The Top 25 Coolest Data Science Terms

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Machine Learning.

Neural Networks.

Hierarchical Clustering.

Does anyone know what these terms really mean? Sure, a handful of nerds know. Like the roughly 50,000 ranked Kaggle members.

But these esoteric terms only scratch the surface of what the world’s data scientists have come up with to describe, promote, and ultimately obfuscate their day to day jobs.

We thought it would be worthwhile to catalog some of the best, but lesser known, terms of art in data science, ranked by how cool they sound.



1      Hyperplane

2      Hyperparameter

3      Gradient Descent

4      Confusion Matrix

5      Softmax

6      Monte Carlo Simulation

7      Multi-armed Bandit

8     The Curse of Dimensionality

9     Naive Bayes

10   Max Pooling

11    Cross-entropy Loss

12   Centroid

13   Axon

14   Hierarchical Clustering

15   P Hat

16   Dendogram

17   Epoch

18   K-fold Cross Validation

19   The Kernel Trick

20  Hidden Layers

21   Rectifier function

22   Artificial Neuron

23   Agglomerative

24   Bootstrapping

25   Lasso


Looking for more? We can’t say that all of these terms sound cool, but KDNuggets has assembled a fairly definitive glossary of 277 data science terms with references and occasional pictures.

And we try to publish a running list of cool terms in the Deducive Twitter feed.


A Note on Methodology

Our rankings are based on a rigorously unscientific process involving opinion, argument, and flights of fancy. However, it is safe to say that many of these terms are growing rapidly in popularity.

We’ve charted Google search trends for the top 5 terms using the gtrendsR package below.

 Source: Google Trends, September 2017

Source: Google Trends, September 2017