A couple weeks ago I sat down with Dr. Paul Nicholas, data scientist at John’s Hopkins University to discuss his unique path in operations research. Dr. Nicholas brings a wealth of knowledge, from analyzing survey data in Afghanistan of local populations while deployed by the US military to working as a fellow at MIT. Our conversation moved from essential tools in a data scientist’s toolkit to briefing strategies when helping clients understand complex solutions. Dr. Nicholas tells interesting stories of what it is like to be on the front lines of operations research and data science.
Bio: Dr. Paul J. Nicholas is an operations research scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU APL). He also teaches a graduate course on analytics and decision analysis as part of GMU’s Data Analytics Engineering (DAEN) program, and serves in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Paul’s research focuses on the use of advanced analytic techniques to examine problems in national security, including large-scale combinatorial optimization, simulation, and data analytics. Paul received his B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy, his M.S. from the Naval Postgraduate School, and his Ph.D. from George Mason University. On active duty, he deployed several times to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of combat operations as a communications officer and operations research analyst. He was a visiting fellow to the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, and an MIT Seminar XXI Fellow. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications and holds two U.S. patents.
Books that Dr. Nicholas recommends:
- Popper Selections by Karl Popper
- How to Measure Anything by Douglas Hubbard
- The Elements of Statistical Learning by Trevor Hastie et al.
Three websites Dr. Nicholas uses to keep current:
Engineering Building, Rm 2100, MS 4A6
George Mason University
Fairfax VA 22030
Email: pnichol6 [at] gmu [dot] edu