Articles by civilstat

PSA: R’s rnorm() and mvrnorm() use different spreads

June 17, 2016 | civilstat

Quick public service announcement for my fellow R nerds: R has two commonly-used random-Normal generators: rnorm and MASS::mvrnorm. I was foolish and assumed that their parameterizations were equivalent when you’re generating univariate data. But nope: Base R can generate univariate … Continue reading → [Read more...]

Why bother with magrittr

October 31, 2015 | civilstat

I’ve seen R users swooning over the magrittr package for a while now, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of all these scary %__% symbols. Finally I had time for a closer look, and it seems potentially handy indeed. … Continue reading → [Read more...]

Statistical Graphics and Visualization course materials

October 28, 2015 | civilstat

I’ve just finished teaching the Fall 2015 session of 36-721, Statistical Graphics and Visualization. Again, it is a half-semester course designed primarily for students in the MSP program (Masters of Statistical Practice) in the CMU statistics department. I’m pleased that … Continue reading → [Read more...]

“Don’t invert that matrix” – why and how

July 13, 2015 | civilstat

The first time I read John Cook’s advice “Don’t invert that matrix,” I wasn’t sure how to follow it. I was familiar with manipulating matrices analytically (with pencil and paper) for statistical derivations, but not with implementation details in software. … Continue reading → [Read more...]

Two principles approaches to data visualization

July 9, 2015 | civilstat

Yesterday I spoke at Stat Bytes, our student-run statistical computing seminar. My goal was to introduce two principled frameworks for thinking about data visualization: human visual perception and the Grammar of Graphics. (We also covered some relevant R packages: RColorBrewer, … Continue reading → [Read more...]

Reader Morghulis

April 7, 2015 | civilstat

TL;DR: Memento mori. After reading too much Seneca, I’m meditating on death like a statistician, by counting how many of GRRM’s readers did not even survive to see the HBO show (much less the end of the book series). Rough … Continue reading → [Read more...]

Small Area Estimation 101: old materials posted

April 3, 2015 | civilstat

I never got around to polishing my Small Area Estimation (SAE) “101” tutorial materials that I promised a while ago. So here they are, though still unedited and not as clean / self-explanatory as I’d like. The slides introduce a … Continue reading → [Read more...]

Very gentle resource for speeding up R code

March 5, 2015 | civilstat

Nathan Uyttendaele has written a great beginner’s guide to speeding up your R code. Abstract: Most calculations performed by the average R user are unremarkable in the sense that nowadays, any computer can crush the related code in a matter … Continue reading → [Read more...]

Reproducible research, training wheels, and knitr

February 15, 2014 | civilstat

Last week I gave a short talk at CMU’s statistical computing seminar, Stat Bytes. I summarized why reproducible research (RR) and literate programming are worthwhile, not just for serious research but also for homework reports or statistical blog posts. I … Continue reading → [Read more...]

audiolyzR: Data sonification with R

January 13, 2013 | civilstat

In his talk “Give Your Data A Listen” at last summer’s useR! 2012 conference, Eric Stone presented joint work with Jesse Garrison on audiolyzR, an R package for “data sonification.” I thought this was a nifty and well-executed idea. Since I haven’t seen … Continue reading → [Read more...]

Basics of JavaScript and D3 for R Users

October 21, 2012 | civilstat

Hadley Wickham, creator of the ggplot2 R package, has been learning JavaScript and its D3 library for the next iteration of ggplot2 (tentatively titled r2d3?)… so I suspect it’s only a matter of time before he pulls the rest of the … Continue reading → [Read more...]
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