Home Artificial Intelligence 12 Mental Models for Data Science Introduction 1. Garbage In, Garbage Out 2. Law of Large Numbers 3. Confirmation Bias 4. P-Hacking 5. Simpson’s Paradox 6. Pareto 80/20 rule 7. Occam’s Razor 8. Bias-Variance Tradeoff 9. Overfitting vs. Underfitting 10. The Long Tail 11. Bayesian Considering 12. No Free Lunch Theorem Conclusion Read these next … Watch this next…

12 Mental Models for Data Science Introduction 1. Garbage In, Garbage Out 2. Law of Large Numbers 3. Confirmation Bias 4. P-Hacking 5. Simpson’s Paradox 6. Pareto 80/20 rule 7. Occam’s Razor 8. Bias-Variance Tradeoff 9. Overfitting vs. Underfitting 10. The Long Tail 11. Bayesian Considering 12. No Free Lunch Theorem Conclusion Read these next … Watch this next…

12 Mental Models for Data Science
1. Garbage In, Garbage Out
2. Law of Large Numbers
3. Confirmation Bias
4. P-Hacking
5. Simpson’s Paradox
6. Pareto 80/20 rule
7. Occam’s Razor
8. Bias-Variance Tradeoff
9. Overfitting vs. Underfitting
10. The Long Tail
11. Bayesian Considering
12. No Free Lunch Theorem
Read these next …
Watch this next…

Powerful Concepts for Navigating the Data Science Landscape

Photo by Júnior Ferreira on Unsplash

Within the ever-evolving field of knowledge science, the raw technical skills to wrangle and analyze data is undeniably crucial to any data project. Apart from the technical and soft skill sets, an experienced data scientist may through the years develop a set of conceptual tools generally known as mental models to assist navigate them through the information landscape.

Not only are mental models helpful for data science, James Clear (writer of Atomic Habits) has done an important job of exploring how mental models may also help us think higher in addition to their utility to a wide selection of fields (business, science, engineering, etc.) on this article.

Just as a carpenter uses different tools for various tasks, an information scientist employs different mental models depending on the issue at hand. These models provide a structured method to problem-solving and decision-making. They permit us to simplify complex situations, highlight relevant information, and make educated guesses concerning the future.

This blog presents twelve mental models that will help 10X your productivity in data science. Particularly, we do that by illustrating how these models will be applied within the context of knowledge science followed by a brief explanation of every. Whether you’re a seasoned data scientist or a newcomer to the sector, understanding these models will be helpful in your practice of knowledge science.

Step one to any data evaluation is ensuring that the information you’re using is of top quality, as any conclusions you draw from it can be based on this data. As well as, this might mean that even probably the most sophisticated evaluation cannot compensate for poor-quality data. In a nutshell, this idea emphasizes that the standard of output is decided by the standard of the input. Within the context of working with data, the wrangling and pre-processing of a dataset would consequently help increase the standard of the information.

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After ensuring the standard of your data, the following step is usually to gather more of it. The Law of Large Numbers explains why having more data generally results in more accurate models. This principle suggests that as a sample size grows, its mean also gets closer to the typical of the entire population. This is key in data science since it underlies the logic of gathering more data to enhance the generalization and accuracy of the model.

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Once you’ve got your data, you’ve got to watch out about the way you interpret it. Confirmation Bias is a reminder to avoid just in search of data that supports your hypotheses and to think about all of the evidence. Particularly, confirmation bias refers back to the tendency to look for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses. In data science, it’s crucial to concentrate on this bias and to hunt down disconfirming evidence in addition to confirming evidence.

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That is one other vital concept to bear in mind throughout the data evaluation phase. This refers back to the misuse of knowledge evaluation to selectively find patterns in data that will be presented as statistically significant, thus resulting in incorrect conclusions. To place this visually, the identification of rare statistically significant results (either purposely or by probability) may selectively be presented. Thus, it’s vital to concentrate on this to make sure robust and honest data evaluation.

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This paradox is a reminder that once you’re data, it’s vital to think about how different groups may be affecting your results. It serves as a warning concerning the dangers of omitting context and never considering potential confounding variables. This statistical phenomenon occurs when a trend appears in several groups of knowledge but disappears or reverses when these groups are combined. This paradox will be resolved when causal relations are appropriately addressed.

