Posted on Categories Exciting Techniques, Practical Data Science, Pragmatic Data Science, Statistics, TutorialsTags , , 1 Comment on Quick Significance Calculations for A/B Tests in R

Quick Significance Calculations for A/B Tests in R

Introduction

Let’s take a quick look at a very important and common experimental problem: checking if the difference in success rates of two Binomial experiments is statistically significant. This can arise in A/B testing situations such as online advertising, sales, and manufacturing.

We already share a free video course on a Bayesian treatment of planning and evaluating A/B tests (including a free Shiny application). Let’s now take a look at the should be simple task of simply building a summary statistic that includes a classic frequentist significance.

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Modeling muti-category Outcomes With vtreat

vtreat is a powerful R package for preparing messy real-world data for machine learning. We have further extended the package with a number of features including rquery/rqdatatable integration (allowing vtreat application at scale on Apache Spark or data.table!).

In addition vtreat and can now effectively prepare data for multi-class classification or multinomial modeling.

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R Tip: Give data.table a Try

If your R or dplyr work is taking what you consider to be a too long (seconds instead of instant, or minutes instead of seconds, or hours instead of minutes, or a day instead of an hour) then try data.table.

For some tasks data.table is routinely faster than alternatives at pretty much all scales (example timings here).

If your project is large (millions of rows, hundreds of columns) you really should rent an an Amazon EC2 r4.8xlarge (244 GiB RAM) machine for an hour for about $2.13 (quick setup instructions here) and experience speed at scale.

Posted on Categories data science, Pragmatic Data Science, TutorialsTags , , 2 Comments on Timings of a Grouped Rank Filter Task

Timings of a Grouped Rank Filter Task

Introduction

This note shares an experiment comparing the performance of a number of data processing systems available in R. Our notional or example problem is finding the top ranking item per group (group defined by three string columns, and order defined by a single numeric column). This is a common and often needed task.

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Announcing Practical Data Science with R, 2nd Edition

We are pleased and excited to announce that we are working on a second edition of Practical Data Science with R!

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rqdatatable: rquery Powered by data.table

rquery is an R package for specifying data transforms using piped Codd-style operators. It has already shown great performance on PostgreSQL and Apache Spark. rqdatatable is a new package that supplies a screaming fast implementation of the rquery system in-memory using the data.table package.

rquery is already one of the fastest and most teachable (due to deliberate conformity to Codd’s influential work) tools to wrangle data on databases and big data systems. And now rquery is also one of the fastest methods to wrangle data in-memory in R (thanks to data.table, via a thin adaption supplied by rqdatatable).

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Posted on Categories data science, Opinion, Pragmatic Data Science, Statistics, TutorialsTags , , , 5 Comments on Talking about clinical significance

Talking about clinical significance

In statistical work in the age of big data we often get hung up on differences that are statistically significant (reliable enough to show up again and again in repeated measurements), but clinically insignificant (visible in aggregation, but too small to make any real difference to individuals).

An example would be: a diet that changes individual weight by an ounce on average with a standard deviation of a pound. With a large enough population the diet is statistically significant. It could also be used to shave an ounce off a national average weight. But, for any one individual: this diet is largely pointless.

The concept is teachable, but we have always stumbled of the naming “statistical significance” versus “practical clinical significance.”

I am suggesting trying the word “substantial” (and its antonym “insubstantial”) to describe if changes are physically small or large.

This comes down to having to remind people that “p-values are not effect sizes”. In this article we recommended reporting three statistics: a units-based effect size (such as expected delta pounds), a dimensionless effects size (such as Cohen’s d), and a reliability of experiment size measure (such as a statistical significance, which at best measures only one possible risk: re-sampling risk).

The merit is: if we don’t confound different meanings, we may be less confusing. A downside is: some of these measures are a bit technical to discuss. I’d be interested in hearing opinions and about teaching experiences along these distinctions.

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Upcoming speaking engagments

I have a couple of public appearances coming up soon.

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cdata Update

The R package cdata now has version 0.7.0 available from CRAN.

cdata is a data manipulation package that subsumes many higher order data manipulation operations including pivot/un-pivot, spread/gather, or cast/melt. The record to record transforms are specified by drawing a table that expresses the record structure (called the “control table” and also the link between the key concepts of row-records and block-records).

What can be quickly specified and achieved using these concepts and notations is amazing and quite teachable. These transforms can be run in-memory or in remote database or big-data systems (such as Spark).

The concepts are taught in Nina Zumel’s excellent tutorial.


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And in John Mount’s quick screencast/lecture.

link, slides

The 0.7.0 update adds local versions of the operators in addition to the Spark and database implementations. These methods should now be a bit safer for in-memory complex/annotated types such as dates and times.

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Four Years of Practical Data Science with R

Four years ago today authors Nina Zumel and John Mount received our author’s copies of Practical Data Science with R!

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