Georgia Tech’s Dr. Joel Sokol Talks Sports Analytics Modeling

Joel Sokol is the founding Director of Georgia Tech’s interdisciplinary Master of Science in Analytics degree and Associate Professor in the Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISyE). Dr. Sokol’s main research interests remain in sports analytics and applied operations research. He has dealt with teams and leagues in three significant American sports and has  gotten Georgia Tech’s greatest awards for teaching. Today, Dr. Sokol talks about his industry-leading LRMC technique for predictive modeling of the NCAA basketball competition, Georgia Tech’s MS Analytics degree, and the future of analytics.

What drew you to sports analytics?

When I was a kid I was a huge sports fan. In college I didn’t know what I wanted to major in, so I attempted a great deal of various things, and I didn’t like them enough to do any of them as a profession. Then one of my roommates said, “Hey, I’m taking this class that’s really mathy, but it’s more applied and I think you’ll find that the math tutor actually knows what he’s talking about. I think you’d like it.” I took the class with him – it was an optimization course in operations research – and I loved it. I decided that that was exactly what I wanted to do. It seemed like weekly we were learning something where I thought to myself, “Hey, I can use this to evaluate baseball” or “This would help with my dream football team.” So from the time I began discovering analytics, I was considering how it could be applied to sports. When I remained in grad school, I composed a paper on enhancing baseball teams, especially batting orders. So everything began there.

How many professional teams have you worked with?

I have worked with 5 baseball teams, to differing degrees, and I have begun dealing with a football group and a basketball group.

Do you have any success stories from working with teams that you can say validates your work?

I’d say this LRMC design is my most successful. The very first year it went live, we put it together after the 2002-2003 season. Georgia Tech had played in a holiday competition versus Tennessee; they were ahead by a point with only a few seconds left, when a Tennessee player in his orange and white basketball apparel struck a half-court shot to win the game. At the end of the routine season, a few of the professionals believed that if Georgia Tech had actually won another game, they would’ve had a change at remaining in the NCAA competition. That made me reflect on the Tennessee game – if some man strikes a last-second half-court shot, does it truly say that Georgia Tech is a different team than if he’d missed the shot?

After that year I began putting the design together. I knocked on the door of my statistics-expert coworker, Paul Kvam, who is not at Tech but an expert tutor you can find online. We put this design together and evaluated it on the fly for the very first time the next year, in 2003-2004. Before the NCAA competition began that year, our design was the only expecting Georgia Tech go into the Last 4. It was a bit uneasy, since we were aiming to make the case that we had a totally objective mathematical design, and here we were at Georgia Tech as the only ones choosing Georgia Tech to go to the Last 4. And obviously, Tech did make it to the Last 4 that year – they made us look excellent. Them, and some luck, most likely. Tech played lots of close games, and every round we kept saying that Tech was most likely to win. That helped put LRMC on the map.

A couple of years after that our design accurately predicted the NCAA competition’s Last 4, the finalists, and the winner – even the NIT winner. Once again, there was a substantial luck element – since there’s a lot randomness, I do not anticipate it to ever occur ever again – but it truly helped in regards to getting us attention and getting individuals to take note of it.

Do you have lots of students pursuing professions in sports analytics? What sort of suggestions do you provide?

Yes. Among the Master’s of Science in Analytics, a student is working for a sports start-up, and a second interned for an NFL group. Another of our M.S. Analytics students has his own sports analytics start-up (he tends to wear basketball shirts and shorts to my classes – you can tell he’s an absolute sports fanatic, it’s quite entertaining!), and another appears to be moving in that direction too. At the undergraduate level, I have an outstanding research student who is going to be an analytics intern with a Big league Baseball group this summertime.

In general, it’s tough to obtain a job in sports analytics. There are a lot of individuals with the mix of technical abilities and sports interest that the competition is extremely tough. Many individuals who get sports analytics jobs have actually done sports analytics as a pastime and have done it well. They have discussed it on blogs and sites, gotten discovered, and been worked with. Flaunting your very own excellent, initial work is the most foolproof method to be seen and worked with, but you need to have greatness to stick out, since there are so many individuals blogging.

Smart Gardening for Geeks

Gardening and planting is undoubtedly, not at the forefront of the minds of most ‘geeks’. The Chinese company iGrow might become business leaders in gardening for geeks with the product they dubbed Agriculture 4.0.

iGrow has presented a series of different landscaping items consisting of the iGrow intelligent hydroponics gardening systems to plant flowers, fruits and vegetables inside your home in a simple, practical, and sanitary way. From the seed germination to the blossom duration, you only have to add water and nutrients at most fortnightly, without any extra work or skill needed.

