Articles by David Robinson

The ‘prisoner coin flipping’ puzzle: tidy simulation in R

May 4, 2020 | David Robinson

Previously in this series The “lost boarding pass” puzzle The “deadly board game” puzzle The “knight on an infinite chessboard” puzzle The “largest stock profit or loss” puzzle The “birthday paradox” puzzle The “Spelling Bee honeycomb” puzzle Feller’s “coin-tossing” puzzle The “spam comments” puzzle I love 538’s Riddler column, ... [Read more...]

Feller’s coin-tossing puzzle: tidy simulation in R

January 17, 2020 | David Robinson

Previously in this series: The “lost boarding pass” puzzle The “deadly board game” puzzle The “knight on an infinite chessboard” puzzle The “largest stock profit or loss” puzzle The “birthday paradox” puzzle I have an interest in probability puzzles and riddles, and especially in simulating them in R. I recently ... [Read more...]

Scientific debt

May 10, 2018 | David Robinson

A very useful concept in software engineering is technical debt. Technical debt occurs when engineers choose a quick but suboptimal solution to a problem, or don’t spend time to build sustainable infrastructure. Maybe they’re using an approach that doesn’t scale well as the team and codebase expand (...
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Data science at DataCamp

April 10, 2018 | David Robinson

In January, I was excited to make an announcement about a shift in my career: I have some exciting news: today I'm joining @DataCamp as their Chief Data Scientist 🎉📊📈 pic.twitter.com/wiN9J4qSjx— David Robinson (@drob) January 29, 2018 When I first discussed the role with the DataCamp CEO, I ...
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Advice to aspiring data scientists: start a blog

November 14, 2017 | David Robinson

Last week I shared a thought on Twitter: When you’ve written the same code 3 times, write a functionWhen you’ve given the same in-person advice 3 times, write a blog post— David Robinson (@drob) November 9, 2017 Ironically, this tweet hints at a piece of advice I’ve given at least 3 dozen ... [Read more...]

Don’t teach students the hard way first

September 21, 2017 | David Robinson

Imagine you were going to a party in an unfamiliar area, and asked the host for directions to their house. It takes you thirty minutes to get there, on a path that takes you on a long winding road with slow traffic. As the party ends, the host tells you “... [Read more...]

Trump’s Android and iPhone tweets, one year later

August 9, 2017 | David Robinson

A year ago today, I wrote up a blog post Text analysis of Trump’s tweets confirms he writes only the (angrier) Android half. My analysis, shown below, concludes that the Android and iPhone tweets are clearly from different people, posting during different times of day and using hashtags, links, ... [Read more...]

Teach the tidyverse to beginners

July 5, 2017 | David Robinson

A few years ago, I wrote a post Don’t teach built-in plotting to beginners (teach ggplot2). I argued that ggplot2 was not an advanced approach meant for experts, but rather a suitable introduction to data visualization. Many teachers suggest I’m overestimating their students: “No, see, my students are ... [Read more...]
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