Skip to main content

Workshop 05/25/2022


Research proves that the human brain processes visualizations better than text. And data visualizations prove that further.

Data visualization is the last phase in the data life cycle. It is the art and science of making data easy to understand and consume for the end user. Data visualizations present clusters of data in an easy-to-understand layout and that’s the reason it becomes mandatory for large amounts of complex data.

Ideal data visualization shows the right amount of data, in the right order, in the right visual form, to convey the high priority information to the right audience and for the right purpose. If the data is presented in too much detail, then the consumer of that data might lose interest and the insight.

There are innumerable types of visual graphing techniques available for visualizing data. The right visualization arises from an understanding of the totality of the situation in context of the business domain’s functioning, consumers’ needs, nature of data, and the appropriate tools and techniques to present data. Ideal data visualization should tell a true, complete and simple story backed by data effectively, while keeping it insightful and engaging.

Markov chains are a special type of random process which can be used to model many natural processes. This workshop will be a gentle introduction to Markov chains, giving basic properties and many examples. The second part of the workshop will focus on one specific application of Markov chains to data science: Sampling from posterior distributions in Bayesian inference. Introductory background in probability, statistics, and linear algebra is assumed.

As data scientists, the ability to understand our models’ decisions is important, especially for models that could have a high impact on people’s lives. This may pose several challenges, as most models used in the industry are not inherently explainable. Today, the most popular explainability methods are SHAP (SHapley Additive exPlanations) and LIME (Local Interpretable Model-Agnostic Explanation). Each method offers convenient APIs, backed by solid mathematical foundations, but falls short in intuitiveness and actionability.

In this workshop/article, I will introduce a relatively new model explanation method – Counterfactual Explanations (CFs). CFs are explanations based on minimal changes to a model’s input features that lead the model to output a different (mostly opposite) predicted class. CFs have been shown to be more intuitive for humans to comprehend and provide actionable feedback, compared to traditionalSHAP and LIME methods.. I will review the challenges in this novel field (such as how to ensure that the CF proposes changes which are feasible), provide a birds-eye view of the latest research and give my perspective, based on my research in collaboration with Tel Aviv University, on the various aspects in which CFs can transform the way data science practitioners understand their ML models.

A propensity model attempts to estimate the propensity (probability) of a behavior (e.g., conversion, churn, purchase, etc.) happening during a well-defined time period into the future based on historical data. It is a widely used technique by organizations or marketing teams for providing targeted messages, products or services to customers. This workshop shares an open-sourced package developed by Google, for building an end-to-end Propensity Modeling solution using datasets like GA360, Firebase or CRM and using the propensity predictions to design, activate and measure the impact of a media campaign. The package has enabled companies from e-commerce, retail, gaming, CPG and other industries to make accelerated data-driven marketing decisions.

Event Program

May 25, 2022

*All times are UTC -8

Workshop Instructors

Mackenzie Simper

PhD Student, Stanford University

Aviv Ben Arie

Data Science Manager, Intuit

Bingjie Xu

Marketing Data Scientist, Google

Shalini Pochineni

Senior Data Scientist, Google

Lingling Xu

Marketing Data Scientist, Google

Xi Li

Data Scientist, Google


Effective & Ideal Data Presentation using Visualization Techniques & Lucid Perceptions | Pariza

TOPICS: Data Science as a Career , Software Design and Engineering , Values

Intro to Markov Chains and Bayesian Inference | Mackenzie Simper

TOPICS: Algorithms , Foundations (Mathematics/Statistics) , Values

Counterfactual Explanations: The Future of Explainable AI | Aviv Ben Arie

TOPICS: Algorithms , Foundations (Mathematics/Statistics) , Software Design and Engineering , Values

Open-sourced Propensity Model Package: From Modeling to Activation (Workshop #2) | Google

TOPICS: Algorithms , Data Generation/Collection , Foundations (Mathematics/Statistics) , Software Design and Engineering , Values