Thursday, October 14, 2010

World Statistics Day Meets Toronto Data Mining

Sometimes, if we step back and take a moment, it's easy to appreciate how disambiguous the universe can be. As many statisticians will tell you, synchronicity occurs all the time in the world around us: unique cause and effect layers upon unique cause and effect, weaving a complex tapestry of correlation and interaction between seemingly disparate variables. I've often felt the thrill and shiver of discovery when exploring data in this way... and I find that the same principle can be happily applied to next week's Toronto Data Mining Forum.

As you might imagine, planning user group meetings requires a lot of thought and collboration in particular around logistical issues such as dates, times and venues. Planning for this fall season actually began in June! I can assure all of you that while I would LOVE to take credit for having had the foresight to suggest that October 20th - World Statistics Day - was the ideal day for a data mining symposium, but sadly, I cannot. There's that conspiratorial universe again... and this truly is a fortunate accident of synchronicity. Who better to celebrate World Statistics Day with than a room full of some of the best and brightest data miners in the greater Toronto area?

The date and sense of occasion play a distant second in terms of the most compelling of reasons forattending this meeting. As you can see here on the Toronto Data Mining Forum webpage (an opportunity to register for free appears with the agenda), we have a topical and intriguing morning of data mining-themed discussion to be delivered to you for your digestion!

Many of you may be aware that the Government of Canada recently made a decision to repeal the mandatory long-form census. As data miners, this must raise some eyebrows in concern and cause cold sweats to break out on a few foreheads. What will be the ultimate outcome: will we see no negligible change in the quality and amount of public data? Or, will this have negative effects on planning for social assistance programs, sociodemographically-reliant programs, marketing campaigns, and other data-driven initiatives? How about the health industry: will this impact their ability to administer programs and processes which are heavily data-driven? It's an exciting topic which I think lends itself extremely well to this forum.

I'm very pleased to announce that we'll have a very strong panel of senior data miners to help explore this topic. Featuring representatives of the financial services, marketing intelligence, health and business analytics verticals, I'm really, REALLY excited to listen in! I hope that you'll be able to join us and lend your voice and opinions to the conversation as well.

In addition to the panel discussion, I'm also thrilled that Obaid Rahman of Intact Insurance will be giving the group some insight into how statistics are used in the insurance industry. We don't often have insurance-based talks at our user group meetings, so don't miss this presentation. Finally, Victor Zurkowski will be referencing some of his own work at one of the major banks in his presentation on maximizing net lift and return.

I'll be in Hamilton tomorrow for their user group meeting and reporting back on it shortly. I do hope that the amazing synchronicity which happily married the Toronto Data Mining Forum with World Statistics Day also means that you and I will connect on October 20th as well!

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