"R" You Ready for Some Football? Hacking Fantasy Sports with Open Source Software

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Accepted Session
Short Form
Intermediate
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 from 3:45 – 4:30pm in B304

Excerpt

You've probably heard about "robot jounalism" - computers writing finance and sports stories. Well, there's just one teensy little problem with robots writing finance and sports stories: investors and fantasy sports gamers don't want the data turned into text! They want their data raw, right and fast. They need clean, timely data to make objective decisions using tried-and-true statistical methodologies. So I'm not going to talk about robot journalism - I'm going to talk about fantasy sports: getting the data, analyzing it and using statistical decision-making tools to enhance the probability of winning.

Description

I’ve been researching so-called “robot journalism” over the past few years. Robot journalism is a popular name for natural language generation — turning data into human-readable text. Natural language generation is most frequently deployed for finance and sports stories.

There’s just one teensy little problem with robots writing finance and sports stories. Investors and people who play fantasy sports games for money don’t want the data to be turned into text! They want the raw data, they want it right and they want it fast. As far as an investor or a fantasy gamer is concerned, robot journalism is just spam.

So I’m not going to talk about robot journalism. I’m going to talk about fantasy sports: getting the data, analyzing it and using statistical decision-making tools to enhance the probability of winning. I’ll be using the open source R package. I’ll describe how fantasy games work and the kinds of calculations involved in the decision-making process.

Tags

R, operations research, statistical decision-making, fantasy sports

Speaking experience

I've been speaking since I was a child. ;-) But seriously, I used to give sales presentations and demos for high-performance computing, I was on Jeopardy! and I was in 25 plays when I was a graduate student - in applied mathematics.

Speaker