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What is a software project worth?

An art even blacker than software cost estimation

Paul Houle

Creator of database animals and bayesian brains

January 03, 2014

In General

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Image credit: Tax Credits

Software estimation is frequently called a black art, yet the corresponding skill of estimating the value of software projects is even more obscure.

It's strange, because cost estimates don't make a lot of sense without value estimates to compare them to. It's clear that a $50,000 project that . . .

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Why does a data scientist need to know how to program?

"she's not your grandfather's statistician"

Paul Houle

Creator of database animals and bayesian brains

December 31, 2013

The "data scientist" title has arisen because we often find that people who are "data analysts" and "statisticians" don't have all the skills to maximize the value of their talents.

For instance, a data scientist typically works in an organization that has software development and a production system. The . . .

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Open Data Doesn't Discriminate

Non-commercial licenses are a barrier to Open Data

Paul Houle

Creator of database animals and bayesian brains

December 16, 2013

Kneecapping the competition

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Image credit: rearl

The biggest complain I've always had about the API economy is that most terms of service prevent people from building interesting apps. This issue came to a head for AOL a few weeks ago, when it demanded that Pro Populi stop using Crunchbase data in an iPhone App.

AOL didn't realize . . .

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Wikipedia Pagecounts in Amazon S3

Trends have never been this intelligent

Paul Houle

Creator of database animals and bayesian brains

December 05, 2013

Subjective Importance

For a long time I've been fascinated with the problem of subjective importance, that is, ranking topics by how much people think about them.

Two applications for this are particularly clear: (i) if you're selecting topics using typeahead search, you need some way to put popular topics towards the top and (ii) if . . .

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The Top Most Cited Books In Wikipedia

Obscure and usually expensive

Paul Houle

Creator of database animals and bayesian brains

December 03, 2013

Methods

One obvious application of databases such as DBpedia and Freebase is to use them as part of a bibliographic database, as Wikipedia topics could be used to classify books much the way that Library of Congress Subject Headings are used.

Freebase contains a property /book/written_work/subjects that links books to subjects, but it . . .

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True Semantic Advertising

Why unscramble eggs when you don't have to?

Paul Houle

Creator of database animals and bayesian brains

November 30, 2013

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The problem of contextual advertising.

All contextual ad vendors claim that their product is "semantic", in the sense that the matching algorithm is a bit smarter than keyword matching. Yet, these products are generally not based on the semantic web and RDF, where most of the concepts that we think about can be mapped to precisely . . .

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Financial Sentiment Fails to Predict the Stock Market

Is watching CNBC hazardous to your wealth?

Paul Houle

Creator of database animals and bayesian brains

November 24, 2013

FSI Snap

How it started

Last summer I was sitting in a hotel room in San Diego, watching CNBC, which is the channel I find most tolerable when I'm stuck watching cable.

I watch CNBC regularly at the gym and for months I'd seen the financial news and the markets seem to move independently of one another, an intuition that has held up . . .

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