Scott Fortmann-Roe

Model Architect & Software Developer

About

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I build models to solve problems

My work is taking on difficult questions and developing computer simulations and models to answer them. A researcher, I build all sorts of models: simple and large, stochastic and deterministic, conceptual and predictive. Each system and need is different.

I develop custom algorithms, software and interfaces

Off-the-shelf software is great and I use it whenever I can. However, some challenges are just too complex for existing solutions. My work encompasses the entire life-cycle of model construction: from developing special methods to make the best use of the data, to programming the algorithms and model, to developing visualizations and designing accessible interfaces.

Essays


Accurately Measuring Model Prediction Error

When assessing the quality of a model, being able to accurately measure its prediction error is of key importance. Often, however, techniques of measuring error are used that give grossly misleading results. This can lead to the phenomenon of over-fitting where a model may fit the training data very well, but will do a poor job of predicting results for new data not used in model training. Here is an overview of methods to accurately measure model prediction error.    Read →

Understanding the Bias-Variance Tradeoff

When we discuss prediction models, prediction errors can be decomposed into two main subcomponents we care about: error due to "bias" and error due to "variance". There is a tradeoff between a model's ability to minimize bias and variance. Understanding these two types of error can help us diagnose model results and avoid the mistake of over- or under-fitting.   Read →

Research


Publications and Talks

  • Fortmann-Roe S (2013). A New Method for the more Accurate Measurement, Communication and Comparison of Model Errors. Transatlantic Conference on Policy Modeling. Washington DC.
  • Marston D, Mesick C, Hubbard A, Stanton D, Fortmann-Roe S, Tsao S & Heyne T (2012). Delta Flow Factors Influencing Stray Rate of Escaping Adult San Joaquin River Fall-Run Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science. 10(4).
  • Fortmann-Roe S, Starfield R, & Getz WM. (2012). Contingent Kernel Density Estimation. PLoS ONE, 7(2).
  • Nathan R, Spiegel O, Fortmann-Roe S, Harel R, Wikelski M, & Getz WM (2012). Using tri-axial acceleration data to identify behavioral modes of free-ranging animals: general concepts and tools illustrated for griffon vultures. Journal of Experimental Biology, 215(6).
  • Fortmann-Roe S, Nathan R, Spiegel O, Harel R and Getz WM (2011). Machine Learning Prediction of Vulture Behavior Using Accelerometer Data. Conference of the European Society for Mathematical and Theoretical Biology. Poland.
  • Fortmann-Roe S. (2011). Effects of hue, saturation, and brightness on color preference in social networks: Gender-based color preference on the social networking site Twitter. Color Research and Application.
  • Fortmann-Roe S, Iwanejko R, & Wójcik W. (2009) A proposal for a dynamic risk assessment method. Information Systems Architecture and Technology: IT Technologies in Knowledge Oriented Management Process. Ed. Zofia Wilimowska, et al. Biblioteka Informatyki Szkół Wyższych; Wroclaw, pp 17-26. Poland.
  • Fortmann-Roe S & Wójcik W. (2009) Symulacja oraz zarządzanie: aplikacje do optymalnego poziomu dezynfekcji Cryptosporidium. Aktualne zagadnienia w uzdatnianiu i dystrybucji wody 1, 331-340. Poland.
  • Getz WM, Fortmann-Roe S, Cross P, Lyons A, Ryan S, & Wilmers, C. (2007). LoCoH: nonparameteric kernel methods for constructing home ranges and utilization distributions. PLoS ONE, 2(2), 207.

Awards

    National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
    2012 - 2015
    Berkeley Fellowship
    2010 - 2012
    National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship
    2010 (Declined due to overlap)
    Best Paper ISAT Conference
    2009
    Fulbright Fellowship
    2008 - 2009

Featured Modeling Software

Insight Maker: Modeling for everyone

  • Complete web application that lets users build, share and run simulation models.
  • Draw models with standard elements and customize them completely.
  • A large set of built-in modeling functions.
  • Everything is in the web browser, no software download needed.

Simgua: Advanced modeling and simulation

  • Powerful modeling language complemented by intuitive interface.
  • Built-in optimization, sensitivity testing, and QA/QC tools.
  • Scripting language to take complete control of models.
  • Custom, redistributable components with their own interfaces.

Featured Modeling Software

    Insight Maker: Modeling for everyone

    • Complete web application that lets users build, share and run simulation models.
    • Draw models with standard elements and customize them completely.
    • A large set of built-in modeling functions.
    • Everything is in the web browser, no software download needed.

    Simgua: Advanced modeling and simulation

    • Powerful modeling language complemented by intuitive interface.
    • Built-in optimization, sensitivity testing, and QA/QC tools.
    • Scripting language to take complete control of models.
    • Custom, redistributable components with their own interfaces.
I have built many programs using a wide range of technologies and architectures.

Here are two.

Contact

Contact info

Email: Enable JavaScript to see my email

Telephone: (415) 894-5554