Posted on Categories OpinionTags , , 1 Comment on Gerty, a character in Duncan Jones’ “Moon.”

Gerty, a character in Duncan Jones’ “Moon.”

A “for fun” piece, reposted from mzlabs.com.

I would like to comment on Duncan Jones’ movie “Moon” and compare some elements of “Moon” to earlier science fiction. Continue reading Gerty, a character in Duncan Jones’ “Moon.”

Posted on Categories Opinion, RantsTags , , , 1 Comment on Do your tools support production or complexity?

Do your tools support production or complexity?

Stop and think: which of our tools are making us smarter and which of our tools are making us dumber. In my opinion tools and habits that support complexity literally train us to be dumber. Continue reading Do your tools support production or complexity?

Posted on Categories Opinion, Pragmatic Data Science, Pragmatic Machine Learning, Statistics, TutorialsTags , , , , ,

The cranky guide to trying R packages

This is a tutorial on how to try out a new package in R. The summary is: expect errors, search out errors and don’t start with the built in examples or real data.

Suppose you want to try out a novel statistical technique? A good fraction of the time R is your best bet for a first trial. Take as an example general additive models (“Generalized Additive Models,” Trevor J Hastie, Robert Tibshirani, Statistical Science (1986) vol. 1 (3) pp. 297-318); R has a package named “gam” written by Trevor Hastie himself. But, like most R packages, trying the package from the supplied documentation brings in unfamiliar data and concerns. It is best to start small and quickly test if the package itself is suitable to your needs. We give a quick outline of how to learn such a package and quickly find out if the package is for you.

Continue reading The cranky guide to trying R packages

Posted on Categories OpinionTags , , 1 Comment on Your credit card as the supercomputer

Your credit card as the supercomputer

A reason to care about the cloud: your credit card is now a supercomputer. Continue reading Your credit card as the supercomputer

Posted on Categories Computer Science, Expository Writing, History, Opinion, StatisticsTags , , 7 Comments on A Personal Perspective on Machine Learning

A Personal Perspective on Machine Learning

Having a bit of history as both a user of machine learning and a researcher in the field I feel I have developed a useful perspective on the various trends, flavors and nuances in machine learning and artificial intelligence. I thought I would take a moment to outline a bit of it here and demonstrate how what we call artificial intelligence is becoming more statistical in nature. Continue reading A Personal Perspective on Machine Learning

Posted on Categories Opinion, Pragmatic Machine Learning, RantsTags , 2 Comments on Statsmanship: Failure Through Analytics Sabotage

Statsmanship: Failure Through Analytics Sabotage

Ambitious analytics projects have a tangible risk of failure. Uncertainty breeds anxiety. There are known techniques to lower the uncertainty, guarantee failure and shift the blame onto others. We outline a few proven methods of analytics sabotage and their application. In honor of Steven Potter call this activity “statsmanship” which we define as pursing the goal of making your analytics group cry.


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Continue reading Statsmanship: Failure Through Analytics Sabotage

Posted on Categories Computers, Opinion, Programming, TutorialsTags , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments on Must Have Software

Must Have Software

Having worked with Unix (BSD, HPUX, IRIX, Linux and OSX), Windows (NT4, 2000, XP, Vista and 7) for quite a while I have seen a lot of different software tools. I would like to quickly exhibit my “must have” list. These are the packages that I find to be the single “must have offerings” in a number of categories. I have avoided some categories (such as editors, email programs, programing language, IDEs, photo editors, backup solutions, databases, database tools and web tools) where I have no feeling of having seen a single absolute best offering.

The spirit of the list is to pick items such that: if you disagree with an item in this list then either you are wrong or you know something I would really like to hear about.

Continue reading Must Have Software

Posted on Categories Opinion, Rants, StatisticsTags , , , , 1 Comment on Relative returns: a banker versus trader paradox

Relative returns: a banker versus trader paradox

Quick Joke.

Q: What is the difference between a banker and a trader?
A: A banker will try and tell you a 10% loss followed by a 10% gain is breaking even.

Continue reading Relative returns: a banker versus trader paradox

Posted on Categories Computer Science, Expository Writing, OpinionTags , , , 3 Comments on On The Hysteria Over “The Cloud”

On The Hysteria Over “The Cloud”

On The Hysteria Over “The Cloud”


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The frenzy of anticipation and opinion about “The Cloud” is so intense and so pointless it becomes “parody proof.”
Continue reading On The Hysteria Over “The Cloud”