Blog Archives

A brief foray into parallel processing with R

January 21, 2014
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A brief foray into parallel processing with R

I’ve recently been dabbling with parallel processing in R and have found the foreach package to be a useful approach to increasing efficiency of loops. To date, I haven’t had much of a need for these tools but I’ve started working with large datasets that can be cumbersome to manage. My first introduction to parallel

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Visualizing neural networks in R – update

November 14, 2013
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Visualizing neural networks in R – update

In my last post I said I wasn’t going to write anymore about neural networks (i.e., multilayer feedforward perceptron, supervised ANN, etc.). That was a lie. I’ve received several requests to update the neural network plotting function described in the original post. As previously explained, R does not provide a lot of options for visualizing

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Sensitivity analysis for neural networks

October 7, 2013
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Sensitivity analysis for neural networks

I’ve made quite a few blog posts about neural networks and some of the diagnostic tools that can be used to ‘demystify’ the information contained in these models. Frankly, I’m kind of sick of writing about neural networks but I wanted to share one last tool I’ve implemented in R. I’m a strong believer that

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A nifty area plot (or a bootleg of a ggplot geom)

September 17, 2013
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A nifty area plot (or a bootleg of a ggplot geom)

The ideas for most of my blogs usually come from half-baked attempts to create some neat or useful feature that hasn’t been implemented in R. These ideas might come from some analysis I’ve used in my own research or from some other creation meant to save time. More often than not, my blogs are motivated

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Variable importance in neural networks

August 12, 2013
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Variable importance in neural networks

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I’ve spent some time dabbling with neural networks. As I explained here, I’ve used neural networks in my own research to develop inference into causation. Neural networks fall under two general categories that describe their intended use. Supervised neural networks (e.g., multilayer feed-forward networks)

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(Another) introduction to R

May 27, 2013
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(Another) introduction to R

It’s Memorial Day and my dissertation defense is tomorrow. This week I’m phoning in my blog. I had the opportunity to teach a short course last week that was part of a larger workshop focused on ecosystem restoration. A fellow grad student and I taught a session on Excel and R for basic data analysis.

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Integration take two – Shiny application

May 13, 2013
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Integration take two – Shiny application

My last post discussed a technique for integrating functions in R using a Monte Carlo or randomization approach. The mc.int function (available here) estimated the area underneath a curve by multiplying the proportion of random points below the curve by the total area covered by points within the interval: The estimated integration (bottom plot) is

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Poor man’s integration – a simulated visualization approach

April 29, 2013
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Poor man’s integration – a simulated visualization approach

Every once in a while I encounter a problem that requires the use of calculus. This can be quite bothersome since my brain has refused over the years to retain any useful information related to calculus. Most of my formal training in the dark arts was completed in high school and has not been covered

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How long is the average dissertation?

April 15, 2013
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How long is the average dissertation?

The best part about writing a dissertation is finding clever ways to procrastinate. The motivation for this blog comes from one of the more creative ways I’ve found to keep myself from writing. I’ve posted about data mining in the past and this post follows up on those ideas using a topic that is relevant

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A nifty line plot to visualize multivariate time series

April 1, 2013
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A nifty line plot to visualize multivariate time series

A few days ago a colleague came to me for advice on the interpretation of some data. The dataset was large and included measurements for twenty-six species at several site-year-plot combinations. A substantial amount of effort had clearly been made to ensure every species at every site over several years was documented. I don’t pretend

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