Szilard Pafka

No-Bullshit Data Science

Chief Scientist at Epoch


Szilard studied Physics in the 90s in Budapest and has obtained a PhD by using statistical methods to analyze the risk of financial portfolios. Next he has worked in finance quantifying and managing market risk. A decade ago he moved to California to become the Chief Scientist of a credit card processing company doing what now is called data science (data munging, analysis, modeling, visualization, machine learning etc). He is the founder/organizer of several data science meetups in Santa Monica, and he is also a visiting professor at CEU in Budapest, where he teaches data science in the Masters in Business Analytics program.

While extracting business value from data has been performed by practitioners for decades, the last several years have seen an unprecedented amount of hype in this field. This hype has created not only unrealistic expectations in results, but also glamour in the usage of the newest tools assumably capable of extraordinary feats. In this talk I will apply the much needed methods of critical thinking and quantitative measurements (that data scientists are supposed to use daily in solving problems for their companies) to assess the capabilities of the most widely used software tools for data science. I will discuss in details two such analyses, one concerning the size of datasets used for analytics and the other one regarding the performance of machine learning software used for supervised learning.

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