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Andrew Fast Instructor:
Dr. Andrew Fast
Chief Scientist
Elder Research Inc.


Thursday, October 20, 2016 in Washington, DC
Full-day: 9:00am - 4:30pm

Room: Declaration AB

Making Text Mining Work: Practical Methods and Solutions

A free copy of Dr. Fast's book on Practical Text Mining is included.

Content Revision Date: Thursday, June 23, 2016
Intended Audience: Practitioners seeking tools to analyze unstructured text data.
Program Level: Intermediate
Recommend Field of Study:
   • Computer Science
   • Analytics
   • Statistics
   • Mathematics
   • Finance and Marketing

Instructional Method: Group Live CPE Credit's received for completion:
   • 1.5 CPE Credits for Management Adv Service
   • 1.5 Statistics
   • 1.5 Specialized Knowledge and Apps
   • 1.5 Business mgmt. and org

Knowledge Level: No previous experience required though some technical background in statistics or predictive analytics will be useful.

Attendees will receive an electronic copy of the course notes via USB drive.

Workshop Description

In their 2011 Hype Cycle report, Gartner has Text Analytics sliding into the "Trough of Disillusionment", highlighting the difficulty of achieving its great promise. Despite this verdict, text mining and text analytics can be valuable tools, if you know where to look for the solution. This workshop will address:

  • The text mining solutions available now and the problems for which they are best suited
  • Best practices in the key text mining areas
  • How to set positive but realizable expectations for the return on investment of a text mining project

This one-day session surveys standard and advanced methods for text mining. Dr. Fast will describe the key inner workings of leading algorithms, demonstrate their performance with business case studies, compare their merits, and show how to pick the approach best suited for your project. Methods covered include search indexes, text classification, information extraction, document similarity and more.

The key to successfully leveraging these methods is to find the right "hammer" for your text "nails" and understand the limits of those techniques.

Dr. Fast will share his experience mining text on real-world applications in several fields, highlighting the range of available solutions and how to combine technologies to maximize the value of the vast store of (untapped) unstructured data.

If you'd like to become a text mining practitioner or if you already are, and would like to hone your knowledge across methods and best practices, this workshop is for you!

What you will learn:

  • The tremendous value of learning from unstructured textual data
  • How to choose the proper text mining solution
  • Text mining best practices
The workshop is filled with real-world stories and explanations of methods that are visual and analogy-based, rather than mathematical. Each section is designed to make clear the gist of its concept to a complete novice, and to conclude with intriguing ideas for advanced researchers. Experience has shown that attendees who get the very most out of the course:
  • Have some experience with programming, or algorithmic approaches to problem-solving
  • Have taken an introductory course in probability and statistics but most importantly
  • Have a problem to solve that inspires and anchors their learning as techniques are introduced
Learning objectives:
Participants will learn how to:
  • Run a decision tree, regression, and neural network on a new problem.
  • Split data and use resampling to best assess a model's accuracy.
  • Use visualization to discover outliers and feature transformations.
  • Combine competing models to improve accuracy.
  • Recognize examples of the top analytics mistakes, to avoid them!


  • Workshop starts at 9:00am
  • First AM Break from 10:00 - 10:15am
  • Second AM Break from 11:15 - 11:30am
  • Lunch from 12:30 - 1:15pm
  • First PM Break: 2:00 - 2:15pm
  • Second PM Break: 3:15 - 3:30pm
  • Workshop ends at 4:30pm

Attendees receive a free copy of Andrew Fast's book on Practical Text Mining, an electronic copy of the course notes via USB drive, and an official certificate of completion at the conclusion of the workshop.

About the Presenter

Dr. Andrew Fast leads research in Text Mining and Social Network Analysis at Elder Research, the nation's leading data mining consultancy. Elder Research was founded in 1995 and has offices in Charlottesville VA and Washington DC, ( Elder Research focuses on Federal, commercial, investment, and security applications of advanced analytics, including stock selection, image recognition, biometrics, process optimization, cross-selling, drug efficacy, credit scoring, risk management, and fraud detection.

Dr. Fast graduated Magna Cum Laude from Bethel University and earned Master's and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. There, his research focused on causal data mining and mining complex relational data such as social networks. At Elder Research, Andrew leads the development of new tools and algorithms for data and text mining for applications of capabilities assessment, fraud detection, and national security.

Dr. Fast has published on an array of applications including detecting securities fraud using the social network among brokers, and understanding the structure of criminal and violent groups. Other publications cover modeling peer-to-peer music file sharing networks, understanding how collective classification works, and predicting playoff success of NFL head coaches (work featured on With John Elder and other co-authors, Andrew has written a book on Practical Text Mining, to be published in January, 2012.

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Program by: Elder Research, Inc.
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