Discover How Predictions Underpin nearly Every Aspect of Our Lives on “NOVA: Prediction by the Numbers”

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23 February 2018
NOVA: Predictions by the Numbers
Photo: Courtesy of Cara Feinberg
“NOVA: Prediction by the Numbers”
Premieres Wednesday, February 28 at 9 PM ET on PBS
(Check Your Local Listings)
          Predictions underlie nearly every aspect of our lives, from sports, politics, and medical decisions to the morning commute. With the explosion of digital technology, the Internet, and “big data,” the science of forecasting is flourishing. But why do some predictions succeed spectacularly while others fail abysmally? And how can we find meaningful patterns amidst chaos and uncertainty? In a fascinating, fast-paced investigation, NOVA takes viewers from the glitz of casinos and TV game shows to the life-and-death stakes of storm forecasts and the flaws of opinion polls that can swing an election.
          Prediction by the Numbers explores compelling success stories of statistics in action: how baseball legend Billy Beane developed the recruiting techniques made famous by “Moneyball” to transform the fortunes of major league teams. Yet advances in machine learning and “big data” models that increasingly rule our lives are also posing big, disturbing questions. How much should we trust “black box” predictions made by computers when we don’t understand how they arrive at them? And how far can we really forecast how our future world will turn out?



Billy Beane - Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Oakland Athletics, Oakland, CA
Mona Chalabi -- Data Editor, The Guardian US, NYC
Keith Devlin — Mathematician - Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Jordan Ellenberg — Author How Not To Be Wrong, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Richard De Veaux - Professor of Statistics, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Williams College, Williamstown, MA
Rebecca Goldin - Mathematician, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
Patrick Murray - Founding Director, Monmouth University Polling Institute, Long Branch, NJ
Regina Nuzzo - Data Journalist / Professor of Science, Technology & Math / Mathematics, Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.
Nate Silver — Founder and Editor-in-Chief, FiveThirtyEight, NYC
Liberty Vittert — Statistician, Lecturer in Statistics, University of Glasgow, Scotland
Members of the US Coast Guard - Station Boston and Station Point Allerton, in Hull, MA
Louis Uccellini  - NOAA National Weather Service (Director, National Weather Service); Greg Carbin (Chief of Forecast Operations at the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center); Isha Renta (Meteorologist, Sterling Weather Facility), Washington, D.C.
Sebastian Thrun - Founder of Udacity and Adjunct Professor at Stanford University - Palo Alto, CA
Talithia Williams — Statistician, Harvey Mudd - Claremont, CA
Daniela Witten - Associate Professor of Statistics and Biostatistics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

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