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Ranking Algorithms for Sports, Social Networks and More

Happy new year and welcome back to NYOSP meetups.  To begin the year we have Sean Taylor (author of the much talked about blog post on the Statistics Software Signal) discussing ranking algorithms.

About his talk:

Ranking elements from a set of objects is a common statistical problem with applications ranging from web search and recommendation systems to modeling individual preferences or social hierarchies.  We all know--and probably use--approaches such as PageRank or logistic regression to create orderings of objects.  In this talk, I will describe the formal learning problem involved in inferring rankings which minimize different loss functions.  We'll then take a helicopter tour through a few common ranking techniques and apply them to example ranking problems from sports, social networks, and information retrieval.  I will also spend some time discussing regularization and active learning in these contexts, as well as when ranking models provide a bad approximation of reality.

About Sean:

Sean J. Taylor is a 5th year PhD candidate at NYU's Stern School of Business.  His work combines randomized experiments and Bayesian statistics to learn about social influence processes in the online world.  In addition to his work at NYU, he has conducted research at The Wharton School, the US Federal Reserve Board, and most recently with Facebook's Data Science team.  In his spare time, he analyzes NFL data to win his fantasy football league and find reasons to be optimistic about the Eagles.

Even though he is an Eagles fan we'll still allow him to have pizza (starting at 6:15) and join us at the bar after the talk which will start around 7.

Join or login to comment.

  • Greg M.

    Sean mentioned, I think, that his slides were available online. Does anyone know what the link to the slides is?

    February 1, 2013

  • Shangxuan Vivian Z.

    I wished we can order pizza from PizzaChicago in palo alto,CA. Their pizza with "Gulf shrimp, garlic, red onions, capers, fresh dill" is the best I ever had. Sigh! Has anyone seen similar pizza in NYC?

    February 1, 2013

    • Ryan R.

      Never having tried PizzaChicago, I can't know if it compares in any way, but you might find something you like at Two Boots.

      February 1, 2013

  • Ritesh

    Sean was an awesome speaker who gave a sophisticated but accessible talk. He was good-natured about the repeated attempts to derail him with bizarre questions. More, more......

    February 1, 2013

  • Yoni B.

    Fun talk, and very well presented. :)

    For those Python users who are interested in running a league at their organization, I created this fun Ping Pong league app for Opower and open sourced it a while back. If your organization uses Google Apps, you can easily deploy this.

    Note that the app is currently skinned for a ping pong league, but the assets could easily be replaced with your own. In fact, that might be my next Innovation Day ( project.

    I implemented ELO and RPI (used by the NCAA Basketball) rankings, but I'd love to get a pull request for more ranking methods (The Eigenvector one seems fun). :)

    Fork me on Github:

    The ranking code, for those who just want to copy and paste :)

    February 1, 2013

  • Max K.

    Very good introduction to ranking algorithms and issues

    February 1, 2013

  • Alain L.

    Talk was very good and fun. What's the pizza link?

    February 1, 2013

    • Monica Q.

      February 1, 2013

    • Mat

      is free pizza anything but excellent?

      February 1, 2013

  • Richard D.

    Great presentation of some interesting research from a knowledgable practitioner

    January 31, 2013

  • Mehboob A.

    Very entertaining and instructive!

    January 31, 2013

  • Na'im T.

    I thought it was a good introduction to ranking algorithms. What was missing was how Sean computed the score of the future SuperBowl game. :p

    January 31, 2013

    • Rick S.

      It looked like every time one team out ranked the other, they scored a TD

      January 31, 2013

  • Shangxuan Vivian Z.

    Sean J Taylor's work on <The United States of Football> check this out

    January 31, 2013

  • Geert D.

    Meet and network tonight w/ Jared, Wes and many others at the meetup.

    We built an easy-to browse/search page for/with all attendees:

    Happy networking!

    January 31, 2013

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