# How relevant are stochastic modeling and stochastic control to data science?

 1 Hi, I am a graduate student at Stanford, and I was wondering how much knowledge of Stochastic Modeling and Stochastic Control would help me as I get into data sciences as a career. Have to decide on my coursework for the quarter. Would appreciate if somebody could shed some light on how widely used these are. Thanks! asked 04 Apr '14, 20:02 shadowblade360 181●9●16 accept rate: 0%

 4 I would say this is a wide open question. The only right answer would be 'It depends'. I assume that the courses will teach you... Stochastic modeling - Basic probability theory, Markov chain, Queueing theory, (Maybe Markov decision process and/or Brownian motion) Stochastic Control - MDP, Bellman function in terms of PDE, HJB equation... I would take Stochastic Modeling, even though it will not be directly related to data analysis techniques. (there could be some overlaps because statistics and probability are related a lot) Most of case, when you get the data, the data would be from some systems and a lot of cases from stochastic systems. So, if you don't have any knowledge on Stochastic system, data analysis itself can go wrong or the result can be interpreted in wrong way. I would NOT take Stochastic Control unless interested in this topic. It is continuous version of Markov decision process. It requires knowledge of stochastic modeling as a prerequisite. Due to the continuous state variables, you need to use PDE (partial differential equation). This would be one of most attractive areas in stochastic optimization. But, again it doesn't directly help to learn data analysis techniques, And it is not required to understand the system in most cases. However, as I mentioned, it all depends. You don't know what kind of data you will handle and the data is from what kind of systems. answered 06 Apr '14, 16:13 ksphil 667●1●8 accept rate: 14% Thanks for the advice! This really helps. I was also wondering if it is a good idea to go for either of the courses at all. If stochastic modeling isnt too useful for a career in data science, I might as well not take it up. Do you think there is a solid benefit to be gained here (subjective obviously)? (07 Apr '14, 00:37) shadowblade360 1 Again it depends. If you find other courses interesting or related to data analysis, you don't want to scarifies the opportunity to take those courses in order to take 'stochastic model'. (07 Apr '14, 10:09) ksphil Thanks for the advice! This helps a ton! :) (08 Apr '14, 02:09) shadowblade360
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