The utilization of computer models for complex real-world processes requires addressing Uncertainty Quantification (UQ). Corresponding issues range from inaccuracies in the models to uncertainty in the parameters or intrinsic stochastic features.
This Summer school will expose students in the mathematical and statistical sciences to common challenges in developing, evaluating and using complex computer models of processes. It is essential that the next generation of researchers be trained on these fundamental issues too often absent of traditional curricula.
Participants will receive not only an overview of the fast developing field of UQ but also specific skills related to data assimilation, sensitivity analysis and the statistical analysis of rare events.
Theoretical concepts and methods will be illustrated on concrete examples and applications from both nuclear engineering and climate modeling.
The main lecturers are:
Dan Cacuci (N.C. State University): data assimilation and applications to nuclear engineering
Dan Cooley (Colorado State University): statistical analysis of rare events
This short course will introduce the current statistical practice for analyzing extreme events. Statistical practice relies on fitting distributions suggested by asymptotic theory to a subset of data considered to be extreme. Both block maximum and threshold exceedance approaches will be presented for both the univariate and multivariate cases.
Doug Nychka (NCAR): data assimilation and applications in climate modeling
Climate prediction and modeling do not incorporate geophysical data in the sequential manner as weather forecasting and comparison to data is typically based on accumulated statistics, such as averages. This arises because a climate model matches the state of the Earth’s atmosphere and ocean “on the average” and so one would not expect the detailed weather fluctuations to be similar between a model and the real system. An emerging area for climate model validation and improvement is the use of data assimilation to scrutinize the physical processes in a model using observations on shorter time scales. The idea is to find a match between the state of the climate model and observed data that is particular to the observed weather. In this way one can check whether short time physical processes such as cloud formation or dynamics of the atmosphere are consistent with what is observed.
Dongbin Xiu (Purdue University): sensitivity analysis and polynomial chaos for differential equations
This lecture will focus on numerical algorithms for stochastic simulations, with an emphasis on the methods based on generalized polynomial chaos methodology. Both the mathematical framework and the technical details will be examined, along with performance comparisons and implementation issues for practical complex systems.
The main lectures will be supplemented by discussion sessions and by presentations from UQ practitioners from both the Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories.
Here is an interview with Karen Lopez who has worked in data modeling for almost three decades and is a renowned data management expert in her field.
Data professionals need to know about the data domain in addition to the data structure domain – Karen Lopez
Ajay- Describe your career in science. How would you persuade younger students to take more science courses.
Karen- I’ve always had an interest in science and I attribute that to the great science teachers I had. I studied information systems at Purdue University though a unique program that focuses on systems analysis and computer technologies. I’m one of the few who studied data and process modeling in an undergraduate program 25+ years ago.
I believe that it is very important that we find a way of attracting more scientists to teach. In both the natural and computer sciences, it’s difficult for institutions to tempt scientists away from professional positions that offer much greater compensation. So I support programs that find ways to make that happen.
Ajay- If you had to give advice to a young person starting their career in BI and had to give them advice in just three points – what would they be?
Karen- Wow. It’s tough to think of just three things, but these are recommendations that I make often:
– Remember that every design decision should be made based on cost, benefit, and risk. If you can’t clearly describe these for every side of a decision, then you aren’t doing design; you are guessing.
– No one beside you is responsible for advancing your skills and keeping an eye on emerging practices. Don’t expect your employer to lay out a career plan that is in your best interest. That’s not their job. Data professionals need to know about the data domain in addition to the data structure domain. The best database or data warehouse design in the world is worse than uses useless if the how the data is processed is wrong. Remember to expand your knowledge about data, not just the data structures and tools.
– All real-world work involves collaboration and negotiation. There is no one right answer that works for every situation. Building your skills in these areas will pay off significantly.
Ajay- What do you think is the best way for a technical consultant and client to be on the same page regarding requirements. Which methodology or template have you used, and which has given you the most success.
Karen- While I’m a huge fan of modeling (data modeling and other modeling), I still think that giving clients a prototype or mockup of something that looks real to them goes a long way. We need to build tools and competencies to develop these prototypes quickly. It’s a lost art in the data world.
Ajay- What are the special incentives that make Canada a great place for tech entrepreneurs rather than say go to the United States. ( Note- Disclaimer I have family in Canada and study in the US)
Karen- I prefer not to think of this as an either-or decision. I immigrated to Canada from the US about 15 years ago, but most of our business is outside of Canada. I have enjoyed special incentives here in Canada for small businesses as well as special programs that allowed me to work in Canada as a technical professional before I moved here permanently.
Overall, I have found Canadian employers more open to sponsoring foreign workers and it is easier for them to do so than what my US clients experience. Having said that, a significant portion of my work over the last few years has been on global projects where we leverage online collaboration tools to meet our goals. The advent of these tools has made it much easier to work from wherever I am and to work with others regardless of their visa statuses.
Where a company forms is less tied to where one lives or works these days.
Ajay- Could you tell us more about the Zachman framework (apart from the wikipedia reference)? A practical example on how you used it on an actual project would be great.
There are many misunderstandings about John’s intent, such as the myth that he requires big upfront modeling (he doesn’t), that the Framework is a methodology (it isn’t), or that it can only be used to build computer systems (it can be used for more than that).
I have used the Zachman Framework to develop a joint Business-IT Strategic Information Systems Plan as well as to inventory and track progress of multi-project programs. One interesting use was a paper I authored for the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) on how various educational programs, specializations, and certifications map to the Zachman Framework. I later developed a presentation about this mapping for a Zachman conference.
For a specific project, the Zachman Framework allows business to understand where their enterprise assets are being managed – and how well they are managed. It’s not an IT thing; it’s an enterprise architecture thing.
Ajay- What does Karen Lopez do for fun when not at work, traveling, speaking or blogging.
Karen- Sometimes it seems that’s all I do. I enjoy volunteering for IT-related organizations such as DAMA and CIPS. I participate in the accreditation of college and university educational programs in Canada and abroad. As a member of data-related standards bodies, namely the Association for Retail Technology Standards and the American Dental Association, I help develop industry standard data models. I’ve also been a spokesperson for a CIPS program to encourage girls to take more math and science courses throughout their student careers so that they may have access to great opportunities in the future.
I like to think of myself as a runner; last year I completed my first half marathon, which I’d never thought was possible. I am studying Hindi and Sanskrit. I’m also a addicted to reading and am thankful that some of it I actually get paid to do.
Karen López is a Senior Project Manager at InfoAdvisors, Inc. Karen is a frequent speaker at DAMA conferences and DAMA Chapters. She has 20+ years of experience in project and data management on large, multi-project programs. Karen specializes in the practical application of data management principles. Karen is also the ListMistress and moderator of the InfoAdvisors Discussion Groups at http://www.infoadvisors.com. You can reach her at www.twitter.com/datachick