Kaiser Fung: How to do Statistics Without Really Doing Statistics?

June 24, 2013

Fung, the author of Numbers Rule Your World and the forthcoming Numbersense, and creator of the Junk Charts blog, demonstrates that statistical thinking can be picked up with almost no mathematics. This course equips students with the necessary knowledge to deconstruct data analyses, a skill that is becoming crucial in the era of Big Data. Some of the topics covered include how statistical models work, understanding the accuracy of predictions, how statistics are used to make decisions, using conditional probabilities and Bayes Rule, different methods of data collection, and the use and abuse of statistical adjustments. Examples are drawn from a variety of fields including business, medicine, sports, and education. For those who have formal training in mathematics, this course offers a fresh perspective on statistics as it is practiced.


3-Nighter Schedule

Night 1 Statistical models

Learn how to interpret statistical models without building one. Discover the differences between models of correlation and models of cause--effect. Learn why policing algorithms is a tricky matter. Discover what's behind your credit score. Learn how investigators figure out the source of E.coli infections.

Night 2 Data and decisions

Study how statistics and data are used to make decisions. Examine the impact of uncertainty on decision-making. Use conditional probabilities and Bayes rule. Learn how doping athletes pass hundreds of steroids tests. Discover the statistics of mammograms. Discover what happens when you click the Spam/Not Spam buttons in your webmail.

Night 3 Numbersense

Learn two tenets of "Numbersense". Discover the importance of knowing how data is collected, and how data is processed. Study the basics of statistical sampling. Learn what the real Law of Large Numbers is. Learn why raw data is dangerous. Discover how statistical adjustments work.


About the Instructor(s)

Kaiser Fung is Vice President of Business Intelligence and Analytics at Vimeo. He was previously Vice President of Strategic Analytics at SiriusXM Radio, and has extensive experience in applying statistical methods to real-world problems at financial, telecom, and media companies. He is also adjunct professor at New York University, teaching practical statistics to managers. He is author of Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Probability and Statistics on Everything You Do, and Numbersense: How to Use Big Data to Your Advantage (both from McGraw-Hill). He is also the creator of the popular Junk Charts blog, and an advocate of clear, effective graphical presentation of data. He holds degrees in engineering, statistics and business from Princeton, Cambridge and Harvard Universities.