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First Impressions & Demand Models for Retail

The first meet-up of the Data Science Society is now a fact. On Wednesday (November 5, 2014) we were happy to publicly present our organization and mission for the first time and welcome you to the start of something we hope will grow and benefit us all.

The topic for this first event was Demand Models Development for the Retail Sector of Industry, presented by Alexander Efremov (a Senior Business Analyst, Ph.D. at Experian Ltd. and associate professor at Technical University – Sofia). Alex has extensive experience in modelling (system identification), optimization, numerical methods, Kalman filtering and control systems. He has worked in the oil industry, satellite communications, retail and the financial industry and mainly deals with the development of algorithms ready for implementation in real systems in these areas.

Alex presented his work on the design of auto-modelling methodologies for the development of dynamic models with many inputs and outputs. These methodologies were implemented in demand forecast systems and are used for modelling for hypermarket & supermarket chains. Markets such as these have huge dimensions (10^6 – 10^7 input variables and 10^5 dependent variables), which is the main reason to opt for an auto-modelling process (one without human intervention). The approach accounts for cross relations between products, the time-varying market behavior, the seasonality, the trend and other market specifics. Incomplete data due to the inclusion of new products and the removal of products from the market within the observation window is also taken into account. Further discussions covered the topic of retail market strategy optimization.

Following the presentation, the discussions took a more informal tone and moved to a local bar establishment where we got to meet each other and exchange ideas. After what turned into an informative and pleasant evening, we would like to thank you all for making this event a success. We hope to see you again next week for our next topic and presenter. Keep a watch on our website and Facebook page for additional information.

Those of you who missed our event can find the presentation slides here on our website, check out our photo gallery below and hopefully make the decision to join us next time. Let’s bridge the gaps between business, education and academia together. We will be expecting you!

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