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Once the information is known and the issue is framed, this model may also help prioritize which features to deal with in your model, because it suggests that a small variety of causes often result in a big proportion of the outcomes.

This principle suggests that for a lot of outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes. In data science, this might mean that a big portion of the predictive power of a model comes from a small subset of the features.

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This principle suggests that the best explanation is frequently the most effective one. If you start to construct models, Occam’s Razor suggests that you must favor simpler models once they perform in addition to more complex ones. Thus, it’s a reminder to not overcomplicate your models unnecessarily.

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This mental model describes the balance that should be struck between bias and variance, that are the 2 sources of error in a model. Bias is an error brought on by simplifying a posh problem to make it easier for the machine learning model to know that consequently results in underfitting. Variance is an error resulting from the model’s overemphasis on specifics of the training data that consequently results in overfitting. Thus, the precise balance of model complexity to attenuate the full error (a mixture of bias and variance) will be achieved through a tradeoff. Particularly, reducing bias tends to extend variance and vice versa.

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This idea ties closely to the Bias-Variance Tradeoff and helps further guide the tuning of your model’s complexity and its ability to generalize to latest data.

Overfitting occurs when a model is excessively complex and learns the training data too well thereby reducing its effectiveness on latest, unseen data. Underfitting happens when a model is simply too easy to capture the underlying structure of the information thereby causing poor performance on each training and unseen data.

Thus, a very good machine learning model might be achieved by finding the balance between overfitting and underfitting. As an illustration, this might be achieved through techniques corresponding to cross-validation, regularization and pruning.

Long tail will be seen in distributions corresponding to the Pareto distribution or the facility law, where a high frequency of low-value events and a low frequency of high-value events will be observed. Understanding these distributions will be crucial when working with real-world data, as many natural phenomena follow such distributions.

For instance, in social media engagement, a small variety of posts receive nearly all of likes, shares, or comments, but there’s an extended tail of posts that gets fewer engagements. Collectively, this long tail can represent a significant slice of overall social media activity. This brings attention to the importance and potential of the less popular or rare events, which could otherwise be ignored if one only focuses on the “head” of the distribution.

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Bayesian considering refers to a dynamic and iterative technique of updating our beliefs based on latest evidence. Initially, we’ve got a belief or a “prior,” which gets updated with latest data, forming a revised belief or “posterior.” This process continues as more evidence is gathered, further refining our beliefs over time. In data science, Bayesian considering allows for learning from data and making predictions, often providing a measure of uncertainty around these predictions. This adaptive belief system that open to latest information, will be applied not only in data science but additionally to our on a regular basis decision-making as well.

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The No Free Lunch theorem asserts that there isn’t any single machine learning algorithm that excels in solving every problem. In consequence, it’s important to know the unique characteristics of every data problem, as there isn’t a universally superior algorithm. Consequently, data scientists experiment with quite a lot of models and algorithms to seek out probably the most effective solution by considering aspects corresponding to the complexity of the information, available computational resources, and the particular task at hand. The concept will be regarded as a toolbox stuffed with tools, where each representing a special algorithm, and the expertise lies in choosing the precise tool (algorithm) for the precise task (problem).

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These models provide a sturdy framework for every of the steps of a typical data science project, from data collection and preprocessing to model constructing, refinement, and updating. They assist navigate the complex landscape of data-driven decision-making, enabling us to avoid common pitfalls, prioritize effectively and make informed selections.

Nonetheless, it’s essential to do not forget that no single mental model holds all of the answers. Each model is a tool, and like all tools, they’re handiest when used appropriately. Particularly, the dynamic and iterative nature of knowledge science signifies that these models are usually not simply applied in a linear fashion. As latest data becomes available or as our understanding of an issue evolves, we may loop back to earlier steps to use different models and adjust our strategies accordingly.

Ultimately, the goal of using these mental models in data science is to extract precious insights from data, create meaningful models and make higher decisions. By doing so, we are able to unlock the complete potential of knowledge science and use it to drive innovation, solve complex problems, and create a positive impact in various fields (e.g. bioinformatics, drug discovery, healthcare, finance, etc.).



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