Analytics - What we do when we say we use it

Attwater Consulting solves engineering, asset management/productivity, and risk assessment problems using advanced analytics methods and approaches.

When Attwater Consulting uses the term advanced analytics to solve your problem and enable you to make quick, comfortable (consistent with decision maker heuristics), and effective decisions, here is what we do.

1)  Before anything else, Attwater Consulting fully analyzes the problem that the client needs to solve.  

The problems faced in technical businesses can be very complex.  Attwater Consulting listens very carefully to the client describe their problem, and asks pointedly relevant questions about all aspects of their problem to understand it fully.  We scope the problem to assure that we understand the problem's boundaries and interfaces, identify the measures that will make good decision discriminators, and understand the data and information that is available and that which might be useful. We fully review and validate this problem analysis with the client to assure that there is nothing that we missed in our problem analysis, that we did it right, and to absolutely assure that we will not commit a Type III error:  getting the right answer to the wrong question.

2)  For the client's particular problem, Attwater Consulting starts with the laws of physics, mathematics, probability and statistics, information theory, and decision analysis and rigorously derives the equations that are needed to solve the client's problem. 

Attwater Consulting assures that the client will never make a decision based on simple correlation in the data instead of a real causality.  We derive the quantitative measures that will be the best decision discriminators for the problems the client needs to solve, and how to best use the available data and information to develop those measures. 

3)  Attwater Consulting neither makes nor uses any assumptions about the client's problem, or in development of its solution. 

Attwater Consulting uses modern information theoretical methods to replace assumptions with objectivity.  By not using any assumptions in the problem analysis or equations or codes we develop, maintaining maximal objectivity in the results, we assure that any decisions made by the client will not be subject to second guessing.  Also, there can be no reanalysis if someone questions or wants to change assumptions that are not used.

4)  Attwater Consulting uses ALL of the data and quantifiable information that the client can possibly provide about their problem in our calculations. 

Many canned software packages use approaches that are mathematically unable to use all of the data types and information that may be available; data and information like experts' opinions and observations, and many types of censored data (that the system has not failed, or that it was found failed on inspection).  The advanced analytics methods that Attwater Consulting uses employ every single bit of quantifiable relevant data and information that is available, and can recommend data types to be collected in the future that will make a huge difference for similar problems.

5)  Attwater Consulting develops, fully validates, and runs the unique computer codes needed to solve the derived equations transforming the client's data and information into the quantitative measures needed for good decision making. 

Every problem is unique, and has unique data and information.  There is just no one-size-fits-all canned computer code that can provide the measures to make all good management decisions, or even any particular class of decisions such as for asset management or risk.  Attwater Consulting builds the computer codes necessary to solve the equations that we derive from first principles that will produce the best quantitative results.  We validate those codes by using test data generated from various artificial "truth" solutions, both good and bad "truth" solutions to cover the spectrum of possible results using the client's actual data.  Running these validated codes using the client's actual data and information produces measures of how sure the client can be that the decision they make will produce the effect they hope to achieve.

6)  We report the accuracy bounds on our calculations.

Every computer code that processes data uses numerical methods to obtain solutions to equations.  Every numerical method ever invented approximates the true solution to an equation, and will be subject to an inherent numerical method approximation error which is usually unknown, but may be bounded.  Attwater Consulting has developed methods to quantify and bound the numerical method errors in analytics.  We report the bounds on the numerical method errors in our results.  Without knowing the bounds on the numerical method errors, a client can unknowingly make a bad decision.  Knowing the bounds on the numerical method errors, the client can either make a quick, comfortable, effective decision, or discover that more data is needed.

The Attwater Consulting Advanced Analytics Toolbox

Attwater Consulting has collected a huge analytics toolbox over the past 40 years, full of proven and well understood methods collected from a wide variety of business and technical problem arenas.  Due to our diligence in steps 1) and 2) in our practice of advanced analytics, we have the insight to recognize that methods invented to solve unique problems in some very unique arenas can often be used to solve vastly different problems in vastly different arenas.  Here are a couple of examples of this insight:  we applied analytics techniques developed for sonar signal processing to analyze rocket motor vibrations due to a new rocket fuel to assure a safe launch; and, we applied analytics techniques developed for reliability calculations for mechanical systems to analyze astronaut bone fracture risks for long duration space missions.  We see uses for analytics tools in solving problems that simply escape others.

Three very important methods in the Attwater Consulting analytics toolbox, rarely used in the practice of analytics, are: 1) the information theoretical models of objectivity that we use to replace assumptions with objectivity; 2) Markov chain Monte Carlo methods that we use to integrate very complex high dimensional equations; and, 3) methods to bound the numerical method errors in analytics calculations.  Attwater Consulting stands apart in the application of advanced analytics to solve your problems.

Sounds Expensive and Time Consuming, but Attwater Consulting Advanced Analytics are Not!

Attwater Consulting has mastered the advanced analytics approach outlined above, we practice it and teach it frequently, and as such perform it very efficiently.  Since we have virtually no reanalysis or rework due to the comprehensive understanding of the problem and first principle derivations of the solutions, and due to our avoidance of using assumptions, the very quick, comfortable, and effective bottom line decisions that result start saving the client money almost immediately.  The rather complex problems we solved using our advanced analytics approach that were described in some of our papers rarely took more than four hours of work.


Attwater Consultants use advanced analytics to obtain quantified solutions that truly enable quick, comfortable, and effective client bottom line decisions.  Our approaches and toolbox for advanced analytics is expansive and comprehensive.  Contact Us for more information on how an Attwater Consultant can apply our version of advanced analytics to solve your problems.  We selectively accept short term and long term assignments all over the world; language used is English.