So, I just enrolled the Model Thinking (MT) online course by Stanford University. Here’s the first one of a series of posts covering the courseÂ and containing my personal notes. As you’ll see, these are pretty brief and schematic. They are mainly for personal use, but I’m sharing it here so that you can discuss/criticize/expand if you want. Hopefully I’ll have more clear ideas by the end of the course…
Reasons for Model Thinking
- Understand the world: The world is a complex system containing all kinds of subsystems and patterns. MT provides methodologies to make sense of it.
- Better thinking: Thought is influenced by all kinds of personal, historical and cultural parameters. MT helps out by providing a rational and abstract point of view.
- Understand data: Nowadays, we have far too much information. And it is usually convoluted as a hairball. MT aims to set things appart and make them understandable as a whole.
- Better design strategies: Reaching goals requires good planning, getting ready. MT brings formal tools to do so.
Although the course is intended to be non-linear so that you can jump from unit to unit based on your own needs, here’s the structured list of sections:
- Introduction: Why Model?Â
- Why Model
-Â Intelligent Citizens of the World
- Thinking More Clearly
- Using and Understanding Data
- Using Models to Decide, Strategize, and Design
- Segregation and Peer Effects
- Sorting and Peer Effects Introduction
- Schelling’s Segregation Model
- Measuring Segregation
- Peer Effects
- The Standing Ovation Model
- The Identification Problem
-Â Central Limit Theorem
-Â Six Sigma
-Â Game of Life
-Â Cellular Automata
-Â Preference Aggregation
- Decision Models
-Â Introduction to Decision Making
- Multi-Criterion Decision Making
- Spatial Choice Models
- Probability: The Basics
- Decision Trees
- Value of Information
- The Model (theoretical background)
- Technical Details (how to put it into practice)
- Proofs (easy, medium, hard math)
- Â Practice problems
- Fertility (What are the outcomes?)
- What is the model for
- How does it work
The course is based on a series of video lectures (from 8 to 15 minutes length), some of which contain questions within to make sure you follow the main concepts involved. It also includes some readings accessible through a Wiki, assignments to practice relevant topics, and quizzes to test it all out. Finally, a discussion forum serves as a community hub / helping platform.
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Are you enrolled in this course? Started the lectures? Please leave a comment if you think there’s something missing or wrong in this article. Thanks!