Elise A. Ralph, PhD

collecting, mining, analyzing, modeling, visualizing, and machine-learning data for over 35 years.


What's in store?

A client’s subscription-based business grew up from a shoestring operation to a complex set of services, discounts, and enticements for renewals. His whole business operation was dependant on an enormous spreadsheet filled with individual customers and their interactions. It was difficult to use and, he felt, impossible for him to delegate because couldn’t easily explain how he saw the business worked. I built an agent-based forecasting model to test assumptions in his business and to gauge what impact they made to his bottom line. After talking to him about how he saw his business, the v...

Linking Structured Data I

Understanding how to connect complicated datasets across different systems and departments is a perennial problem. A client told me that if she had to stare at spreadsheets all day long, she wanted to also be able to portray how beautiful she found her company. Together, we came up with an idea to show how the contributions of different organizations and people were contributing to her company’s success.

Linking Structured Data II

This client wanted to link multiple datasets. When an event in a dataset contains dozens of fields, it can be difficult to convey all the connections one wants &emdash; particularly if the database queries and coding are far from the actual decision makers. This tool created a visual way to link fields in two datasets so that the managers could make their intent clear.

Pathways of Failure

Large military organizations track everything! Records are kept regarding deficiencies in operation at all levels. Given the shear amount of information across a branch of the military, there needs to be a visual summary of where, who, what, why, etc to look for patterns and places to improve. A Sankey diagram *The most well-known example of this type of diagram is Minard’s illustration of Napolean’s invasion of Russia. combined with a traditional spreadsheet format, allowed the Air Force to examine these patterns throughout the organization.

Pathways of Success

Australia’s Department of Social Services develops models of care for families in crisis through a multi-pronged approach. We developed a chart to trace the routes that families took through various programs and how those routes varied across the greater Sydney area. Immediately, the clients warmed to the “happy families” vibe from the sunburst pattern … which also brings concrete quantitative information for them to explore.

The Korteweg deVries equation and an Inverse Scattering Transform

The Korteweg-deVries equation is a nonlinear partial differential equation that describes the motion of “solitons:” waves that are localized and hold their shape as they travel — even after interacting with other solitons. The taller the wave, the faster it goes. They’re beautiful, mesmerizing patterns that arise in a variety of sciences and engineering and you’re watching some right now. You can play with this equation by adjusting the shape of the initial “bump” when you drag the circle (it’ll appea...