When writing our book, Fundamentals of Machine Learning for Predictive Data Analytics (www.machinelearningbook.com), we worked really hard to make the point that prediction can mean a lot of different things. We defined a prediction as “the assignment of a value to any unknown variable“. This is important because it is this broad definition of prediction that allows predictive analytics to be used for so many different applications in so many different industries.
We can illustrate this broad definition of prediction by looking at Kaggle, an online platform for analytics competitions, dataset sharing and discussion about approaches to data analytics problems (and a great resource for honing your predictive data analytics skills). The screenshot below shows a set of competitions from the Kaggle platform that nicely show that different kinds of things we can think about when we think about prediction.