The homogenization of scientific computing, or why Python is steadily eating other languages’ lunch

Over the past two years, my scientific computing toolbox been steadily homogenizing. Around 2010 or 2011, my toolbox looked something like this: Ruby for text processing and miscellaneous scripting; Ruby on Rails/JavaScript for web development; Python/Numpy (mostly) and MATLAB (occasionally) for numerical computing; MATLAB for neuroimaging data analysis; R for statistical analysis; R for plotting … Continue reading The homogenization of scientific computing, or why Python is steadily eating other languages’ lunch

R, the master troll of statistical languages

Warning: what follows is a somewhat technical discussion of my love-hate relationship with the R statistical language, in which I somehow manage to waste 2,400 words talking about a single line of code. Reader discretion is advised. I’ve been using R to do most of my statistical analysis for about 7 or 8 years now–ever … Continue reading R, the master troll of statistical languages

correlograms are correlicious

In the last year or so, I’ve been experimenting with different ways of displaying correlation matrices, and have gotten very fond of color-coded correlograms. Here’s one from a paper I wrote investigating the relationship between personality and word use among bloggers (click to enlarge): The rows reflect language categories from Jamie Pennebaker’s Linguistic Inquiry and … Continue reading correlograms are correlicious

abbreviating personality measures in R: a tutorial

A while back I blogged about a paper I wrote that uses genetic algorithms to abbreviate personality measures with minimal human intervention. In the paper, I promised to put the R code I used online, so that other people could download and use it. I put off doing that for a long time, because the … Continue reading abbreviating personality measures in R: a tutorial

got R? get social science for R!

Drew Conway has a great list of 10 must-have R packages for social scientists. If you’re a social scientist (or really, any kind of scientist) who doesn’t use R, now is a great time to dive in and learn; there are tons of tutorials and guides out there (my favorite is Quick-R, which is incredibly … Continue reading got R? get social science for R!