Blog Archives

Queueing up in R, continued

October 20, 2011
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Queueing up in R, continued

Shown above is a queueing simulation. Each diamond represents a person. The vertical line up is the queue; at the bottom are 5 slots where the people are attended. The size of each diamond is proportional to the log of the time it will take them to be attended. Color is used to tell one

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Waiting in line, waiting on R

October 13, 2011
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Waiting in line, waiting on R

I should state right away that I know almost nothing about queuing theory. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to do some queuing simulations. Another reason: when I’m waiting in line at the bank, I tend to do mental calculations for how long it should take me to get served. I look at the

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R: Attack of the hair-trigger bees?

January 12, 2011
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R: Attack of the hair-trigger bees?

In their book “Complex Adaptive Systems”, authors Miller and Page create a theoretic model for bee attacks, based on the real, flying, honey-making, photogenic stingers. Suppose the hive is threatened by some external creature. Some initial group of guard bees sense the danger and fly off to attack. As they go, they lay down a

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Livin’ la Vida Poisson

November 5, 2010
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Livin’ la Vida Poisson

Yes, I did just mix English, Spanish and French. And no, I living the “fishy” life, popular opinion to the contrary. Here’s the story. As someone who spends the majority of his time working online, with no oversight, I notice that I tend to drift a lot. I don’t play solitaire, or farm for virtual

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Weekend art in R (Part 4)

September 4, 2010
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Weekend art in R (Part 4)

Computer creations are perfect by design. We put in numbers, and if all goes well we get out an exact result. If we want a line, we want it perfectly straight. If we want a circle, it should conform to the platonic ideal of a circle. From a mathematical standpoint, these perfect shapes and precisely

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The Chosen One

August 30, 2010
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The Chosen One

Toss one hundred different balls into your basket. Shuffle them up and select one with equal probability amongst the balls. That ball you just selected, it’s special. Before you put it back, increase its weight by 1/100th. Then put it back, mix up the balls and pick again. If you do this enough, at some

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Weekend art in R (Part 3)

August 21, 2010
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Weekend art in R (Part 3)

I have a few posts nearing completion, but meanwhile a weekend break for art. Big thanks to Simon Urbanek and Jeffrey Horner, creators of Cairo, a library for the programming language R. Have you noticed how R can’t anti-alias (fancy way for saying smooth out lines and curves when creating a bit-mapped image)? Cairo can.

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R: Clash of the cannon cycles

July 19, 2010
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R: Clash of the cannon cycles

Imagine a unit square. Every side has length 1, perfectly square. Now imagine this square was really a fence, and you picked two spots at random along the fence, with uniform probability over the length of the fence. At each of these two locations, set down a special kind of cannon. Just like the light

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100 Prisoners, 100 lines of code

July 9, 2010
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100 Prisoners, 100 lines of code

In math and economics, there is a long, proud history of placing imaginary prisoners into nasty, complicated scenarios. We have, of course, the classic Prisoner’s Dilemma, as well as 100 prisoners and a light bulb. Add to that list the focus of this post, 100 prisoners and 100 boxes. In this game, the warden places

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Entropy augmentation the modulo way

June 29, 2010
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Entropy augmentation the modulo way

Long before I had heard about the connection between entropy and probability theory, I knew about it from the physical sciences. This is most likely how you met it, too. You heard that entropy in the universe is always increasing, and, if you’re like me, that made very little sense. Then you may have heard

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