Blog Archives

Montreal R User Group meetup Nov. 14th

October 29, 2012
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Montreal R User Group meetup Nov. 14th

After a bit of a summer lull, the Montreal R User Group is meeting up again! We’re trying out a new venue this time. Notman House is the home of the web in Montreal. They hold hackathons and other tech user group meetups, and they are all around great people in an all around great

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Introduction to Bayesian lecture: Accompanying handouts and demos

October 19, 2012
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Introduction to Bayesian lecture: Accompanying handouts and demos

I recently posted the slides from a guest lecture that I gave on Bayesian methods for biologists/ecologist. In an effort to promote active learning, the class was not a straight forward lecture, but rather a combination of informational input from me and opportunities for students to engage with the concepts via activities and discussion of

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Introduction to Bayesian Methods guest lecture

October 18, 2012
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Introduction to Bayesian Methods guest lecture

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

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Dark matter benchmarks: All over the map

October 14, 2012
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Dark matter benchmarks: All over the map

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

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

October 13, 2012
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Observing Dark Worlds – Visualizing dark matter’s distorting effect on galaxies

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,

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Padding integers for use in filenames

September 29, 2012
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Padding integers for use in filenames

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

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Continuous dispersal on a discrete lattice

September 27, 2012
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Continuous dispersal on a discrete lattice

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

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Mapping Bike Accidents in R

September 14, 2012
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Mapping Bike Accidents in R

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

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The future of Artificial Intelligence – as imagined in 1989

September 6, 2012
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The future of Artificial Intelligence – as imagined in 1989

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

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Walmart Invasion

August 26, 2012
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Walmart Invasion

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

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