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Archive of posts filed under the Uncategorized category.

Phd positions in Probabilistic Machine Learning at #AaltoPML group Finland

There are PhD positions in our Probabilistic Machine Learning group at Aalto, Finland, and altogether 15 positions in Helsinki ICT network. Apply here The most interesting topic in the call is supervised by Prof. Samuel Kaski at AaltoPML (and you may collaborate with me too :) We are looking for PhD candidates interested in probabilistic […]

Summer internship positions for undergraduate students with Aki

There are couple cool summer internship positions for undergraduate students (BSc level) in Probabilistic Machine Learning group at Aalto (Finland) with me (Aki) and Samuel Kaski. Possible research topics are related to Bayesian inference, machine learning, Stan, disease risk prediction, personalised medicine, computational biology, contextual information retrieval, information visualization, etc. Application deadline 18 February. See more […]

Cancer statistics: WTF?

This post is by Phil. I know someone who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and is trying to decide whether to get chemo or just let it run its course. What does she have to go on? A bunch of statistics that are barely useful. For example, its easy to find the average survival […]

Givewell wants to put lithium in your drinking water

Actually, they just want to look into the possibility. Alexander Berger of Givewell writes: In the past you’ve written a couple posts about GiveWell’s research, and we’ve recently posted something else that I thought might be of interest to your audience: an expression of interest in research on the impact of trace lithium on suicide […]

NYC Stan meetup 12 December

The next NYC Stan meetup is on Saturday: Feel free to bring things you’re working on or join in on projects some of the others are working on. A couple of the developers will be around to answer questions and help out. If you don’t have anything to work on, the Stan team could use […]

Don’t put your whiteboard behind your projection screen

Daniel, Andrew, and I are on our second day of teaching, and like many places, Memorial Sloan-Kettering has all their classrooms set up with a whiteboard placed directly behind a projection screen. This gives us a sliver of space to write on without pulling the screen up and down. If you have any say in […]

Evaluating the Millennium Villages Project

I’m a postdoc working with Andy and Jeff Sachs on the evaluation of the Millennium Villages Project, a ten-year economic development project operating in ten sub-Saharan African countries. Our evaluation protocol was recently accepted by The Lancet (full text here, and the accompanying technical paper here). We welcome your thoughts!

Are you ready to go fishing in the data lake?

While Andrew is trying to get someone to make a t-shirt design “Gone fishing”, someone else thinks fishing is one of the “big data trends in 2015”. This advertisement by some company keeps re-appearing in my twitter feed.

On deck this week

Mon: “Unbiasedness”: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. [My talk tomorrow in the Princeton economics department] Martin Luther King (2) vs. Sigmund Freud Tues: “A small but growing collection of studies suggest X” . . . huh? Aristotle (3) vs. Stewart Lee Wed: The axes […]

Philip K. Dick (2) vs. Jean Baudrillard

For yesterday, I was gonna go with Vincent, based on X’s comment: In addition to his unique painting style and very special life, van Gogh was highly literate, as shown through the 844 letters from him that are available today. X also made a missing-body-part joke, which I generally don’t think is so cool but, […]

Larry David (4) vs. Thomas Hobbes

Yesterday‘s winner is Chris Rock. “There’s math. And then everything else is debatable.” And now, for today, we have a misanthropists’ version of yesterday’s contest: the grumpy comedian battling it out with the consummate realist political philosopher. Nasty, brutish, and short, indeed. It’s a bit scary how appropriate this matchup is, considering they were all […]

On deck this week

Mon: James Watson sez: Cancer cure is coming in minus 14 years! Chris Rock (3) vs. Jean-Jacques Rousseau Tues: Bayesian survival analysis with horseshoe priors—in Stan! Larry David (4) vs. Thomas Hobbes Wed: VB-Stan: Black-box black-box variational Bayes Jesus (1) vs. Leo Tolstoy Thurs: Another example of why centering predictors can be good idea Mohandas […]

What to graph, not just how to graph it

Robin Gong writes: While we’re on the topic of visualization, I’ve been puzzled by a more general question and I’m unsure where it fits in actually. There seem to be two parts to a good visualization practice, and in our class we’ve been focusing more on one of them, that is “how to get my […]

Statistical distribution of incomes in different countries, and a great plot

This post is by Phil Price. This article in the New York Times is pretty good, and the graphics are excellent…especially the interactive graphic halfway down, entitled “American Incomes Are Losing Their Edge, Except at the Top” (try mousing over the gray lines and see what happens). The plot attempts to display the statistical distribution […]

Shamer shaming

This post is by Phil Price. I can’t recall when I first saw “shaming” used in its currently popular sense. I remember noting “slut shaming” and “fat shaming” but did they first become popular two years ago? Three? At any rate, “shaming” is now everywhere…and evidently it’s a very bad thing. When I first saw […]

If you have a 45% chance of winning, is it “yours to lose”?

Nate Silver gives Brazil a 45% chance of winning the World Cup, with only Argentina and Germany having more than a 10% chance. My gut feeling is that that’s a bit high, but I’m no expert. What I find striking, though, is that the headline says it’s “Brazil’s to lose.” Huh? If we take Silver’s […]

I hate polynomials

A recent discussion with Mark Palko [scroll down to the comments at this link] reminds me that I think that polynomials are way way overrated, and I think a lot of damage has arisen from the old-time approach of introducing polynomial functions as a canonical example of linear regressions (for example). There are very few […]

Buzzfeed, Porn, Kansas…That Can’t Be Good

This post is by David K. Park and courtesy of Alex Palen Ellis… Thought you might find this funny: Buzzfeed set out to study porn consumption versus the red/blue political spectrum. And they failed miserably. An article form outlines six major fallacies Buzzfeed committed, the best of which resulted in the Kansas effect: “Pornhub’s writeup omitted […]

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

This post is by Phil, and I’m writing about the slow pace of change in 21st-century America. [Note added later: at the time that I wrote this, I was unaware that a year-and-a-half ago Andrew had written a similar post on the theme. I suspect I, and perhaps most of this blog’s readers, missed it […]

Thinking of doing a list experiment? Here’s a list of reasons why you should think again

Someone wrote in: We are about to conduct a voting list experiment. We came across your comment recommending that each item be removed from the list. Would greatly appreciate it if you take a few minutes to spell out your recommendation in a little more detail. In particular: (a) Why are you “uneasy” about list […]