Project Botticelli

Black Friday & Azure ML

Black Friday Weekend 2015

I am happy to join the now global phenomenon of this weekend’s promotions—please accept 18% discount on the price of all of our memberships, including group memberships, until Wednesday, 2nd Dec. Use code BLACKCYBER2015 at checkout. We rarely offer a discount greater than 10%, so go ahead, enjoy!

Azure ML Boosted Decision Trees Visualisers

Boosted Decision Trees VisualiserMicrosoft have introduced quite a few updates to Azure Machine Learning in the last few weeks (and pretty much every month since the launch). The most recent one, and one greatly appreciated by this data miner/scientist, is the addition of Boosted Decision Tree visualisations. I am a big believer that a data model that we can understand and see is worth more than a blackbox approach. The excellent, interactive visualisations of the plain CART decision trees that we have in SQL Server Analysis Services are still some of the best available on the market. So I have been asking my friends at Microsoft to give us something similar in Azure ML. Some of my clients have a legal duty to explain how an algorithm, or their computer system, makes a decision. Not being able to understand the “why” is a blocker to the adoption of advanced analytics for these, and other organisations, not to mention the technology trust it prevents from being built.

Of course, visualising a hundred trees created by the boosted algorithm is not easy, and even seeing all of them is not going to make things crystal clear, but it is a first step. I hope Microsoft improve this visualiser so it loads faster, please. But I also hope that they add more, also important visualisations, such as: cluster diagrams, profiles, discrimination charts and so on—many of which I explain in my data mining with SQL online course.

Practical Data Science

I have just delivered the 6th week of teaching of my Practical Data Science with Cortana, SQL, and R course. I have met many of you, and I have learned a lot about the way you plan to use data science for work. As there clearly is demand for more such training, I will be adding more dates to the schedule—we have already added a new May 2016 date in Chicago, and I hope to return to UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden and perhaps a couple other countries, in 2016. I will let you know about it in this newsletter when the dates are ready, and the course has been updated with all the new stuff that is coming in 2016.

Enjoy the holidays (if you celebrate) and have a peaceful and an enjoyable weekend,


Rafal Lukawiecki, Strategic Consultant and Director, Project Botticelli Ltd

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