When people learn that I am back in school, those that are genuinely interested want to know what I’m studying. Most begin to lose interest once I mention calculus (the single dirtiest word in academe), statistics, and computer science. For those few brave friends and acquaintances that really want to know, the next question is generally of the form, “What is Discovery Informatics?”. And, you know, I struggle to answer in a pithy, cogent way that describes a discipline that doesn’t yet “own” a universally accepted description. Even in our introductory class our professor began by telling us that there is not yet a common definition of the discipline. Which makes it kind of neat to be on the front edge of a process that is so intimately connected with society and technology and the future.
But, sometimes, examples help explain the process. Here is a little something that paints a picture of what part of Discovery Informatics might be…..
Bon-Ton stores recently mined 10 million customer records from its clothing stores nationwide and pulled a sample set of 100 million transactions. From that, it analyzed 200 separate factors, including what types of products customers bought, the associations between products in their shopping carts, and how many discounted products they purchased. The reason for all this data crunching: to create a model for direct-mail campaigns that could better predict which customers are likely to shop at a Bon-Ton store in the next 30 days.
Follow the link for more. Good stuff…..