A Quantitative Edge: Powerful Web Analysis with Mathematica

David Howell, Corporate Analysis Team Lead, Wolfram Research, Inc.

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The Mathematica Edge
  • Provides one environment and programming language for both analyzing and visualizing data
  • Features interactive analysis tools that are quick to build and deploy
  • Contains built-in high-level functionality for convenient integration with database management systems
"If we were working with just a statistics package, we probably wouldn't have this set of graph theory functions or the nice graph plotting functions that Mathematica has. If we were working with something geared just towards nice time series plots, it might not have the same statistical tools as well. But with Mathematica, they're all right there in the same tool."

Overview

Building on a number of Mathematica's standard features, including the Import function and Database Link, Wolfram Research's corporate analysis team has developed a powerful, in-house computable data function to quickly generate statistics and create sophisticated visualizations to analyze the company's web traffic and other business data.

David Howell, Wolfram's corporate analysis team lead, says Mathematica's flexibility and integration give his group several advantages for studying how visitors interact with Wolfram websites. He says, "Often once we've computed and visualized the data, we'll think of a slight difference in how it can be presented. Because we're working in one centralized and unified environment, Mathematica, we can immediately pop into the code, make changes, and work with those new features immediately without the mental overhead of switching tools."

As a result, the corporate analysis team can efficiently generate insightful, customizable reports that anyone in the company can use to explore and understand the flow of the company's web traffic.

"Mathematica's a powerful language for doing data analysis, but in addition to the computing power, it gives us the ability to produce interactive documents that our colleagues can use to see the bigger picture of web traffic on our sites. And that really helps us focus on solving problems and helping our visitors reach their goals", says Howell.


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