Share with your friends


Analytics Magazine

Five-Minute Analyst: Hamilton and duels

Harrison SchrammBy Harrison Schramm

I have, like many others, been caught up in the Hamilton craze. Duels are a central feature of the Broadway show, with three prominently featured, two of which were fatal. Since neither I nor Analytics editor Peter Horner have been able to procure tickets via the normal means, we will have to settle for the next best thing – math about Hamilton. Below is a letter that I imagine written by a statistician to a number theorist who had offended him. Should Peter receive tickets before I do, I may challenge him to a duel.

Table 1: Recorded U.S. duels and outcomes.

Table 1: Recorded U.S. duels and outcomes.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you this evening to express my displeasure over your recent Twitter comments, particularly your insinuations regarding the insignificance of my p-value.

Dueling has had a long and storied history among mathematicians. As you are no doubt pondering your impending death, I would like to remind you of the story of French luminary Evariste Galois. When challenged to deadly conflict, he spent his last night on this earth as I imagine you will, preparing his treatise on group theory. It is this treatise for which he is now remembered. The name of the woman involved – if it was truly a woman at all – is forgotten to history. Upon taking the field, he was shot dead by his rival. It would seem that you and your fellow number theorists should keep to your pencils, but the handling of weapons should be relegated to other men.

In any event, I look forward to admiring the brilliance of your contribution post-mortem. I will certainly take pride in having forced the brilliance from your mind before I force the blood from your veins.

Now to matters at hand. I have produced a representative list of duels and their outcomes for your consideration (see Table 1).”

As you wisely eschew operations with actual data (a policy you should have adopted for actual weapons), I will summarize for you: There is a 70 percent chance that our duel, should it be consummated, will be fatal for at least one party. Should you somehow escape death, you will see that there will be a 22 percent chance of horrific maiming, which I would find satisfying in its own right.

You may take some comfort knowing that depending on the year, the fatality of our encounter is variable, with fatality minimized before the U.S. Civil War (Figure 1). I have no explanation for this observation, save that perhaps mangy curs such as yourself showed more forbearance.

Figure 1: Fatality by duel year.

Figure 1: Fatality by duel year.

To summarize, I demand satisfaction.

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
H. Schramm

Harrison Schramm (, CAP, PStat, is a principal operations research analyst at CANA Advisors, LLC, and a member of INFORMS.

Analytics data science news articles

Analytics data science news articlesAnalytics data science news articlesSave


Related Posts

  • 61
    Big data analytics is increasingly becoming a trending practice that society is adopting, and Daniel Kunin, a scholar at Stanford University and the creator of the online platform, Seeing Theory, is using creative and innovative ways to teach statistics and probability relevant to a changing world. In a recent interview with…
    Tags: statistics, math, theory, data, analytics
  • 45
    Benjamin Franklin offered this sage advice in the 18th century, but he left one key question unanswered: How? How do you successfully drive a business? More specifically, how do you develop the business strategy drivers that incite a business to grow and thrive? The 21st-century solution has proven to be…
    Tags: data, analytics, will
  • 43
    The CUNY School of Professional Studies is offering a new online master of science degree in data analytics. The program prepares its graduates for high-demand and fast-growing careers as data analysts, data specialists, business intelligence analysts, information analysts and data engineers in such fields as business, operations, marketing, social media,…
    Tags: data, analytics
  • 42
    July/August 2013 O.R. vs. analytics … and now data science? By Brian Keller In a 2010 survey [1], members of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) were asked to compare operations research (O.R.) and analytics. Thirty percent of the respondents stated, “O.R. is a subset of…
    Tags: data, analytics, operations
  • 40
    Most business leaders today believe in the value of using data and analytics (D&A) throughout their organizations, but say they lack confidence in their ability to measure the effectiveness and impact of D&A, and mistrust the analytics used to help drive decision-making, according to a new survey from KPMG International.
    Tags: analytics, percent, data


Using machine learning and optimization to improve refugee integration

Andrew C. Trapp, a professor at the Foisie Business School at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), received a $320,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop a computational tool to help humanitarian aid organizations significantly improve refugees’ chances of successfully resettling and integrating into a new country. Built upon ongoing work with an international team of computer scientists and economists, the tool integrates machine learning and optimization algorithms, along with complex computation of data, to match refugees to communities where they will find appropriate resources, including employment opportunities. Read more →

Gartner releases Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 rankings

Gartner, Inc. has released its 10th annual Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 ranking. The rankings recognize organizations across the healthcare value chain that demonstrate leadership in improving human life at sustainable costs. “Healthcare supply chains today face a multitude of challenges: increasing cost pressures and patient expectations, as well as the need to keep up with rapid technology advancement, to name just a few,” says Stephen Meyer, senior director at Gartner. Read more →

Meet CIMON, the first AI-powered astronaut assistant

CIMON, the world’s first artificial intelligence-enabled astronaut assistant, made its debut aboard the International Space Station. The ISS’s newest crew member, developed and built in Germany, was called into action on Nov. 15 with the command, “Wake up, CIMON!,” by German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, who has been living and working on the ISS since June 8. Read more →



INFORMS Computing Society Conference
Jan. 6-8, 2019; Knoxville, Tenn.

INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research
April 14-16, 2019; Austin, Texas

INFORMS International Conference
June 9-12, 2019; Cancun, Mexico

INFORMS Marketing Science Conference
June 20-22; Rome, Italy

INFORMS Applied Probability Conference
July 2-4, 2019; Brisbane, Australia

INFORMS Healthcare Conference
July 27-29, 2019; Boston, Mass.

2019 INFORMS Annual Meeting
Oct. 20-23, 2019; Seattle, Wash.

Winter Simulation Conference
Dec. 8-11, 2019: National Harbor, Md.


Advancing the Analytics-Driven Organization
Jan. 28–31, 2019, 1 p.m.– 5 p.m. (live online)


CAP® Exam computer-based testing sites are available in 700 locations worldwide. Take the exam close to home and on your schedule:

For more information, go to