Team Profile: Monash Business Analytics Team

The Monash Business Analytics team.

The Monash Business Analytics team.

Team: Monash Business Analytics Team

Members: Professor Di Cook, Professor Rob Hyndman, Dr Julia Polak, Dr Souhaib Ben Taieb, and about 20 regular faculty, post-docs, PhD and honours students from Econometrics and Business Statistics, Economics and Information Technology doing research in business analytics and data science.

Faculty/Division: Monash Business School, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics  

Campus: Clayton and Caulfield

What does the team do at Monash?

We do research, teaching and consulting in business analytics, data science, computational statistics and data visualisation. This involves meeting regularly, reading and discussing papers together, tackling data challenges, provide consulting to the Monash community and to government and industry groups, and jointly working on research ideas.

What projects are you currently working on, or what opportunities are you embracing?

One of the current projects is forecasting electricity demand at the household level using smart metre data. This involves modelling large collections of time series data and visualising them by summarising the time series to feature spaces and reducing the dimension. Our work depends on the open source software R, and we contribute back to this community in the form of new R packages, such as forecast, GGally, nullabor and tourr. 

What is a recent highlight for the team?

We held a workshop at the Melbourne Zoo on ‘Making Data Analysis Easier’, called WOMBAT 2016 (Workshop Organised by the Monash Business Analytics Team). The workshop was sold out. It had a roughly equal mix of participants from industry, academia and students. Holding it at the zoo was very exciting, and people took time during the breaks to see various zoo exhibits and events.

What do you enjoy about working with each other?

Our work is fresh, and provides resources for people from many domains, regardless of socio-economic background. The tools that we use and contribute to are very powerful, and reflect the ability of crowd-sourcing for the common good of society. We come from different academic backgrounds (statistics, computer science, and econometrics) and many different countries. The diversity is enriching, and allows for highly varied morning teas.

We also have a lot of fun playing sports together (soccer, tennis, squash and table tennis). Over the summer we held a table tennis tournament which we call BETTONG (Business and Econometrics Table Tennis Tournament for Numbats and Guests) with the net stretched over conference tables in the tea room.

Tell us something about the team that the rest of Monash may not know?

Our team meetings are called NUMBAT meetings (News and Updates for the Monash Business Analytics Team). We sometimes hold BARRAMUNDI (Business Analytics Research using R At Monash University creating New Data Insights) sessions. We have a NUMBAT website set up, but this is still a work in progress.