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Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Rainfall, Data Structures, Sequences (Introduction to Statistical Computing)
In which we practice working with data frames, grapple with some of the subtleties of R's system of data types, and think about how to make sequences. (Hidden agendas: data cleaning; practice using R Markdown; practice reading R help files) Assignment, due at 11:59 pm on Thursday, 4 September 2014 Introduction to Statistical Computing
1848 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Lab: Exponentially More Fun (Introduction to Statistical Computing)
In which we play around with basic data structures and convince ourself that the laws of probability are, in fact, right. (Or perhaps that R's random number generator is pretty good.) Also, we learn to use R Markdown. — Getting everyone randomly matched for pair programming with a deck of cards worked pretty well. It would have worked better if the university's IT office hadn't broken R on the lab computers. Lab (and its R Markdown source) Introduction to Statistical Computing
1848 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Bigger Data Structures (Introduction to Statistical Computing)
Matrices as a special type of array; functions for matrix arithmetic and algebra: multiplication, transpose, determinant, inversion, solving linear systems. Using names to make calculations clearer and safer: resource-allocation mini-example. Lists for combining multiple types of values; access sub-lists, individual elements; ways of adding and removing parts of lists. Lists as key-value pairs. Data frames: the data structure for classic tabular data, one column per variable, one row per...
1848 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Introduction to the Course; Basic Data Types (Introduction to Statistical Computing)
Introduction to the course: statistical programming for autonomy, honesty, and clarity of thought. The functional programming idea: write code by building functions to transform input data into desired outputs. Basic data types: Booleans, integers, characters, floating-point numbers. Operators as basic functions. Variables and names. Related pieces of data are bundled into larger objects called data structures. Most basic data structures: vectors. Some vector manipulations. Functions of...
1851 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Class Announcement: 36-350, Statistical Computing, Fall 2014
Fourth time is charm: 36-350, Statistical Computing Instructors: Yours truly and Andrew Thomas Description: Computational data analysis is an essential part of modern statistics. Competent statisticians must not just be able to run existing programs, but to understand the principles on which they work. They must also be able to read, modify and write code, so that they can assemble the computational tools needed to solve their data-analysis problems, rather than distorting problems to fit...
1851 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, July 2014
Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. Stephen King, Eyes of the Dragon Mind candy. I really liked it when I was a boy, and on re-reading it's not been visited by the Suck Fairy, but I did come away with two thoughts. (1) I'd have been very interested to see what a writer with drier view of political power would have done with the story elements (the two princes, the evil magician, the exiled nobles) — Cherryh, say, or Elizabeth Bear. (2) Speaking of which, it's striking how...
1851 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled A Statement from the Editorial Board of the Journal of Evidence-Based Haruspicy
Attention conservation notice: Leaden academic sarcasm about methodology. The following statement was adopted unanimously by the editorial board of the journal, and reproduced here in full: We wish to endorse, in its entirety and without reservation, the recent essay "On the Emptiness of Failed Replications" by Jason Mitchell. In Prof. Mitchell's field, scientists attempt to detect subtle patterns of association between faint environmental cues and measured behaviors, or to relate remote...
1897 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Accumulated Bookchat
Attention conservation notice: I have no taste, and I am about to recommend a lot of books. Somehow, I've not posted anything about what I've been reading since September. So: have October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May, and June.
1902 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, May 2014
Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. Robert Hughes, Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History As the subtitle suggests, a bit of a grab-bag of Hughes talking about Rome, or Rome-related, subjects, seemingly as they caught his attention. Thus the chapter on ancient Rome contains a mix of recitals of the legends, archaeological findings, the military history of the Punic Wars (including a description of the corvus filled with what I recognize as school-boy enthusiasm), the...
1902 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, June 2014
Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. Plato, The Republic I had a teacher in junior high who had the good idea, when I was bored, of making me read philosophers and political writers he thought I'd violently disagree with, and forcing me to explain why I thought they were wrong. The ones which stuck with me were Ayn Rand and Plato. I did indeed disagree furiously with both of them (I'd already imprinted on orcs), but they became part of the, as it were, invisible jury in my head...
1902 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, April 2014
Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. Chris Willrich, Scroll of Years Mind candy fantasy. The blurbs are over the top, but it is fun and decidedly better-written than average. Mildly orientalist, though in a respectful mode. Matthew Bogart, The Chairs' Hiatus Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios, Pretty Deadly Joe Harris, Great Pacific: 1, Trashed; 2, Nation Building Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Saga, vols. 2 and 3 L. Frank Weber, Bikini Cowboy Terry LaBan, Muktuk...
