Being a guest of the Data Science Phil podcast

Not long ago, I was interviewed for the Data Science Phil podcast. I had prepared excitedly with three subjects for discussion: the German tank problem, capture-mark-recapture, and the Fermi problem. These are methods to estimate population sizes from very scarce data. They can be used in diverse settings, including business intelligence.

Data Science Phil is Philipp Packmohr‘s alias for his podcast. In it, he covers subjects from data analysis, mathematical modelling and statistics. He interviews students and professors, and asks them to talk about their projects and areas of expertise.

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Asset management, but not the kind you think

We have been discussing with a colleague how it would be possible to automatically detect all potholes in large road networks. Last week at the INTERGEO exhibition, I discovered three companies which offer this service. In this market survey, I summarise what I found out about them.

I returned last week from the 25th INTERGEO trade show from Stuttgart. INTERGEO combines a trade fair with a conference over three days. It claims to be the world’s largest event for geodesy, geoinformation and land management. It is held in a different city of Germany every year.

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What do you do against ocean plastic pollution? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I am developing an artificial intelligence solution that detects floating plastic in the sea in freely available satellite images. As I am doing this in a voluntary capacity, if you have better financial means than I, then I encourage you to consider donating to the project. The below photo is also `for sale’ (available for licencing at a maximum resolution of 1000×1500 pixels). While I describe the technical side of the project over there on the fundraiser page, here the focus is on how we stand with plastic pollution.
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Statistical estimation by imitation

Parameter estimation in a subcritical percolation model with colouring, or cross-contamination rate estimation for microfluidics

We have just published a research paper1 about a nice combination of statistics and applied probability theory. The story opens with a novel mathematical model to quantify unwanted cross-contamination within lab-on-a-chip microfluidic devices. We apply the method of simulated moments (MSM) to estimate the parameters of the model. This method uses computer simulation with many different parameter proposals until the simulated data is close enough to the observed data. Our main contribution is that we prove the statistical consistency (`correctness’) of this method. Proving that the estimate will converge with probability 1 to the true parameter value as the sample size tends to infinity was a challenge because of the dependence among our random sample’s variables.

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The price of moving to permanent summertime

The result of the European Commission’s Public Consultation on summertime arrangements was released today. In my opinion European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are reading too much into the non-binding and non-representative result. At this point, the realistic question to formulate would be: a) would you accept a time zone boundary splitting Western Europe as the price of ending the biannual clock changes, or b) do you prefer the current arrangement?

The consultation

The European Commission held a public consultation from 4th July until 16th August (6 weeks) to find out what the European citizens and stakeholders thought about the current system of daylight saving time. I really wonder if they achieved their goal.Continue reading “The price of moving to permanent summertime”