Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Numerati

I love finals weeks. They are my kind of weeks. I think this is mostly because I don't stress out over exams. I look over the material, sure, but I learned long ago that math isn't something you can "catch up" on at the last minute, so I make sure I learn it as we go through classes. Then, when tests come, life is a whole lot easier.
It means I get to do other things this week. Yesterday I went ice skating with the A's (see next post). Tomorrow we're going to the Nutcracker. And today... aside from looking over geometry... I am reading The Numerati. Call me a nerd (one of my friends did) but I like math books. They motivate me.
The Numerati is about that classified group of employees that makes us into math. I had no idea what sort of industries were out there that blend computer science and mathematical analysis, but they range from political polls, to advertising, to matchmaking sites. The Numerati are the people that take all that data and feed back results to companies so they know what to do with it. For instance, Umbria Communications has computers that read millions of blogs just like this one, and read "customer reviews," along with targeting the demographic of the writer. They then send the information back to the company. So Canon knows I like my Rebel... now. They don't have to wait to check sales projections because blogs are updated constantly. Scary. There's a whole lot of scarier things in this book, but they're a little more complex than that example. I would recommend it to people who are interested in a mix of sociology, computer science, and statistics. There is a disappointedly little amount of math in it, for the title, other to say that math is used. Still, I find it interesting and a quick read. Back to geometry!

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