The most popular luxury cars in the country

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

In this post, we’ll explore the data on luxury car sales, finding which markets are the largest in the world and the most popular manufacturers. The forecast suggests that manufacturers will sell approximately 2.42 million luxury automobiles in 2020. This number is the second largest in the world, second only to China, which is expected to sell 3.1 million premium vehicles. Germany comes in third with an expected sales volume of 1.11 million premium automobiles.

According to information published by GoodCarBadCar.net, the most popular luxury car in the United States in 2016 is made in Germany — Mercedes-Benz topped the list with a 16.4 percent market share. As you can see on the graph below, Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus came in a close second with a 16 percent market share. BMW, one of the leading luxury car brands worldwide, held more than 15 percent of the U.S. luxury automobile market share. Guess who came in fourth place? It’s German again! Audi’s market share amounted to 10.1 percent of the American luxury car market, while GM’s Cadillac brand took 8.2 percent of the market in 2016.

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Christmas is America’s favorite holiday season

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Christmas is a civil holiday and an important part of the holiday season. During the Christmas shopping season, sales increase in almost all retail sectors. According to Statista.com, the most popular gift in the United States across all income levels is gift cards: 52 percent.

The statistics show that American consumers expected to spend an average of about $830 on Christmas gifts in 2015. In comparison, the average sum in 2014 was $720. In 2013, U.S. consumers spent approximately $704, compared to $770 in 2012. The highest average spending occurred in 2007; in this year, Americans spent an average of $866 dollars on Christmas gifts.

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What to celebrate and where to travel during the winter holidays

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

The winter holidays in America are possibly the most beautiful time of the year, filled with Christmas trees, fairy lights and festivals. The end of the year brings not only Christmas and New Year’s but other holidays as well. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and the African week-long celebration of Kwanzaa are also among the widely-celebrated holidays in America due to the large number of Jewish and African Americans.

According to a poll on which holidays American respondents planned to celebrate in 2015, almost 95 percent planned to celebrate Christmas. About 6.5 percent planned to celebrate Hanukkah, and 1.9 percent planned to celebrate Kwanzaa. In comparison, the total number of people who planned to celebrate Christmas in 2014 was 94.3 percent, compared to 6.3 percent who planned to celebrate Hanukkah. The percentage of people who planned to celebrate Kwanzaa in 2014 was nearly the same as in 2015: 2 percent.

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Coal production and consumption in the U.S.

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Since the onset of industrialization in the 19th century, coal has been an extremely important source of energy. Even now, coal is still one of the leading energy sources. Global coal production amounted to approximately 3.9 billion metric tons of oil equivalent (the production data includes solid fuels, bituminous coal, hard coal, lignite and brown coal).

The United States is ranked second worldwide in coal production and coal consumption. According to Statista.com, the production of coal approximated to over 500 million metric tons in 2013 and 509 million metric tons (in oil equivalent) in 2014. The country’s consumption of coal is lower than its production but is still quite high. Thus, the U.S. consumed coal 453.4 million metric tons of oil equivalent in coal in 2014. In 2013, the number amounted to almost the same figure: 454.6 million metric tons.

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Do Americans spend more time on sports and exercise?

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

In this post, we will explore the American Time Use Survey data to see how much time Americans spend on fitness activities. For some, sports may be considered a type of simple leisure or entertainment, but for many people, they are a serious commitment.

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Innovation in IT: businesses and trends

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

What are the most innovative IT fields? The patent classification system can sometimes be hard to grasp. Additionally, the Patent and Trademark Office has recently finished the transition from one system to another. However, this doesn’t help us follow the hottest topics either. The mapping is available on the official website, but it is purely statistical. This means that you can’t really compare different classifications.

Another approach that we used was determining the topics ourselves. We based our method on applying the Latent Dirichlet Allocation algorithm to the (parsed and stemmed) application abstracts. Granted, this approach is relatively computationally expensive. The results are quite consistent with the original classification, but are, in fact, universal.

Here are the top five topics, based on the entire corpus of IT patent grants.

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Electronic health in the United States

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Electronic health (or simply e-health) can be defined as a range of healthcare-related digital services and devices. These types of services can be used for prevention, diagnosis, treatment and personal health monitoring.

Let’s take a look at the results of a recent survey (as of March 2017) regarding American adults’ awareness of the e-health field. Approximately 10 percent of respondents in the 18-29 age group had some knowledge about e-health. Knowledge about e-health was slightly higher among the 20-45 age group than others (13 percent). Around 9 percent of those surveyed in the 46-60 age group replied, “Yes, I know what e-health is.” The lowest percent of e-health awareness was found among people aged 61 years and older.

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Nike is the leading sports equipment company in the country

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

The United States of America is one of the largest markets for leading sport equipment manufacturers. According to statistics illustrating the number of people who bought sports equipment within the last 12 months in the country from spring 2010 to spring 2015, last year about 36.78 million people purchased sports equipment. This rate was quite similar in autumn 2014, with 36.81 million buyers. In spring 2014, there were about 37.24 million people who bought at least some type of sporting equipment. Overall the total number of buyers in 2013 was approximately 75 million people, compared to 74 million people in 2012.

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Visualizing U.S. utility patents

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Exploring utility patents is no easy task. The system that is currently in place, Cooperative Patent Classification, has its issues. For example, many patent applications include multiple classifications only partially related to the invention itself. This proves useful if you are searching for something specific — on the other hand, it is not as helpful if you are interested in patent mining or visualization.

Luckily, one can easily accomplish most of these tasks with the help of advanced computational techniques. The most promising approach is the use of Natural Language Processing to classify and visualize patents based on their abstracts.

Let’s take a look at the algorithm known as Latent Dirichlet Allocation (or LDA for short). Its primary goal is to find the number of topics that are best suited for classifying a corpus of documents (patents, in our case).

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Are business industries sensitive to climate?

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

The geographic properties of an area often dictate the type of businesses that can locate there. For example, you can’t have an inland naval base. Farms and agriculture, in general, are less likely to prosper on rocky mountains than on sunny plains. But today, with all the technological advancements we have, many jobs in intellectual labor, including IT and finance, hi-tech manufacturing and other new industries seem less likely to depend on climatic features.

To summarize climate features of a territory, we used the existing climate zones classification prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy. Each county is assigned to one of eight climate zones. Definitions of these zones depend not on temperatures, but rather on accumulated heat (the unit is called “degree-days”). Zone 1 has the warmest climate, while zone 8 has the coldest – in the U.S., only certain parts of Alaska belong to this climate zone. We present a map of the climate zones below; you can click to zoom in on a state of interest.

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