Blog Archives

Trimming the Fat from glm() Models in R

May 30, 2014
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Trimming the Fat from glm() Models in R

One of the attractive aspects of logistic regression models (and linear models in general) is their compactness: the size of the model grows in the number of coefficients, not in the size of the training data. With R, though, glm models are not so concise; we noticed this to our dismay when we tried to […] Related posts: Generalized linear models for predicting rates Bad Bayes: an example of why…

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Bandit Formulations for A/B Tests: Some Intuition

April 24, 2014
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Bandit Formulations for A/B Tests: Some Intuition

Controlled experiments embody the best scientific design for establishing a causal relationship between changes and their influence on user-observable behavior. – Kohavi, Henne, Sommerfeld, “Practical Guide to Controlled Experiments on the Web” (2007) A/B tests are one of the simplest ways of running controlled experiments to evaluate the efficacy of a proposed improvement (a new […] Related posts: Unit tests as penance How to test XCOM “dice rolls” for fairness…

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Practical Data Science with R: Release date announced

March 26, 2014
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Practical Data Science with R: Release date announced

It took a little longer than we’d hoped, but we did it! Practical Data Science with R will be released on April 2nd (physical version). The eBook version will follow soon after, on April 15th. You can preorder the pBook now on the Manning book page. The physical version comes with a complimentary eBook version […] Related posts: Data Science, Machine Learning, and Statistics: what is in a name? Setting…

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The Statistics behind “Verification by Multiplicity”

March 2, 2014
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The Statistics behind “Verification by Multiplicity”

There’s a new post up at the ninazumel.com blog that looks at the statistics of “verification by multiplicity” — the statistical technique that is behind NASA’s announcement of 715 new planets that have been validated in the data from the Kepler Space Telescope. We normally don’t write about science here at Win-Vector, but we do […] Related posts: “I don’t think that means what you think it means;” Statistics to…

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The Extra Step: Graphs for Communication versus Exploration

January 12, 2014
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The Extra Step: Graphs for Communication versus Exploration

Visualization is a useful tool for data exploration and statistical analysis, and it’s an important method for communicating your discoveries to others. While those two uses of visualization are related, they aren’t identical. One of the reasons that I like ggplot so much is that it excels at layering together multiple views and summaries of […] Related posts: Revisiting Cleveland’s The Elements of Graphing Data in ggplot2 My Favorite Graphs…

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Big News! Practical Data Science with R is content complete!

December 19, 2013
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Big News! Practical Data Science with R is content complete!

The last appendix has gone to the editors; the book is now content complete. What a relief! We are hoping to release the book late in the first quarter of next year. In the meantime, you can still get early drafts of our chapters through Manning’s Early Access program, if you haven’t yet. The link […] Related posts: Data science project planning Data Science, Machine Learning, and Statistics: what is…

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Bayesian and Frequentist Approaches: Ask the Right Question

May 6, 2013
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Bayesian and Frequentist Approaches: Ask the Right Question

It occurred to us recently that we don’t have any articles about Bayesian approaches to statistics here. I’m not going to get into the “Bayesian versus Frequentist” war; in my opinion, which style of approach to use is less about philosophy, and more about figuring out the best way to answer a question. Once you […] Related posts: Statistics to English Translation, Part 2a: ’Significant’ Doesn’t Always Mean ’Important’ Worry…

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Revisiting Cleveland’s The Elements of Graphing Data in ggplot2

February 18, 2013
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Revisiting Cleveland’s The Elements of Graphing Data in ggplot2

I was flipping through my copy of William Cleveland’s The Elements of Graphing Data the other day; it’s a book worth revisiting. I’ve always liked Cleveland’s approach to visualization as statistical analysis. His quest to ground visualization principles in the context of human visual cognition (he called it “graphical perception”) generated useful advice for designing [...] Related posts: Good Graphs: Graphical Perception and Data Visualization Your Data is Never the…

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Error Handling in R

October 9, 2012
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Error Handling in R

It’s often the case that I want to write an R script that loops over multiple datasets, or different subsets of a large dataset, running the same procedure over them: generating plots, or fitting a model, perhaps. I set the script running and turn to another task, only to come back later and find the [...] Related posts: R annoyances Your Data is Never the Right Shape Survive R

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On Being a Data Scientist

September 20, 2012
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On Being a Data Scientist

When people ask me what it means to be a data scientist, I used to answer, “it means you don’t have to hold my hand.” By which I meant that as a data scientist (a consulting data scientist), I can handle the data collection, the data cleaning and wrangling, the analysis, and the final presentation [...] Related posts: Book Review: Ensemble Methods in Data Mining (Seni & Elder) Setting expectations…

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