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A Gruesome Example of Bayes’ Law

Here is an incredibly clear, but unfortunately gruesome, example of a variation of Bayes’ Law. A good teachable point. Consider the recent CDC article “Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities.” It states: Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test […]

Unrolling the ROC

In our data science teaching, we present the ROC plot (and the area under the curve of the plot, or AUC) as a useful tool for evaluating score-based classifier models, as well as for comparing multiple such models. The ROC is informative and useful, but it’s also perhaps overly concise […]

Let A be a Pedant and Let B be a Pedant

One of my favorite mathematical anecdotes is the following story that Gian-Carlo Rota told about Solomon Lefschetz: He [Solomon Lefschetz] liked to repeat, as an example of mathematical pedantry, the story of one of E. H. Moore’s visits to Princeton, when Moore started a lecture by saying, “Let a be […]

Lord Kelvin, Data Scientist

In 1876 A. Légé & Co., 20 Cross Street, Hatton Gardens, London completed the first “tide calculating machine” for William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin) (ref). Thomson’s (Lord Kelvin) First Tide Predicting Machine, 1876 The results were plotted on the paper cylinders, and one literally “turned the crank” to perform the […]

Link Functions versus Data Transforms

In the linear regression section of our book Practical Data Science in R, we use the example of predicting income from a number of demographic variables (age, sex, education and employment type). In the text, we choose to regress against log10(income) rather than directly against income. One obvious reason for […]