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Three-Toed Sloth's Blog

Rainfall, Data Structures, Sequences (Introduction to Statistical Computing)

August 29, 2014 Comments (0)

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

Lab: Exponentially More Fun (Introduction to Statistical Computing)

August 29, 2014 Comments (0)

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

Bigger Data Structures (Introduction to Statistical Computing)

August 29, 2014 Comments (0)

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...

Introduction to the Course; Basic Data Types (Introduction to Statistical Computing)

August 26, 2014 Comments (0)

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...

Class Announcement: 36-350, Statistical Computing, Fall 2014

August 26, 2014 Comments (0)

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...

Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, July 2014

August 26, 2014 Comments (0)

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...

A Statement from the Editorial Board of the Journal of Evidence-Based Haruspicy

July 11, 2014 Comments (0)

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...

Accumulated Bookchat

July 6, 2014 Comments (0)

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.

Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, June 2014

July 6, 2014 Comments (0)

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...

Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, May 2014

July 6, 2014 Comments (0)

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...