The magic of iGrow lies in its original semi-aerosol growing techniques and the LED planting lighting system, integrating all aspects that plants need such as light, water and air into one compact systems. The iGrow ensures continuous growth of plants through its automated control system and allows plants and vegetables to be grown even in a cold winter season and off seasons.

“Agriculture 4.0 total subversion and sublimation of traditional agriculture,” stated Lennon Tsai, founder of iGrow and the company’s conference speaker. “In China, iGrow has established a vast series of indoor agricultural products, from the micro indoor planting devices, cute enough that home decorators use them, represented by automated plant-growing machines and the garden-like workplace environments developed by ingrained planting systems, as well as the air farm developed by the smart DFT (Deep Flowing Technology) planting system. iGrow is dedicated to pursuing a genuinely wise planting system that covers all variety of species of plants.” Although it sounds complex, the company ensures that it isn’t, there is virtually nothing you have to do to maintain your plants and vegetation. The invention speaks to geeks on two levels, first of all, it is so simple to use that even someone with no motivation to garden will be able to do so. Secondly, the product is quite technical, and that in itself will spark interest in a geeky or nerdy customer.

iGrow has extended its business to more than twenty different countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. In November 2015, the business received its first lot of funding which is worth tens of millions of RMB. This all happened in little more than a year after its development and the company had intentions of receiving its second round of financing in middle of 2016.

“Now we still have a number of new ideas in the making,” said Tsai, “due to the fact that we are fully mindful that the point is the best ways to make our item unique. We currently have an excellent choice of items, so together with our representatives, we can produce the products customers want. We have actually currently laid out a marketing network throughout the world, with leading priority to be provided to the American market this year.”

To have a plant growing device that does not require much attention sounds appealing and who doesn’t like some fresh salad, all the while adding to your residential interior design.

iGrow will display in the Hardware Tools and Gardening Exhibition in Las Vegas from May 9-11.

Working with a Web Design Company

Web designing and web development have become an integral part of each and every business today. If you are a business owner and are serious about staying ahead in the competition, you must consider online advertising and promotions. This will require you to work with a good web design company. There are a huge number of advantages and benefits associated with promoting a business online.

The exposure

A website designer or a web development company can give your business a great online presence. With the internet being the most visited place today, such an online presence will hold your business in front of a huge number of clients and consumers.who are ready to buy your items
People check the internet for almost anything, be it education, shopping, or something else they require information on. By having your own website with the help of an affordable web design company, you see much higher chances of presenting your business to this wide range of consumers and clients!
And if you are working with a good web development company , they will offer you even more. For example, consider search engine optimization, advanced technologies like blogs, forums, and other features that help you get more traffic to your business site, and hence show you much higher chances of sales and conversions.
The internet is accessible from almost every part of the world. Imagine the number of clients and prospective customers you stand a chance to see by getting a web designer to prepare one single site for you (if the site is prepared in the right way).

The Cost

Online marketing and promotions is always going to be cheaper than your offline methods. Even when you are getting a web development company to work with your online presence, the fees that you should expect are definitely much less when compared to the offline promotions and advertising. Simply consider the fact that there are no printing and publishing costs involved, no mailing costs, no issues with transportation and telephones, etc!
All this lets you enjoy a cheaper deal from a web design company who is preparing a business site for you and helping you promote your business online!

Choosing a Web development company

So far so good. Dealing with a web designer seems to be a profitable issue for your business, both in terms of results and costs involved. But how do you ensure that you are working with a good web development company capable of handling your issues and showing you the best results? There are a few points that are worth considering when you are thinking about choosing a good web design company to work with. First of all, ask yourself the following questions:

1.Have I checked the other projects that the company has worked on in the past?
2.Am I sure that the web development company can offer me the right technologies that I require for my business site (.net, php, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, MS SQL, mySQL, etc)
3.Is the web design company asking for a reasonable price?
4.Will they be offering SEO services (this is one of the most crucial factors today with regards to online advertising and promotions)
5.Will I get on-going support and other services like graphic design, software development, hosting, domain registering, etc from the same company? (this will reduce your worries as you need to contact with only one company to take care of every related issue)

Make sure that you consider all the above mentioned points before hooking up with a good web designer or a web development company. See your business grow over time with the power of the internet to assist you with your advertisements and business marketing!

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