Blog Archives

Statistics doesn’t have to be so hard: simulate!

October 17, 2014
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My second-favourite keynote from yesterday's Strata Hadoop World conference was this one, from Pinterest's John Rauser. To many people (especially in the Big Data world), Statistics is a series of complex equations, but a just a little intuition goes a long way to really understanding data. John illustrates this wonderfully using an example of data collected to determine whether...

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Introducing Revolution R Open and Revolution R Plus

October 15, 2014
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For the past 7 years, Revolution Analytics has been the leading provider of R-based software and services to companies around the globe. Today, we're excited to announce a new, enhanced R distribution for everyone: Revolution R Open. Revolution R Open is a downstream distribution of R from the R Foundation for Statistical Computing. It's built on the R 3.1.1...

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14 Reasons Why R is better than Excel

October 10, 2014
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The Fantasy Football Analytics blog shares these 14 reasons why R is better than Excel for data analysis: More powerful data manipulation capabilities Easier automation Faster computation It reads any type of data Easier project organization It supports larger data sets Reproducibility (important for detecting errors) Easier to find and fix errors It's free It's open source Advanced Statistics...

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In case you missed it: September 2014 Roundup

October 8, 2014
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In case you missed them, here are some articles from September of particular interest to R users. Norm Matloff argues that T-tests shouldn't be part of the Statistics curriculum and questions the "star system" for p-values in R. A nice video introduction to the dplyr package and the %>% operator, presented by Kevin Markham. An animation of police militarization...

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R as a general-purpose language for creating DSLs

October 6, 2014
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As a computer scientist, RStudio's Joe Cheng has some great insights into the R language and how it compares with other programming language. In the interview with DataScience.LA below, he notes that while R is often thought about as a domain-specific language (or DSL), the combination of a functional language with deferred evaluation of functional arguments actually makes it...

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New York Times approachably describes Bayesian Statistics

October 1, 2014
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The New York Times published an article of interest to statisticians the other day: "The Odds, Continually Updated". Surprisingly for a general-audience newspaper, this article goes into the the distinctions between Bayesian and frequentist statistics, and does so in a very approachable way. Here's an excerpt: The essence of the frequentist technique is to apply probability to data. If...

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Video introduction to data manipulation with dplyr

September 29, 2014
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Hadley Wickham's dplyr package is a great toolkit for getting data ready for analysis in R. If you haven't yet taken the plunge to using dplyr, Kevin Markham has put together a great hands-on video tutorial for his Data School blog, which you can see below. The video covers the five main data-manipulation "verbs" that dplyr provides: filter, select,...

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Police militarization in the US, over time

September 26, 2014
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Police militarization in the US, over time

The militarization of local police departments here in the US has been much in the news lately, and the New York Times published in June an in-depth article on how materiel from wars has ended up in the hands of US counties. Besides the traditional reporting it's a fantastic piece of data journalism: the Times submitted a freedom-of-information request...

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Become an effective data hacker with the R-Hadoop stack

September 24, 2014
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In discussion with several data scientists, Will Stanton (a data scientist with Return Path) learned that a common concern is: what software should I be using? There are many options out there, but what is the best platform to be an effective "data hacker"? Will recommends using a technology stack with R and Hadoop, which allows data scientists "to...

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Around the world in 80k miles

September 22, 2014
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Around the world in 80k miles

You're probably familiar with the classic Travelling Salesman problem: given (say) 20 cities, what is shortest route you can take that passes through all 20 cities and returns to the starting point? It's a difficult problem to solve, because you need to try all possible routes to find the minimum, and there are a LOT of possibilities. For a...

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