Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Journey from the Wolfram Data Science Boot Camp to Creative Data Analytics

Journey from the Wolfram Data Science Boot Camp to "Creative Data Analysis"

When I attended the 2019 Wolfram Data Science Boot Camp as an instructor, I had the pleasure of meeting Professor Fei Du and Davis Mo, the youngest Boot Camp alum to date. I don’t think any of us expected our conversations from the camp to grow into our collaboration on the book Creative Data Analytics: Computational Recipes to Gain Insights into Business.

Fast forward to this fall, and Professor Du is using Creative Data Analytics as the primary textbook in a new business data and innovation course in the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. This ebook has a project-based format with embedded apps for live computation and equivalent coding examples that require no prior coding experience.

Focus on New Insights from Data First, Then Computation

During Wolfram’s Data Science Boot Camp, each attendee is encouraged to choose a project that acts as a running theme for the 10-day camp. This often leads to more useful, specific discussions on how to apply computation to each person’s individual interests.

Creative Data Analytics leans into that idea even further. Professor Du describes the spirit of the embedded apps perfectly when she says, “Want to make something irresistible? Get to the fun part quickly.”

In each chapter, the fun part is posing a question to be answered through data analytics. Readers then use an embedded app to immediately start calculating results. This could be analysis of text, images, video or spreadsheet data.

For example, does McDonald’s use different website imagery for their different markets in the United States, Brazil and Indonesia? Chapter 2 has a mouse-driven application to get an immediate feel for these types of trends:

McDonald's international analysis

This interactivity is a primary reason the book is only available as an ebook. Each chapter is delivered in EnterpriseCDF, so these embedded apps run in the free Wolfram Player, Mathematica or Wolfram|One.

Computational Recipes to Spark Creativity

The mouse-driven apps are only the beginning of the journey. After exploring data through this specific lens, each chapter then outlines a computational recipe in Wolfram Language for that type of data analysis. Readers learn the building blocks in Wolfram Language to create their own unique analyses:

Excerpt from "Creative Data Analytics"

Those of you familiar with Wolfram Language know that you can arrive at very useful results with minimal coding, which is obviously helpful in the context of this book as well. The computational recipes are meant for novices to Wolfram Language or novices to coding in general.

Wolfram Language has a large scope, ranging from calculus to control theory to cryptography. Creative Data Analytics focuses on the areas of Wolfram Language most relevant for data analysis. While the projects focus on themes in business and accounting, the computational recipes can be used for data analysis across many fields and disciplines.

About the Authors

Professor Fei Du attended the 2019 Data Science Boot Camp with Davis Mo, who ended up being the camp’s youngest alum to date. Davis’s interest in math and computer science, as well as his being local to Urbana-Champaign, first led the two of them to the camp.

I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with both of them on this project, as well as the intermediate steps between the camp and publication of the book, spanning from July 2019 to March 2023. These steps included writing code, organizing these code segments into computational recipes, creating graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and refining the language for the business applications:

Steps of writing "Creative Data Analytics"

Wolfram Media as Publisher of Computational Books

When Professor Du first considered finding a publisher for the book, we talked about my experiences with Wolfram Media as a coauthor of the Hands-on Start books. It didn’t take us long to decide Wolfram Media would be a good publisher for Creative Data Analytics as well. In fact, Wolfram Media is an even better fit for Creative Data Analytics, which might have readers who are generally curious about what’s possible using modern computer language and who may initially read the book using Wolfram Player.

For those of you who are interested in the process of taking regular notebooks and turning them into an ebook, or obtaining a reviewer copy of Creative Data Analytics, please feel free to reach out to me at kelvin_mischo@wolfram.com. I’d be happy to share more about our experiences.

I hope this book helps you get more students, colleagues or friends interested in computation, or helps spark your own book ideas.

Find Creative Data Analytics: Computational Recipes to Gain Insights into Business and other Wolfram Language books from Wolfram Media.


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