The International Institute of Forecasters, in collaboration with SAS®, has announced the SAS Grants to Support Research on Forecasting for 2009. This will be the seventh year that the Grants have been awarded. There are two Grants of $5,000. See the Researchers Page for more information. See also on the Researchers Page a document listing research needs for forecasting in order to help you identify research topics that are most likely to produce useful findings.

Andreas Graefe developed a tutorial for the site's Delphi freeware in order to brief participants in an experiment. The tutorial is in the form of a PowerPoint show with a voiceover. We think the tutorial will be useful for all users of the software, and we have made it available on the Software Page (see the menu bar at left).

The program schedule for the International Symposium on Forecasting, to be held in Hong Kong on 21-24 June, is now available from the conference web pages.

"Rethinking the Ways We Forecast" is the feature section in the upcoming Summer 2009 issue of FORESIGHT. David Orrell and Patrick McSharry explain why we’ve seen huge breakdowns in our models when we try to forecast complex systems, such as the economy, the weather, and our genetic network. Needed, they argue, are 1) new methodologies that explicitly address key features of complex systems, and 2) a shift of emphasis away from single-point forecasts and toward scenarios of possible futures.

Commentaries from Roy Batchelor and from Paul Goodwin and Robert Fildes punch back, saying, in so many words, “Not so fast -- the new tools haven’t proven themselves and may complexify without improving our forecasts.”

Also in this issue of FORESIGHT:

  • Roy Pearson shows where to find Free and Easy Access to Monthly Forecasts.
  • Jim Hoover shows How to Track Forecast Accuracy to Guide Forecast Process Improvement.
  • Analysts at Hewlett-Packard show how to combine time series, regression, and life-cycle models for Forecasting Demand for Spare Parts.
  • A new column on Sales and Operations Planning, which is perhaps the most significant innovation of this generation in promoting collaborative forecasting.
  • Peter Sephton’s book review of Leonard Mlodinow’s The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives. “If we can better understand the role of randomness in bringing us to where we are now, we can possibly achieve better mastery over our future.”

For more information about Foresight, go to www.forecasters.org/foresight.

The top menu bar now includes a "Principles Checklist" tab. The checklist originates in the Principles of Forecasting handbook as the "Forecasting standards checklist". Clicking on the tab will take you to a new page that provides the option to download any of three versions of the checklist for printing out or copying and filling-in electronically.

Our idea in providing the checklist was that it would be less time-consuming and in some situations more convenient than using the Forecasting Audit Software. The checklist doesn't include the full text of the principles, so users will probably want to have a copy of the Principles of Forecasting handbook handy or a printout of The Principles (see the adjacent tab).

What do you think? Please let us know whether you find this feature useful and how we might improve it.