Time influences our perception of words. If you say data analysis I will imagine a bespectacled person staring at a computer screen full of colourful graphs or maybe some code. While this perception of data analysis is new analytics itself is as old as the human civilization itself. Now, as you are considering an analytics course in India, let us dig out instances of data analytics buried in history.
The clay tablets of Sumer
The Sumerian civilization also known as the Babylonian civilization was one of the first. Human beings started using language and imagining things almost 70,000 years ago. It was called the cognitive revolution. However the first instances of constructive, mathematical writing dates back to 5000 years ago. The clay tablets from Sumer are there in the British museum, They conducted a national census 3000 years before Christ. They did this to use the census data for better distribution of food and better governance in general. Egyptians and later the Chinese did the same. That is some serious descriptive analysis.
The Crimean war and the statistician who revolutionized healthcare
Yes, we are talking about the lady with the lamp herself. Florence Nightingale was a British Statistician born in 1820. She is famous for her services as a nurse during the Crimean war. She created one of the most effective data visualizations. She collected data about soldier deaths and put up an infographic which caught the attention of the rulers. She used the data visualization to promote the importance of hygiene and cleanliness among nurses.
Finding the source of Cholera
Around the same time as Nightingale, Dr. John Snow traced the cholera outbreak in central London to the contamination of water as opposed to the then popular view that cholera spreads through the air. Dr. Snow related the spread of the disease with two companies that distributed water collected from the Thames without any filters. That is some serious
Where to put the armour
Let us talk about American fighter planes during world war II. Planes need armour to survive the onslaught of guns but they cannot put on too much of it lest they lose speed and efficiency. Hungarian mathematician Abraham Wald was assigned with the job to find a solution. So, he analyzed the shot marks on the surviving aircrafts. While most engineers figured that the wings and the fuselage should receive maximum protection as those parts have the most number of bullet marks. Our mathematician, Wald, looked at it differently. He thought the parts that have the most shot marks needed the least amount of protection because he was analyzing planes that had survived. So, he suggested that the parts with the least shot marks receive more protection, and voila!