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The Data Science of Hockey Scoring

The Washington Post/Getty Images

Hockey is the coolest game on Earth.  At least, that is what the NHL reminds us about all the time. We hockey fans love seeing smart team plays, great passes, powerful slapshots, and flashy body checks. And even some limited fighting… But most of all, we love goals!  And we love and glorify the best goal scorers.  If you are a hockey fan, you will understand exactly what I am talking about. And this article is about those scorers.

Right now, the greatest goal scorer of all time is Wayne Gretzky, who reached a record of 894 goals.  The active players closest to him are Jaromir Jagr (766) and Alex Ovechkin (658). Jagr, who is a hero for many fans, is 47 now and semi-retired.  Ovi is 33 and is still going strong but, likely, has just a few years left for his high-scoring game (I hope to be proven wrong here!).

They, and a couple of others, have been the most elite scorers and we want to have more players like them in the future!  But, will we? Are we going to get many new superstar scorers capable of rivaling Gretzky, for example?  

Unfortunately, it is unlikely, unless the game is changed.  To show my point, I will use a bit of simple data analysis…

First, this is the list of the top 25 leading goal scorers per season in the history of NHL (source: NHL.com). Basically, these 25 players led the league in goal scoring ahead of everyone else.  Notice, the only active player on the list is Alex Ovechkin with 65 goals.

Alex’s best season was at 65 goals, which places him 23rd in history. Notice that Wayne Gretzky is at the top of the list with an incredible 92 and 87 goals.  Why do I say “incredible”? These numbers are unbelievably high in the modern hockey era. Think about it this way: during the last season, the entire team of Anaheim Ducks scored 196 goals in 82 games vs. 92 goals scored by just Wayne Gretzky alone in 80 games in the 1981-82 season.  

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Computer Humor

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Computer Humor

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Computer Humor

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Computer Humor

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Introduction to OptiML: Automatic Model Optimization

Very useful feature… Automated AI/machine learning is the future.

The Official Blog of BigML.com

BigML’s upcoming release on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, will be presenting a new resource to the platform: OptiML. In this post, we’ll do a quick introduction to OptiML before we move on to the remainder of our series of 6 blog posts (including this one) to give you a detailed perspective of what’s behind the model optimization part of the release. Today’s post explains the basic concepts that will be followed by an example use case. Then, there will be three more blog posts focused on how to use OptiML through the BigML Dashboard, API, and WhizzML for automation. Finally, we will complete this series of posts with a technical view of how OptiML works behind the scenes.

Understanding OptiML

At BigML, we are believers of human-in-the-loop Machine Learning and the importance of feature engineering which is driven by subject matter expertise in real-life situations.  As such…

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