Alex Tolley

University Lecturer

Alex Tolley: Analysis and Coding Expert

I love analyzing data and finding informative patterns! In business, forecasting is a very important tool for planning. Companies can plan for growth, reduce unnecessary losses, estimate production costs, schedule staff efficiently, arrange for financing. and a host of other tasks that can be done. Forecasting helps increase profits for your business. Because it is so important, employees who can help with forecasting are a valuable asset, so learning how to forecast will lead to salary increases and promotions.


I grew up when computers were big machines in air-conditioned glass rooms attended by a priesthood of computer staff. I wrote my first programs on punch cards. By the late 1970's I was writing programs on an Apple II and was captured by the power of early spreadsheets, like Visicalc and Lotus 1-2-3 to do calculations, test business models and profits. By mid-1980's I was designing spreadsheets to analyze stock market data, analyzing company performance as an analyst and for trading in stock options.

Software Engineering

By the late 1990's, I had turned my interests back to biology, writing enterprise sized applications to do bioinformatics on the newly emerging science of genomics. Despite the power of such systems, spreadsheets remained a useful tool to generate ideas which then could be written in software.


Whether I was supporting businesses by analyzing data, or supporting scientists trying to understand their data, there has been an explosion in data analysis. This has been driven by more capable computers, many more sources of electronic data suitable for analyzing, and many more areas that have data that can be usefully analyzed. I've developed tools and models in a number of my areas of interest.


I have taught at the University of California, offering my insights to both biology and business majors. I love teaching, especially honing my skills in conveying information and knowledge to the next generation. I hope that this enthusiasm shows in this and other courses.

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