're several years too late. The market for Wall Street "quants" has collapsed.

  • Being from their cross-town rival I almost hate to say this, but DePaul has been at the forefront of this sort of program for some time. Back in the late '80's or early '90's they introduced a master's degree in applied mathematics that contained an in-depth study of all of the material customarily found in a quantitatively-oriented MBA degree, with some additional courses that were somewhat more oriented toward the theory behind that basic core.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder what Nassim Taleb would say about this degree?

    He would probably point out that it amounts to an advanced degree in practical fraud perpetuation.

    Standard Gaussian statistics cannot accurately predict anything that matters.

  • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) * on Thursday June 17, 2010 @03:38PM (#32605830) Homepage Journal
    Are the guys teaching this stuff the same ones that failed to predict the financial bubble?

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann