Wednesday, December 7, 2011

People We Like: Nate Silver

by richmin3000

nate silver is a brooklynite, a statistician, a baseball analyst, a political analyst and a poker-player. basically he's everything i aspire to be. by now, many of you may have heard of him or maybe you have stumbled upon some of his writings on espn or in the new york times. mr. silver is a man of many talents and with primary season in full swing this is a perfect time to direct some of our readers to his blog, fivethirtyeight.com.

mr. silver first garnered attention for developing his 'pecota' system or 'player empirical comparison and optimization test algorithm', acquired by baseball prospectus in 2003. pecota is a forecasting model for predicting the future performance of baseball players by comparing current players' career paths with historical players' career paths. one of the differences between pecota and other forecasting models is that pecota creates a probability distribution rather than a single point estimate value, which certainly appears more realistic given the uncertainty of trying to predict the future. silver continued to work with baseball prospectus as an statistical analyst until 2008 or so.

in 2008, mr. silver started the blog, fivethirtyeight.com, adapting baseball sabermetric principles to the world of political science, specifically political campaign strategy. in 2008, silver's election forecast model correctly predicted the winner of the presidential election in 49 of 50 states and correctly predicted the winner of every senatorial race. in 2010, silver's model predicted that republicans would pick up 7 senate seats and 54 house seats (the results were 6 and 63, respectively, within the model's confidence interval).

in 2010, the new york times partnered with silver's blog, which can now be found in the politics section on their website. in addition to politics, silver continues to write about sports and has even developed a forecasting model for the oscars, which is a pretty entertaining read. though he does have his detractors, silver's insights into the field of political strategy is a welcome addition to anyone looking for objective analysis (or at least the attempt at objective analysis).

you can read nate silver's blog here.

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