The model-free, data-driven technique discussed here is so basic that it can easily be implemented in Excel, and we actually provide an Excel implementation. It is surprising that this technique does not pre-date standard linear regression, and is rarely if ever used by statisticians and data scientists. It is related to kriging and nearest neighbor interpolation, and apparently first mentioned in 1965 by Harvard scientists working on GIS (geographic information systems). It was referred back then as Shepard’s method or inverse distance weighting, and used for multivariate interpolation on non-regular grids (see here and here). We call this technique simple regression.
Read on to learn more about simple regression, including how to implement it and how it performs.