Blog Archives

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

June 17, 2016
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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 →

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Data sanity checks: Data Proofer (and R analogues?)

May 20, 2016
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I just heard about Data Proofer (h/t Nathan Yau), a test suite of sanity-checks for your CSV dataset. It checks a few basic things you’d really want to know but might forget to check yourself, like whether any rows are … Continue reading →

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Why bother with magrittr

October 31, 2015
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Why bother with magrittr

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 →

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Statistical Graphics and Visualization course materials

October 28, 2015
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Statistical Graphics and Visualization course materials

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 →

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About to teach Statistical Graphics and Visualization course at CMU

August 31, 2015
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About to teach Statistical Graphics and Visualization course at CMU

I’m pretty excited for tomorrow: I’ll begin teaching the Fall 2015 offering of 36-721, Statistical Graphics and Visualization. This is a half-semester course designed primarily for students in our MSP program (Masters in Statistical Practice). A large part of the … Continue reading →

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

July 13, 2015
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“Don’t invert that matrix” – why and how

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 →

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Two principles approaches to data visualization

July 9, 2015
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Two principles approaches to data visualization

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 →

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DotCity: a game written in R? and other statistical computer games?

June 28, 2015
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DotCity: a game written in R? and other statistical computer games?

A while back I recommended Nathan Uyttendaele’s beginner’s guide to speeding up R code. I’ve just heard about Nathan’s computer game project, DotCity. It sounds like a statistician’s minimalist take on SimCity, with a special focus on demographic shifts in … Continue reading →

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Reader Morghulis

April 7, 2015
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Reader Morghulis

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 →

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Small Area Estimation 101: old materials posted

April 3, 2015
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Small Area Estimation 101: old materials posted

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 →

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