On Saturday, March 23, 2013, I attended a “Chicago Crime Hack” sponsored by the Northwestern University Knight Lab and the Chicago Tribune News Applications team. My interest in the data is less news-oriented than for most of the folks who attended. Rather, I was interested in a nice noisy data set that might become a use case for Ancho modeling.
The good news is that I’m spending some time learning matplotlib, numpy, and Cassandra.
The bad news is that I’m not working on Ancho. Instead, I’m working on a project for Custom Insurance Services. You see, we switched to a new agency management system, which like all major software packages, has its own particular problems. Among other things, its built-in reporting tools are pretty awful. They are both uninformative and unreadable.
Fortunately, it can spit out most of the raw data needed to produce the reports I actually want. So, I’m writing a tool that slurps up the raw data, normalizes it, generates some rollups, and uses those rollups and Sphinx to generate reports in EPUB format with embedded matplotlib charts.
Is that the best way to do it? Who knows? I doubt it, but it’s the way that allows me to spend time learning the other technologies that I need to know how to use.
Ancho is for modeling systems, including their uncertainties, so you can simulate the range of probable outcomes. But what would an Ancho model look like? How would you specify your model in code? What features do you need in the framework to make that job easier?
One more use case before I really get down to business. Underneath my Fort Pedro uniform, I am wearing a Custom Insurance Services T-shirt. A tool like Ancho could be extraordinarily useful in my profession.
This is a catch-up post for anyone who has been kinda, sorta, not really following along so far. Like a sleeper TV show in a bad time slot, I have to believe that lots of perfectly good nerds would be interested in Ancho if only they knew about it. And if I had published some code.
If you’ve ever backed off a risky decision because you just couldn’t get a handle on what the odds were, Ancho is designed to be your thing.