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January 2015

Welcome Analytica users,

I hope you have had a great start to 2015! In this issue we have MAC Curve generator in the spotlight, advice on how to tame your numbers and some career opportunities at Lumina. Enjoy this issue and please send your ideas and comments. Your feedback is always welcome.

Marie Kjargaard, Newsletter Editor


TIPS & TRICKS: Numbers Gone Rogue
There's a race of men who don't fit in, a race that can't stay still; So they break the hearts of kith and kin and they roam the world at will. -Robert Service
Lurking in the depths of your models lie a special family of number values waiting for an opportunity to emerge. Scoffing at the conformity of more respectable numbers, these nihilistic rogues refuse to quantify anything. You may have seen them on Wanted posters or after attempting to divide by zero. They are known by various aliases. In Analytica we call them NullNaN, and INF. To tame them, you must first understand how they think.

Null is the shy one of the group. He'd rather just not exist, if possible. Array-reducing functions just ignore him:
     Sum([1, 2, Null, 4]) → 7 
     Average([1, 2, Null, 3]) → 6/3 → 2
Null is a no-show when it comes to any kind of graph; you will see blank space in instead. The only way to get any action from him is to let him stand alone as a separate term. In this case he will propagate:
     1 + 2 + Null + 3 → Null.
The ability to not exist is very useful sometimes. When performing regressions, you can use Null for missing values.

NaN stands for "Not a Number" although technically he is really a number, just undefined. He will appear when you invoke imaginary numbers or try to mix numbers with text values. (Analytica supports complex numbers but default settings stick with real numbers only.)
     Sqrt(-1) → NaN
     Sin('Gooseberry') → NaN
NaN likes to propagate if he can: 
     Sum([1, 2, NaN, 3 ]) → NAN
but you can ignore him using an optional parameter in array-reducing functions:
     Sum([1, 2, NaN, 3], IgnoreNaN:True) → 6

INF likes to talk big but he's not the theoretically infinite ideal he imagines himself to be. He's just larger than the largest floating point. He appears upon division by zero. 
     1/0 → INF
     1/INF  → 0
Sometimes he has to yield to NaN, although he hates this rule!
     0*INF  → NaN.
     0/0  → NaN.

For more on these rogues, see Chapter 11 of the User Guide (page 146) and the Analytica Wiki.
http://wiki.lumina.com/index.php/INF,_NAN,_and_Null


Analytica Spotlight: Marginal Abatement Cost Curves
Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC Curves) are a widely used way to prioritize options to reduce (abate) emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases or to reduce energy use. Suppose you want to choose the mitigation options (actions) that abate the most emissions at the least cost. You sort the options by their marginal abatement cost (MAC) -i.e. cost per unit of emissions (or energy) abated. MAC curves show each action as a colored rectangle. Its height is the MAC ($/tCO2 or $/MBTU). Its width is the amount of emissions (or energy) it saves. You can use the MAC curve to select the most cost-effective set of actions to reach a target abatement level or fixed budget.
It's really hard to make MAC Curves in Excel - some say impossible. But, it's easy in Analytica. See Lonnie Chrisman's latest blog post on how. 


Con Edison wins Innovation Award 
Con Edison has been recognized with a 2014 Innovation Award by the Utility Analytics Institute for its Integrated Demand Side Management (IDSM) Potential Model. IDSM is a dynamic Analytica tool to assess the market potential and economics of energy efficiency and demand management options to avoid costs of adding generation capacity to meet growing demand. IDSM was developed with help from Energy and Environmental Economics (E3) and Navigant Consulting. IDSM is groundbreaking in its ability to break down the in-depth analysis into regional electric networks to best match the needs of electric system planners. For more.

 

 

 

 

 

In this Issue

Numbers Gone Rogue

Analytica Spotlight: Marginal Abatement Cost Curves

Con Edison Wins Innovation Award


Careers at Lumina

For the quantitatively-inclined, Lumina is a great place to apply your experience to interesting and important problems. Our current opportunities:

Consultant in energy and environmental analytics
We are looking for an experienced consultant in energy and environmental analytics to lead and grow our consulting group. Should have a graduate degree in science, engineering, or operations research, and several years experience working as a consultant.
 For more.

Software developer
We're looking for a top-notch developer with experience in software design, C++ and Windows development. Desirable skills include Analytica, C#, web services, statistics or machine learning, NSIS, Excel programming, databases, optimization, energy analytics and User Interface design. Prefer someone located in the San Francisco Bay area, but will consider remote developers. For more.

To apply, please send your resume to careers@lumina.com. Principals only.


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Lumina is committed to continuing research and development to bring innovative decision technologies to individuals and organizations.

Lumina Decision Systems, Inc., was founded in 1991 by Max Henrion and Brian Arnold. In order to meet the needs of demanding projects, Lumina often assembles virtual organizations bringing in complementary expertise and resources from affiliated organizations, small and large. 
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