'Stable marriages' between microbes, nutrients may explain diverse yet stable communities

Bliss Faculty Scholar and Professor of Bioengineering Sergei Maslov, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois Credit: L. Brian Stauffer A mathematical model created by University of Illinois researchers could help scientists better understand an intriguing characteristic of microbial communities: their ability to achieve stability despite being so diverse. Microbial communities are…

Alarming error common in survey analyses

It is difficult to understate the importance of survey data: They tell us who we are and—in the hands of policymakers—what to do. It had long been apparent to Brady West, an expert on survey methodology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, that the benefits of survey data coexisted with a lack of training…

Are star players over-rated in MLB? A key statistic—wins above replacement player—doesn't stand up to scrutiny

Credit: CC0 Public Domain In football, soccer and basketball, player quality has one obvious and inescapable metric: scoring touch-downs, goals, points. In baseball, it’s more complicated—it isn’t easy to directly associate a single player’s play with team wins. This is why “wins above replacement player” (WARP) has become so popular: It’s a statistic that manages…

Statistics sends strong signal to market: Sales stability creates long-run success, not just sales

It was a bittersweet triumph. Their model had been validated in the real world. Share prices of Wayfair—which had billed itself as “the Amazon of furniture”—had fallen 23 percent over one day after the company announced a fourth-quarter loss. Wayfair’s model was broken—and Daniel McCarthy’s model, created with Wharton marketing professor Pete Fader, identified the…