About Paul

For Dutch: Over Paul van der Laken

I like to mess with data.


I’ve always been fond of puzzles and computers and, over time, this developed into a passion for programming and statistics. I particularly like to develop programs that leverage statistics to automate or optimize decision-making processes and thereby prevent the human biases observed by Ariely, Kahneman, Tetlock, and their colleagues.

In line with these interests, I have been applying data analytics and machine learning professionally as a data scientist for the past six years. My data science career began in the domain of Human Resources. I strongly believe data-driven decision-making can help organizations to attract, develop, motivate, and retain their people more effectively and efficiently. I actually wrote a PhD dissertation on the topic (i.e., People Analytics).

Currently, I am working as data scientist in the income insurance business of Achmea. Next to this, I develop and teach (online) courses in data-driven decision-making, statistical programming, and data visualization, and host this blog of course!

My blog mostly covers topics related to programming, statistics, data visualization, and machine learning. Data visualizations are such an effective tool for communicating the enormous heaps of information generated these days. I particularly like interactive visuals, where users can freely explore patterns, unhampered by the intentions and biases of the original creators. Regarding machine learning, I write about neural network applications in particular. We are truly at the dawn of a new age, with computer algorithms simultaneously solving global issues at an ever-increasing pace as well as causing ethical challenges on a daily basis.