Archive for blogging

unicode in LaTeX

Posted in Books, Linux, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , on October 9, 2014 by xi'an

As I was hurriedly trying to cram several ‘Og posts into a conference paper (!), I looked around for a way of including Unicode characters straight away. And found this solution on StackExchange:

\usepackage[mathletters]{ucs}
\usepackage[utf8x]{inputenc}

which just suited me fine!

bridging the gap between machine learning and statistics

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , on May 10, 2014 by xi'an

sunwar2Today in Warwick, I had a very nice discussion with Michael Betancourt on many statistical and computational issues but at one point in the conversation we came upon the trouble of bridging the gap between the machine learning and statistics communities. While a conference like AISTATS is certainly contributing to this, it does not reach the main bulk of the statistics community. Since, in Reykjavik, we had discussed the corresponding difficulty of people publishing a longer and “more” statistical paper in a “more” statistical journal, once the central idea was published in a machine learning conference proceeding like NIPS or AISTATS. we had this idea that creating a special fast-track in a mainstream statistics journal for a subset of those papers, using for instance a tailor-made committee in that original conference, or creating an annual survey of the top machine learning conference proceedings rewritten in a more” statistical way (and once again selected by an ad hoc committee) would help, at not too much of a cost for inducing machine learners to make the extra-effort of switching to another style. From there, we enlarged the suggestion to enlist a sufficient number of (diverse) bloggers in each major conference towards producing quick but sufficiently informative entries on their epiphany talks (if any), possibly supported by the conference organisers or the sponsoring societies. (I am always happy to welcome any guest blogger in conferences I attend!)

Valen in Le Monde

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2013 by xi'an

Valen Johnson made the headline in Le Monde, last week. (More precisely, to the scientific blog Passeur de Sciences. Thanks, Julien, for the pointer!) With the alarming title of “(A study questions one major tool of the scientific approach). The reason for this French fame is Valen’s recent paper in PNAS, Revised standards for statistical evidence, where he puts forward his uniformly most powerful Bayesian tests (recently discussed on the ‘Og) to argue against the standard 0.05 significance level and in favour of “the 0.005 or 0.001 level of significance.”

“…many statisticians have noted that P values of 0.05 may correspond to Bayes factors that only favor the alternative hypothesis by odds of 3 or 4–1…” V. Johnson, PNAS

While I do plan to discuss the PNAS paper later (and possibly write a comment letter to PNAS with Andrew), I find interesting the way it made the headlines within days of its (early edition) publication: the argument suggesting to replace .05 with .001 to increase the proportion of reproducible studies is both simple and convincing for a scientific journalist. If only the issue with p-values and statistical testing could be that simple… For instance, the above quote from Valen is reproduced as “an [alternative] hypothesis that stands right below the significance level has in truth only 3 to 5 chances to 1 to be true”, the “truth” popping out of nowhere. (If you read French, the 300+ comments on the blog are also worth their weight in jellybeans…)

machine learning as buzzword

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , on November 12, 2013 by xi'an

In one of his posts, my friend Larry mentioned that popular posts had to mention the Bayes/frequentist opposition in the title… I think mentioning machine learning is also a good buzzword to increase the traffic! I did spot this phenomenon last week when publishing my review of Kevin Murphy’s Machine Learning: the number of views and visitors jumped by at least a half, exceeding the (admittedly modest) 1000 bar on two consecutive days. Interestingly, the number of copies of Machine Learning (sold via my amazon associate link) did not follow this trend: so far, I only spotted a few copies sold, in similar amounts to the number of copies of Spatio-temporal Statistics I reviewed the week before. Or most books I review, positively or negatively! (However, I did spot a correlated increase in overall amazon associate orderings and brazenly attributed the command of a Lego robotic set to a “machine learner”! And as of yesterday Og‘s readers massively ordered 152 236 copies of the latest edition of Andrew’s Bayesian Data Analysis, Thanks!)

please do not like my posts!!!

Posted in pictures with tags , , on September 7, 2012 by xi'an

This is a very minor inconvenience with WordPress (or just the blogging world) so do not read any further as it does not matter in the slightest! Indeed, for every post that I write, a few complete strangers tag it with a “like” mention, for which I get a notification. Given that those strangers have their own blog, mostly related to photography, I suspect this is an indirect way to induce more visits to their own site… Even though I do not see how anyone but me is aware of those “like”s…

Normal deviate is on!

Posted in University life with tags , , , on June 16, 2012 by xi'an

Larry Wasserman has just started his own blog! It is called Normal deviate (and is hosted by WordPress). This is quite a good news as Larry’s opinions are always worth considering (even though I do not necessarily agree with them!). The themes of this blog are Statistics and Machine Learning.

a new type of spam?

Posted in University life with tags , , , on June 14, 2012 by xi'an

Here is an email I received on Monday and which left me quite puzzled:

I found the information on your blog about reviewer’s credits insightful as I was scouring the web for research on historical topics that are relevant to issues in nursing today. Through my research, I’ve found that there has been a trend towards taking on greater responsibilities and autonomy within the nursing community. A growing number of nurses today hold graduate and doctorate degrees, requiring more education in areas such as biochemistry.

I’d love to write a post for you that perhaps blends this topic with something deeper you are interested in for your blog. What do you think? Thanks, and I really look forward to hearing froam you.

I frankly see no connection between this post on reviewer’s credits and nursing… On the other hand, I do not see why anyone would want to publish a post on nursing on my blog…and what they would gain from it!

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