Blog Archives

The homogenization of scientific computing, or why Python is steadily eating other languages’ lunch

November 18, 2013
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Over the past two years, my scientific computing toolbox been steadily homogenizing. Around 2010 or 2011, my toolbox looked something like this: Ruby for text processing and miscellaneous scripting; Ruby on Rails/JavaScript for web development; Python/Numpy (mostly) and MATLAB (occasionally) for numerical computing; MATLAB for neuroimaging data analysis; R for statistical analysis; R for plotting

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R, the master troll of statistical languages

June 8, 2012
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R, the master troll of statistical languages

Warning: what follows is a somewhat technical discussion of my love-hate relationship with the R statistical language, in which I somehow manage to waste 2,400 words talking about a single line of code. Reader discretion is advised. I’ve been using R to do most of my statistical analysis for about 7 or 8 years now–ever

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correlograms are correlicious

April 6, 2010
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correlograms are correlicious

In the last year or so, I’ve been experimenting with different ways of displaying correlation matrices, and have gotten very fond of color-coded correlograms. Here’s one from a paper I wrote investigating the relationship between personality and word use among bloggers (click to enlarge): The rows reflect language categories from Jamie Pennebaker’s Linguistic Inquiry and

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abbreviating personality measures in R: a tutorial

March 31, 2010
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abbreviating personality measures in R: a tutorial

A while back I blogged about a paper I wrote that uses genetic algorithms to abbreviate personality measures with minimal human intervention. In the paper, I promised to put the R code I used online, so that other people could download and use it. I put off doing that for a long time, because the

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got R? get social science for R!

December 19, 2009
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Drew Conway has a great list of 10 must-have R packages for social scientists. If you’re a social scientist (or really, any kind of scientist) who doesn’t use R, now is a great time to dive in and learn; there are tons of tutorials and guides out there (my favorite is Quick-R, which is incredibly

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