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The LION WAY, v. 3.0: Machine Learning plus Intelligent Optimization – Free Download


This newly revised book presents two topics which are in most cases separated: machine learning (the design of flexible models from data) and intelligent optimization (the automated creation and selection of improving solutions). Free download!



By Roberto Battiti, Lion Lab & U. degli Studi di Trento.
THE LION WAY, VERSION 3.0: Machine Learning plus Intelligent Optimization
By Roberto Battiti and Mauro Brunato

Lionbook 30 Dante 648

This newly revised book presents two topics which are in most cases separated: machine learning (the design of flexible models from data) and intelligent optimization (the automated creation and selection of improving solutions). More and more innovative people (lionhearted?) can now master the source of power arising from LION techniques to solve problems, improve businesses, create new prescriptive analytics applications.

Powerful tools are not only for cognoscenti and this book does a serious effort to distinguish the paradigm shift brought about by machine learning and intelligent optimization methods from the fine details, and it does not refrain from presenting concrete examples and vivid sticky images (made to stick to your mind).

We believe that education should be for everybody and we decided to make this revised version available for free on this web site.

intelligent-optimization.org/LIONbook/

From the introduction:

"Almost by definition, optimization, the automated search for improving solutions, is a tireless power for continually improving processes, decisions, products and services. This is related to decision making but goes far beyond that. Decision making picks the best among a set of possible solutions which is given, optimization actively creates new solutions.

Optimization fuels automated creativity and innovation. It looks like a manifest contradiction, because creativity is usually not related to automation. This is why the message you will find in this book is disruptive, far from trivial, even irritating and provoking for people believing that machines are only for shallow mechanical and repetitive tasks.

Starting from Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), to change the world with science, not only to interpret it with philosophy, one needs measurements and experiments. "Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so." Measurements start shy and humble but permit a gradual and pragmatic conquering of the world as far as production means and quality of life are concerned.

...


"Every business has three fundamental needs from its data:
1. to understand the current business processes and to review past performance;
2. to predict the effect of business decisions;
3. to improve profitability by identifying and implementing informed and rational decisions about critical business factors.

Traditional descriptive business intelligence excels at recording and visualizing historical performance. Building these maps meant hiring a top-level consultancy or on-boarding of personnel specifically trained in statistics, analysis, and databases. Experts had to design data extraction and manipulation processes and hand them over to programmers for the actual execution. This is a slow and cumbersome process when you consider the dynamic environment of most businesses.

As a result, enterprises relying heavily on BI are using snapshots of performance to try to understand and react to conditions and trends. Like driving a car by looking into the rear view mirror, it's most likely that you're going to hit something. For the enterprise, it appears that they already have hit a wall of rigidity and lack of quick adaptation.

Predictive analytics does better in trying to anticipate the effect of decisions, but the real power comes from the integration of data-driven models with optimization, the automated creation of improving solutions. Prescriptive analytics leads from the data directly to the best improving plan, from data, to actionable insight, to actions!"

...

"Our goal is to give a clear map of machine learning and intelligent optimization, some concrete and connected ideas that will stick to your mind and that will guide you in the search for details and software when they are needed."

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