Modeling conflict
Jul 31st, 2005 by JTJ

We have long-enjoyed — and learned from — Chance News, published by
the good folks in the math dept. at some Eastern school in the wilds of
the far, far north.  The current issue has an interesting link to
some paper related to “modeling conflict.”

Figuring the odds
May 20th, 2005 by JTJ

Last week, NOAA predicated a serious hurricane season a'comin' in the Atlantic, which has implications for the entire U.S. East Coast.  That's last week's
news, but if one lives in California, Mexico, Central America or Japan,
then today there's always the possibility of a major shaker.  And
those are just risks imposed by nature.  Modeling these and other
hazards of life is the mission of RMS, a fascinating California company demonstrating innovative thinking and analytic tools.

RMS brings together a unique, multidisciplinary team of experts to
create solutions for its clients’ natural hazard and financial risk
management challenges. We are the technical leader in our market, with
over 100 engineers and scientists devoted to the development of risk
models. Of this number, approximately fifty percent hold advanced
degrees in their field of expertise.

Our specialists track research among leading experts and academic
institutions worldwide, and supplement this knowledge with internal R&D
to ensure that our models provide the most complete and accurate
quantification of risk.

Yup — our kind of guys.  Examples of the output of these “risk models” can be found here.  Of special interest to U.S. journalists are the Catastrophe Risk maps.  (They are a bit too small to read in detail, but big enough to get the gist of some of the RMS product.)

We hope to report more next week about RMS, how it does what it does and how there might be some synergy there for analytic journalists.

FYI: Economic Models and Base Closings Teleconference
May 17th, 2005 by JTJ

Regional Economic Models Inc. cordially invites you to join us on June 7th for a teleconference regarding Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)
On Friday May 13th Department of Defense released Recommendations to
the BRAC commission. We feel that a discussion of BRAC studies and
analysis methods would be helpful to a number of communities:

Topics to be discussed include:

– Demographic effects of active military, reservists, & dependents.

– Migration effects of re-alignment or closures.

– Dynamic effects of government spending over time.

– The Impacts of lost or reduced civilian contracts.

– Previous BRAC studies using the REMI model.

– Other topics by REMI Guest Speakers.

presentation will be sent out before the call in order to direct and
facilitate discussion. There will be two teleconferences taking place
on the 7th, one at 10am, one at 4pm  EST, hosted by Frederick
Treyz and Jonathan Lee.

There is
no fee for participation, but space is limited.  If you are
planning on joining us or would like to participate in the discussion
please respond to this e-mail, register online at or
contact us by phone at (413) 549-1169.

We look forward to speaking with you in June!

Yours truly,

Frederick Treyz, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Regional Economic Models, Inc.

306 Lincoln Ave.

Amherst, MA 01002

T. 413-549-1169

F. 413-549-1038

"Flashing" the human body
May 16th, 2005 by JTJ

power of good infographics is that they can greatly aid in the 
upstream aspects of  journalism — providing insight for
journalists to understand what's happening with a particular phenomena
— and then downstream, to help journalists tell the story and for the
audience to understand it.

The Digital Revolution has upped the ante far beyond what good ol' Leonardo was using and envisioning.  One of the innovators in today's datasphere is
Alexander Tsiaras.  A recent story in Digital Journal has this to say about Tsiaras's company, Anatomical Travelogue:

“Digital Journal — At ideaCity04, one presenter was so overflowing with
information that host Moses Znaimer had to enter stage right and
patiently sit beside him, a silent reminder to wrap it up. But you
couldn’t ask Alexander Tsiaras to gloss over the wonders of the human
body, from blood flow to cell mutation.

During his presentation, he showed images from his visualization
software company Anatomical Travelogue, whose clients include Nike,
Pfizer and Time Inc. Tsiaras and his 25 employees take data from MRI
scans, spiral CT scans and other medical imaging technologies, and use
them to create scientifically accurate 3D pictures and animations.

In 2003, his book of images of fetal development, From Conception to Birth, sold 150,000 copies and his latest work is Part Two of this fantastic voyage, The Architecture and Design of Man and Woman. For a chapter on sex, Tsiaras even scanned an employee doing the deed with his girlfriend — all in the name of science.”

AnyLogic: Tool-of-the-Week
May 12th, 2005 by JTJ

talented band of coders in St. Petersburg, Russia has put together a
nifty simulation modeling application written in Java. 
Anylogicsupports virtually all existing
approaches to discrete event and continuous modeling, such as process
flow diagrams, system dynamics, agent-based modeling, state charts,
equation systems, etc. With this incredibly rich toolset you are not
limited with the technology anymore – analyze the problem, identify the
best approach, and find the solution!”

package is relatively affordable, especially if one can qualify for the
educational discount.  It could make for a handy tool to model
and/or illustrate a variety of dynamic aspects in an urban setting —
ambulance response time, crowd movement during an anti-war

Today, too, the roll-out of the LA Times re-designed web site includes an intuitive interactive map of freeway traffic flow
— real time — of the greater LA basin.  Perhaps some
enterprising news organization will figure out a way to tie these maps
SigAlert into the dashboard-mounted GPS navigation devices.  Or will SigAlert itself deliver those goods?

SimVenture – Powerpoint explaining SimVenture and its concepts
Mar 29th, 2005 by JTJ

SimVenture was developed by Vince Guiliani and his colleagues in the late '90.  This PowerPoint is c. 2001.

<b>Xcelsius</b> — IAJ's "Best Digital Tool-of-the-Week"
Mar 26th, 2005 by JTJ

does magical things for your Excel spreadsheets.  It turns the
numeric data into controlable Flash charts, which can be standalone
“movies,” imported into PowerPoint or sent to colleagues as
click-and-manipulate e-mail.  Check out the Quicktime demos at

Monte Carlo Simulation in Excel: A Practical Guide
Mar 25th, 2005 by JTJ

There are many things that faster computers have made possible in recent years.
For [journalists], scientists, engineers, statisticians, managers, investors, and others,
computers have made it possible to create
models that simulate reality and aid in
making predictions. One of the methods for simulating real systems is the ability to take
into account randomness by investigating hundreds of thousands of different scenarios.
The results are then compiled and used to
make decisions. This is what Monte Carlo
simulation is about.

      Monte Carlo simulation is often used in business for risk and decision analysis, to help make decisions
given uncertainties in market trends, fluctuations, and other uncertain factors…..

This article will guide you through the process of performing a Monte Carlo simulation using
Microsoft Excel. Although Excel will not always be the best place to run a scientific
simulation, the basics are easily explained with just a few simple examples.”


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