6 thoughts on “The Rise of the Data Scientist [From Flowing Data]

  1. agent based models/computational models > closed form analytical models

    This seems way too strong. There are lots of well-known problem with agent based/computational models too, like extreme sensitivity to initial conditions and general opacity and lack of generality. Why not the more moderate “there’s a time and a place for each sort of modeling?”

    1. Maybe that is too much… I made an edit. It is often an issue which is rarely ever discussed. In observing the presentation of a formal model…I very rarely hear a discussion of the impact of dependancy, heterogeneity, etc.?

  2. Certainly to the extent those are problems, they should be discussed. It’s worth some more thought about the scope of those issues, though.

    I’m not totally sure what you mean by dependency/interactions with components. At least for game theoretic models, that kind of dependency/interaction is, of course, the whole point of the method, if we’re talking about interaction between agents. Are you talking about interactions between some other features of the model, perhaps parameter values or something? It would be helpful to have an example of the sort of interaction you’re concerned with.

    I certainly agree that heterogeneity is a problem with some analytic models. But many game theoretic models are about a fairly small number of players, so that the heterogeneity of agents issue shouldn’t be too much of a problem, at least if I have the right sense of what you mean. They become a bigger issue when we’re talking about, e.g., large-scale coordination games, but many of those models explicitly incorporate some kinds of heterogeneity, i.e., diverse preferences. (For an example that just happens to be on the top of my head, see Barry Weingast’s “The Political Foundations of Democracy and the Rule of Law.” APSR 91:245-63 (1997), which builds a model of constitutionalism that permits agents with diverse preferences to coordinate on sanctioning the state.) I’m not sure how large the set of models is where this issue is both important and unaddressed.

    1. So sorry, not trying to have an argument with you … We are going to have to respectfully disagree. Maybe we will post on this in the coming weeks…

      If you want to learn more, check out the syllabus I posted earlier in the month … I believe the readings (particularly the foundation readings) will lay out the case and clear up much of your confusion.

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