Blog Archives

Looking for NppToR beta testers.

July 19, 2011
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NppToR 2.6 is coming with improved flexibility and speed. Testers needed before setting as default.

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R on the cloud

July 9, 2011
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Just as scientists should never really have to think much about statistics, I feel that, in an ideal world, statisticians would never have to worry about computing. In the real world, though, we have to spend a lot of time building our own tools.It would be great if we could routinely run R with speed and memory limitations...

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Blog in motion

July 8, 2011
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In the next few days we’ll be changing the format of the blog and moving it to a new server. If you have difficulty posting comments, just wait and post them in a few days when all should be working well. (But if you can post a comment, go for it. All the old entries

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The virtues of incoherence?

July 8, 2011
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Kent Osband writes:

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Descriptive statistics, causal inference, and story time

July 7, 2011
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Dave Backus points me to this review by anthropologist Mike McGovern of two books by economist Paul Collier on the politics of economic development in Africa. My first reaction was that this was interesting but non-statistical so I’d have to either post it on the sister blog or wait until the 30 days of statistics

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Early stopping and penalized likelihood

July 6, 2011
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Early stopping and penalized likelihood

Maximum likelihood gives the beat fit to the training data but in general overfits, yielding overly-noisy parameter estimates that don't perform so well when predicting new data. A popular solution to this overfitting problem takes advantage of the iterative nature of most maximum likelihood algorithms by stopping early. In general, an iterative optimization algorithm goes from a...

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Different goals, different looks: Infovis and the Chris Rock effect

July 5, 2011
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Different goals, different looks:  Infovis and the Chris Rock effect

Seth writes: Here’s my candidate for bad graphic of the year: I studied it and learned nothing. I have no idea how they assigned colors to locations. I already knew that there were more within-city calls than calls to individual distant locations — for example that there are more SF-SF calls than SF-LA calls.

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Questions about quantum computing

July 4, 2011
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I read this article by Rivka Galchen on quantum computing. Much of the article was about an eccentric scientist in his fifties named David Deutch. I’m sure the guy is brilliant but I wasn’t particularly interested in his not particularly interesting life story (apparently he’s thin and lives in Oxford). There was a brief description

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Experimental reasoning in social science

July 2, 2011
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As a statistician, I was trained to think of randomized experimentation as representing the gold standard of knowledge in the social sciences, and, despite having seen occasional arguments to the contrary, I still hold that view, expressed pithily by Box, Hunter, and Hunter (1978) that “To find out what happens when you change something, it

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Weighting and prediction in sample surveys

July 1, 2011
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A couple years ago Rod Little was invited to write an article for the diamond jubilee of the Calcutta Statistical Association Bulletin. His article was published with discussions from Danny Pfefferman, J. N. K. Rao, Don Rubin, and myself. Here it all is.I'll paste my discussion below, but it's worth reading the others' perspectives too. Especially...

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