Nova: “The Mathematics of Prediction”


Following in the footsteps of its popular program “The Great Math Mystery,” Nova will take viewers on a new mathematical odyssey in “The Mathematics of Prediction,” using graphics to bring numbers to life and exploring real-world examples that illustrate both the power and the challenges of mathematical analysis. Complexity and uncertainty are evident everywhere in the world around us, in natural systems like the weather and in human constructs like the economy. But scientists and mathematicians are constantly working to find meaningful patterns and build better predictive models using old methods like Bayesian probability and new ones like machine-learning algorithms.

Numbers are powerful, but they can also be confusing, and in this era of digital technology and ‘big data,’ it’s easy to feel as though we’re drowning in them. “The Mathematics of Prediction” aims to show Nova viewers “How Not to Be Wrong” (as mathematician Jordan Ellenberg put it in the title of his most recent book) by deploying the right math when we make predictions that materially affect our lives.


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