The Independent Variable - Matt Haugland

Thursday, December 20, 2007

WxChallenge update

Computers now can compete well with humans in weather forecasting.

The first half of the WxChallenge forecasting contest is over, and the results are extremely encouraging.

My 6AM and 4PM model runs are currently ranked #123 and #78, out of 1322 forecasters. To put that in perspective, the next best computer model is #427 and the National Weather Service is #426. On the human side, the OU team is ranked #188 and (sorry, can't resist) Penn State is #227 and Texas A&M is down at #729.

Still a long way to go to catch up to the top forecaster (a professor I know from SJSU, an amazing forecaster) and the top team (MIT). But I'm continuing to improve the model so hopefully the second half will be even better.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ice Storm of 2007

A major ice storm hit central Oklahoma yesterday and today. Parts of Norman looks almost like a tornado went through. Fortunately, my land was far enough east to miss the brunt of it. Amazingly, most of my thousands of brittle oak trees are still in good shape! But in town it's a different story. It's hard to find a single undamaged tree in Norman.

Here are some pictures from around my neighborhood today...

The power is finally back on, at least at my house.

Monday, December 03, 2007

BCS Bowls

As a Sooner fan, I'm of course a little disappointed that OU didn't make it to the National Championship game. But I wasn't expecting them to make it, and I think LSU deserved it a little more (too bad the Big 10 was so awful this year, Ohio State should be a 3-loss team). I am actually very happy with how the BCS bowls shaped up.

I was very unhappy with the projections of OU vs. Kansas (Fiesta) and West Virginia vs. VA Tech (Orange). I wanted to see OU play a good team from a different conference, and I wanted to see how Kansas would do against a good team from a different conference. OU and KU will play each other next year anyway. I also wouldn't have been too happy to see OU play Arizona State or Hawaii. Also, WV and VT would've been no fun to watch, just two overrated teams from bad conferences and I wouldn't have cared which team won.

OU vs. WV will be very interesting. I don't think WV matches up very will against OU. They haven't played anyone who comes close to OU, and I think they will be exposed in this game. But they are respected nationally, and it would be a good win for OU. I'm very excited to see how Kansas does against a good non-Big12 opponent. VA Tech might be overrated (at #3 in the BCS) but they are a very good team. I'd LOVE to see Kansas win this one.

I'm also very excited about the Sugar Bowl. Hawaii hasn't played anyone this year (okay, one exception, I know some Boise State fans are reading this, BSU was good but not like last year). I have no idea how they'll do against Georgia (the Dawgs will probably be favored by ~10), but can't wait to see how this one turns out.

The only big disappointment is Missouri. As much as I'd rather see Kansas in the Orange Bowl, Missouri was more deserving -- they beat Kansas and Illinois (who'll be in the Rose Bowl), and are ranked higher than KU. I would've rather seen them play in the Holiday Bowl (my favorite bowl game) against #11 Arizona State instead of the Cotton Bowl against unranked Arkansas. I'd rather see someone like #24 Boise State or #21 South Florida play Arkansas, with Missouri in the Holiday Bowl and Texas vs. Tennessee in the Cotton. Anyway, I can't complain because they are so many other exciting matchups this year!