Project Botticelli

New BI Content (April 2013)

Decision Trees: Learn Classification, Regression, and Associative Analysis

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What Are Decision Trees?

Rafal explains a simple decision tree using Excel

A decision tree is a tree of nodes. Each node represents a value of one of your inputs that makes the most profound difference to the output that you wish to study. In this short, free, 10-minute video I introduce this powerful analytical tool in an easy way, by explaining the concepts while analysing a simple set of retail data in the demo, using Excel 2013 and the free Data Mining Add-ins, which connect it to SQL Server data mining engine.

Decision Trees in Depth

Working with Decision Trees using SQL Server Data Tools 2012

After you have watched the above, brief intro to Decision Trees, you might get hooked on their power. In this pretty deep video of almost 2 hours, I introduce three different ways to build the trees using Excel and the very new, just-introduced SQL Server Data Tools 2012. I explain the differences between flattened-data (or case-level) trees, associative trees, which use nested cases, and regressive trees, which are a powerful form of numerical modelling of continuous values, useful for many applications, including price elasticity simulations, profit, or sales predictions, and you will even hear what is linear regression. Naturally, I explain how the trees work, and we finish the module with a look at the parametrisation of trees. If you ever wanted to know what is SCORE_METHOD and what does Bayesian Dirichlet Equivalent with Uniform Prior stand for, buckle up your stamina, or use the Jump to a chapter links on the video page to go to any section of this tutorial, instantly. I think you will like decision trees (who wouldn't?) as they are easy to use, simple to interpret, very fast to run, and provide a wealth of knowledge about useful things hiding in your data. If you are new to data mining and machine learning, make sure to watch the remaining tutorial in our data mining course, and download Happy Cars, our sample data set for mining.

News (Pretty Cool, Read On!)

I am ahead of my schedule, and I am sending this newsletter to you 3 days early, so that you can use the spring break holiday weekend (autumn if you are in the southern hemisphere) to learn some serious, but easy, and practical data mining. Also, if you missed my previous newsletter, make sure to find out about Geospatial Data Exploration with Excel Power View and SharePoint, or, if you had not attended my current roadshow, learn how to do Microsoft Business Analytics with Office 2013, SharePoint 2013 and SQL Server 2012.

The biggest news that I wanted to share with you, is really a bit of a leaked secret. If you have not seen this video, which someone leaked this week, make sure you have a peek before it has been taken down: Project Analyze, which uses Microsoft's still-secret research that enables Excel to understand natural language requests and analytical queries, and, well, do them for you! If you ever wanted to just tell Excel "Add the base pay to the overtime pay," "Who has pay larger than average," or "Is my profitability better in the new markets?" it will understand your intent, based also on what you used to ask of it in the past, parse it, and build a small analytical program for you, run it, and show you the results. Bear in mind, much of this analytics is helped by the rapidly growing brain-in-the-cloud, hence the power. Yes, the future of something like Siri for Excel is coming—but when? I am very excited about it, because whatever Microsoft does, both good or somewhat odd, in its recent days, this is just one proof that I needed to share with you that this venerable company is innovating in the core areas that it understands well: Excel is used by 500 million users worldwide, and this can bring BI and analytics to the next billion users. In the meantime, you do the mining.

Holiday Promotion: 15% Off for 2 Weeks Only!

Our analytics tells me that some of you may want to study and learn during this holiday weekend. If you are not a Full Access Member, or if you would like to extend your existing membership, simply use code SPRING2013AUTUMN for a rare 15% discount, but hurry, this offer is valid for 2 weeks only, and it will expire on Sunday, April 14. It is valid for individual memberships only, not group memberships (but those have already been discounted). 

Thanks for reading, and enjoy your break, if you have one. I am travelling to attend two amazing photographic workshops, one in New Mexico, and the other in California, and I will be offline for two weeks—yeah! But if you want to know about that, you would have to visit my personal web site, which has nothing to do with BI...

Rafal Lukawiecki, Strategic Consultant and Director, Project Botticelli Ltd

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