useR! 2018 was held for the first time in the southern hemisphere, and the feedback from participants has been very positive. I have been asked to write about the organisation and this is a good way to get some of the planning and decisions and operations into print, so that it might be useful for others charged with conference organisation. There are a lot of people who made the conference a success, and their contributions need to be acknowledged.
I’m sitting watching cricket tonight, the first day of the Australia vs West Indies Boxing Day test. Just now video of retired batsman Chris Rogers being honored was played, along with a plot of his batting record, shown on screen similar to this one below:
Howzat? What are they trying to show? What’s the data in this plot? Is it a bar chart? A histogram? What does color mean?
This week I have been visiting the Department of Statistical Sciences at Cornell University. This is the home of many venerable statisticians. At first sight it appears that statisticians are spread all over the university, and technically they are because funding comes from many directions, but almost all are actually located in a suite in Comstock Hall. Professor Paul Velleman is one of the pioneers of data-centrist thinking about statistics. He produced the software called DataDesk in the early 90s that some saw as rivaling LispStat and particularly JMP for introductory statistics classes.
Its exciting to report on the graduations from the working group this year.
Niladri Roy Chowdhury defended his PhD thesis in Aug 2014, titled “Explorations of the lineup protocol for visual inference: application to high dimension, low sample size problems and metrics to assess the quality”, under my direction. He is a scientist at Novartis, Boston, MA. Susan Vanderplas defended her PhD in May, titled “Perception in Statistical Graphics”, under the direction of Professor Heike Hofmann.
On Nov 10 I was part of a celebration of John W. Tukey at the United Nations. This event kicked off a new UN initiative called Unite Ideas. Details of the event, and the initiative can be found here. There were five talks relayed live to an audience of several thousand, using google hangouts and a youtube channel, and listeners could post questions using the Q/A tool.
My talk was titled “An Exploratory Data Analysis of OECD’s 2012 PISA Survey”s and I delivered it by computer from my office in Iowa.
The new version of nullabor contains numerical measures that quantify how close the plot of the data is to the null plots in a lineup. It is very difficult to quantify all patterns that might be read from plots, so these should be taken in a spirit ofa Herculean task. The goal is to get some sense of what people are reacting to in a plot, which could be then associated with the text descriptions from people, or with data from an eyetracker.