# Blog Archives

## Introduction to Bayesian Methods guest lecture

October 18, 2012
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This is a talk I gave this week in Advanced Biostatistics at McGill. The goal was to provide an gentle introduction to Bayesian methodology and to demonstrate how it is used for inference and prediction. There is a link to an accompanying R script in the slides

## Dark matter benchmarks: All over the map

October 14, 2012
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The three benchmark algorithms for predicting the location of dark matter halos are, for the most part, all over the map. Most of the test skies look something like this: There are, however, some skies with rather strong halo signals that get a decent amount of agreement: The Lenstool MLE algorithm is the current state

## Observing Dark Worlds – Visualizing dark matter’s distorting effect on galaxies

October 13, 2012
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Some people like to do crossword puzzles. I like to do machine learning puzzles. Lucky for me, a new contest was just posted yesterday on Kaggle. So naturally, my lazy Saturday was spent getting elbow deep into the data. The training set consists of a series of ‘skies’, each containing a bunch of galaxies. Normally,

## Padding integers for use in filenames

September 29, 2012
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If you’ve ever written code that generates a whole whack of files, you may have came across the following problem when processing them. Using a naming convention wherein files are numbered will  gum up any ordering which is based on string sorting (ls, for example). What you end up with is something like this: Which

## Continuous dispersal on a discrete lattice

September 27, 2012
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Dispersal is a key process in many domains, and particularly in ecology. Individuals move in space, and this movement can be modelled as a random process following some kernel. The dispersal kernel is simply a probability distribution describing the distance travelled in a given time frame. Since space is continuous, it is natural to use

## Mapping Bike Accidents in R

September 14, 2012
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At last weekend’s Hack Ta Ville event here in Montreal, I joined up with some talented urban planners and web devs to realize Vélobstacles. The idea of the project is to crowd source information on cycling conditions around the city. As with any crowd sourcing project, we were faced with the problem of seeding the

## The future of Artificial Intelligence – as imagined in 1989

September 6, 2012
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This image comes from the cover of Preliminary Papers of the Second International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (1989). Someone abandoned it in the lobby of my building at school. Whatever for, I’ll never know. I just love the idea of machine learning/AI/Statistics evoking a robot hand drawing a best fit line through some

## Walmart Invasion

August 26, 2012
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As an invasion biologist, the process of spatial spread is at the heart of what I do. When I came across this dataset of Walmart store openings since 1962 I couldn’t help but see it as an invasion front which looks a lot like a biological invasion or (albeit slow) epidemic. The video shows monthly

## An update on visualizing Bayesian updating

August 17, 2012
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A while ago I wrote this post with some R code to visualize the updating of a beta distribution as the outcome of Bernoulli trials are observed. The code provided a single plot of this process, with all the curves overlayed on top of one another. Then John Myles White (co-author of Machine Learning for

## The essence of a handwritten digit

August 13, 2012
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If you haven’t yet discovered the competitive machine learning site kaggle.com, please do so now. I’ll wait. Great – so, you checked it out, fell in love and have made it back. I recently downloaded the data for the getting started competition. It consists of 42000 labelled images (28×28) of hand written digits 0-9. The