Blog Archives

Teaser trailer for the Genomic Data Science Specialization on Coursera

March 26, 2015
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  We have been hard at work in the studio putting together our next specialization to launch on Coursera. It will be called the "Genomic Data Science Specialization" and includes a spectacular line up of instructors: Steven Salzberg, Ela Pertea, James Taylor, Liliana Florea, Kasper Hansen, and me. The specialization will cover command line tools, statistics,

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A surprisingly tricky issue when using genomic signatures for personalized medicine

March 19, 2015
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A surprisingly tricky issue when using genomic signatures for personalized medicine

My student Prasad Patil has a really nice paper that just came out in Bioinformatics (preprint in case paywalled). The paper is about a surprisingly tricky normalization issue with genomic signatures. Genomic signatures are basically statistical/machine learning functions applied to the measurements for a set of genes to predict how long patients will survive, or how they

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A simple (and fair) way all statistics journals could drive up their impact factor.

March 18, 2015
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Hypothesis: If every method in every stats journal was implemented in a corresponding R package (easy), was required to have a  companion document that was a tutorial on how to use the software (easy), included a reference to how to cite the paper if you used the software (easy) and the paper/tutorial was posted to

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Data science done well looks easy – and that is a big problem for data scientists

March 17, 2015
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Data science has a ton of different definitions. For the purposes of this post I'm going to use the definition of data science we used when creating our Data Science program online. Data science is: Data science is the process of formulating a quantitative question that can be answered with data, collecting and cleaning the

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De-weaponizing reproducibility

March 13, 2015
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A couple of weeks ago Roger and I went to a conference on statistical reproducibility held at the National Academy of Sciences. The discussion was pretty wide ranging and I love that the thinking about reproducibility is coming back to statistics. There was pretty widespread support for the idea that prevention is the right way to approach

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The elements of data analytic style – so much for a soft launch

March 3, 2015
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The elements of data analytic style – so much for a soft launch

Editor's note: I wrote a book called Elements of Data Analytic Style. Buy it on Leanpub or Amazon! If you buy it on Leanpub, you get all updates (there are likely to be some) for free and you can pay what you want (including zero) but the author would be appreciative if you'd throw a

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Navigating Big Data Careers with a Statistics PhD

February 18, 2015
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Editor's note: This is a guest post by Sherri Rose. She is an Assistant Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. Her work focuses on nonparametric estimation, causal inference, and machine learning in health settings. Dr. Rose received her BS in statistics from The George Washington University and her PhD in

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The trouble with evaluating anything

February 10, 2015
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It is very hard to evaluate people's productivity or work in any meaningful way. This problem is the source of: Consternation about peer review The reason why post publication peer review doesn't work Consternation about faculty evaluation Major problems at companies like Yahoo and Microsoft. Roger and I were just talking about this problem in the

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Early data on knowledge units – atoms of statistical education

February 5, 2015
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Early data on knowledge units – atoms of statistical education

Yesterday I posted about atomizing statistical education into knowledge units. You can try out the first knowledge unit here: https://jtleek.typeform.com/to/jMPZQe. The early data is in and it is consistent with many of our hypotheses about the future of online education. Namely: Completion rates are high when segments are shorter You can learn something about statistics in

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Knowledge units – the atoms of statistical education

February 4, 2015
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Editor's note: This idea is Brian's idea and based on conversations with him and Roger, but I just executed it. The length of academic courses has traditionally ranged between a few days for a short course to a few months for a semester-long course.  Lectures are typically either 30 minutes or one hour. Term and lecture lengths

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