1902 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, March 2013
Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Avon Oeming, et al. Powers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14) Comic book mind candy, at the super-hero/police-procedural interface. Martha Wells, The Fall of Ile-Rien (The Wizard Hunters, The Ships of Air, The Gate of Gods) Mind candy. I read these when they were first published, a decade ago, and re-visited them when they came out as audiobooks. They remain unusually smart fantasy with...
1902 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, February 2014
Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. To exemplify this, the theme for the month was finally getting a tablet, and so indulging in a taste for not very sophisticated comic books. John Rogers et al., Dungeons and Dragons: Shadowplague, First Encounters, Down Comic book mind candy. It is with praise and affection that I say it made me want to play D&D again. Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir, Christopher Mitten, and Bill Crabtree, Bad Medicine Lora Innes, The Dreamer, 1: The...
1902 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, January 2014
Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. William M. Arkin, American Coup Arkin has something to say about the self-perpetuating and dubiously-constitutional national security bureaucracy its dim views of actual democracy, and its apparent day-dreams about martial law. Unfortunately, after reading this I'm hard-pressed to tell you exactly what he wants to say. Definitely inferior to Top-Secret America. Gene Wolfe, The Shadow of the Torturer This is the first volume of The Book of the...
1902 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, December 2013
MathJax.Hub.Config({ tex2jax: {inlineMath: [['$','$'], ['\$','\$']]} }); MathJax.Hub.Config({ TeX: { equationNumbers: { autoNumber: "AMS" } } }); Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. Julia Spencer-Fleming, Through Evil Days Continuation of the long-running series. Pulls off the trick of making domestic troubles, ice storms, and not-very-bright criminals equally threatening. (Previously.) Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong Comic-book...
1902 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled Notes on "Collective Stability in Structured Prediction: Generalization from One Example" (or: Small Pieces, Loosely Joined)
MathJax.Hub.Config({ tex2jax: {inlineMath: [['$','$'], ['\$','\$']]} }); MathJax.Hub.Config({ TeX: { equationNumbers: { autoNumber: "AMS" } } }); $\newcommand{\Prob}[1]{\mathbb{P}\left( #1 \right)} \newcommand{\Expect}[1]{\mathbb{E}\left[ #1 \right]} \newcommand{\zprime}{z^{\prime}} \newcommand{\Zprime}{Z^{\prime}} \newcommand{\Eta}{H} \newcommand{\equdist}{\stackrel{d}{=}} \newcommand{\indep}{\mathrel{\perp\llap{\perp}}}$ Attention conservation notice: 2700+ words, expounding...
1914 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled "Proper scoring rules and linear estimating equations in exponential families" (Next Week at the Statistics Seminar)
Attention conservation notice: Only of interest if you (1) care about estimating complicated statistical models, and (2) will be in Pittsburgh on Monday. Steffen Lauritzen, "Proper scoring rules and linear estimating equations in exponential families" Abstract: In models of high complexity, the computational burden involved in calculating the maximum likelihood estimator can be forbidding. Proper scoring rules (Brier 1950, Good 1952, Bregman 1967, de Finetti 1975) such as the logarithmic...
1998 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled "The Neglect of Fluctuations in the Thermodynamics of Computation" (Next Week at the Energy and Information Seminar)
Lo these many years ago, I blogged about how a paper of John Norton's had led me to have doubts about Landauer's Principle. Prof. Norton has continued to work on this topic, and I am very happy to share the news about his upcoming talk at CMU's "Energy and Information" seminar: John D. Norton, "The Neglect of Fluctuations in the Thermodynamics of Computation" Abstract: The thermodynamics of computation assumes that thermodynamically reversible processes can be realized arbitrarily closely at...
2015 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled "Unifying the Counterfactual and Graphical Approaches to Causality" (Tomorrow at the Statistics Seminar)
Attention conservation notice: Late notice of an academic talk in Pittsburgh. Only of interest if you care about the places where the kind of statistical theory that leans on concepts like "the graphical Markov property" merges with the kind of analytical metaphysics which tries to count the number of possibly fat men not currently standing in my doorway. A great division in the field of causal inference in statistics is between those who like to think of everything in terms of "potential...
2026 days ago
Three-Toed Sloth wrote a new blog post titled On Getting Tenure
Attention conservation notice: Navel-gazing by a middle-aged academic. I got tenure a few weeks ago. (Technically it takes effect in July.) The feedback from the department and university which accompanied the decision was gratifyingly positive, and I'm pleased that blogging didn't hurt me at all, and perhaps even helped. I got here with the help of a lot of mentors, colleagues, and friends (not a few of whom I met through this blog), and I feel some vindication on their behalf. For...
2030 days ago