Machine Learning: How Computers Predict The Future

When Assistant Professor of Economics Erik Nelson heard what was going on at the computer science department earlier this semester, he was psyched. “I was excited when she sent out an email about a month and a half ago looking for data that her students could work with.” The “she” Nelson refers to here is Clare Bates Congdon, visiting associate professor of computer science. This semester her students have been taking the course Machine Learning, also known as data mining. In a nutshell, she explains, this is using artificial intelligence to sift through data and recognize patterns, with a view to predicting future behavior. In Nelson’s case, he wants to use data mining to help in the analysis of crop yields. “I have this global data set of country-by-country yields…

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