You have reached the personal webpage of Dr. Nathaniel Phillips. I am a data and decision scientist who uses data and analytics to enable informed decisions.

I completed a PhD in experimental psychology with a focus on cognitive models of decision making at the University of Basel, and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the department of Social Psychology and Decision Sciences at the University of Konstanz and the Economic Psychology department at the University of Basel.

I am currently working as a data scientist in the Personalised Healthcare department at Roche.

I am also the co-founder of the Basel R Bootcamp, a organization that teaches novice and experienced programmers alike the joys of the R programming language. To learn more about me, my book YaRrr! The Pirate’s Guide to R, tutorials, R packages, or to check out my blog, click one of the buttons in the Navigation bar.

News Ticker

December 2017

  • New position! I am happy to announce that starting in March 2018, I will be joining the Real World Data Science (RWDS) team at Roche as a Senior Real World Data Analyst! I am really excited about this position as it will allow me to utilize my scientific, programming, and statistical skills to improve patient outcomes. Those of you who know me must be wondering why I’m making such a big change, moving from academic research in psychology to an industry position in healthcare. I could write extensively about this, but for the sake of brevity (I assume you’re into the whole brevity thing), let me get to the main point: In the past years, I’ve become increasingly interested in health care. Why? It’s an area where there is so much potential to do good (and harm). A good health care system is one that helps people live healthier, happier lives at the lowest possible cost. A poor health care system is one that does not increase net health and happiness (e.g.; low treatment effectiveness, many negative side-effects), at a high cost. From reading inspiring books such as Risk Savvy by Gerd Gigerenzer, and The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, that show how decision science can dramatically improve health care, I know this is a field where I can use my skills to really make a difference in peoples’ lives. This is the start of a new journey for me and I’m really excited to see where it takes me. Of course, I will learn much more about the position and exactly what I’ll be working on once I start, but if you’re interested in learning more about how Roche is using real world data to help patients, check out this interview with Niko Andre, the head of Global Medical Affairs at Roche.

October 2017

  • Presentation: INFORMS 2017. On 24 October I had the pleasure of chairing a session titled Simplicity versus Complexity in forecasting and prediction at the 2017 INFORMS operations research conference in Houston TX. This was really an amazing session as I was joined by a fantastic team of researchers: Florian Artinger from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Simply Rational, Dan Goldstein from Microsoft Research and former president of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making and Pantelis Pipergias-Analytis from Cornell. Funnily enough, 3 of the 4 of us independently presented simulation results comparing the accuracy of simple to complex algorithms using datasets from the UCI machine learning inventory (If that’s not convergent validity for a method then I don’t know what is!). You can view the abstracts from our session here, and the slides to my talk on creating fast-and-frugal trees with my FFTrees R package here.

September 2017

  • First BaselRBootcamp: Over the course of two weekends (9, 10, 16, 17) in September, Dr. Dirk Wulff and I hosted our first BaselRBootcamp, a 4 day intensive R course. We had 11 bootcampers coming from both academia and industry, one of whom came all the way from Chile! The bootcamp was a huge success and we look forward hosting the next bootcamp in January of 2018. Registration will be available soon at http://www.therbootcamp.com.

August 2017

July 2017

  • In September I will be co-organizing an intensive 4 day workshop on R called The R Bootcamp in Basel with my long-time colleague Dr. Dirk Wulff. The purpose of the course is to give people with little to no R experience all the tools they need to start their R journey. Cost and registration information is available at our website www.rbootcamp.com

  • This week at the useR! conference in Brussels I will be giving a talk on my package FFTrees that makes it easy for anyone to create, visualize and evaluate fast-and-frugal decision trees. Check out this link to see the abstract and the video link to see the full presentation.

  • I am happy to announce that our paper titled FFTrees: A toolbox to create, visualize, and evaluate fast-and-frugal decision trees has been accepted and is currently in press at the journal of Judgment and Decision Making! I will post a link to the final draft of the paper as soon as it is available (probably in mid-July).