Google releases V1.2 of Google Prediction API

Diagram showing overview of cloud computing in...
Image via Wikipedia

To join the preview group, go to the APIs Console and click the Prediction API slider to “ON,” and then sign up for a Google Storage account.

For the past several months, I have been member of a semi-public beta test/group/forum – that is headed by Travis Green of the Google Prediction API Team (not the hockey player). Basically in helping the Google guys more feedback on the feature list for model building via cloud computing. I couldn’t talk about it much , because it was all NDA hush hush.

Anyways- as of today the version 1.2 of Google Prediction API has been launched. What does this do to the ordinary Joe Modeler? Well it helps gives your models -thats right your plain vanilla logistic regression,arima, arimax, models an added ensemble option of using Google’s Machine Learning Continue reading “Google releases V1.2 of Google Prediction API”

Using Color Palettes in R

If you like me, are unable to decide whether blue or brown is a better color for graph- color palettes in R are a big help for aesthetically acceptable alternatives.

Using the same graphs, I choose the 5 main kinds of color palettes, using them is as easy as specifying the col= parameter in graphical display in Base Graphs. And I modified the n parameter for number of colors to be used- you can specify more or less depending how much you want the gradient or difference in colors to be.

> hist(VADeaths,col=heat.colors(7))

> hist(VADeaths,col=terrain.colors(7))

Continue reading “Using Color Palettes in R”

The Lover: A Poem


The Lover

Your emerald eyes,

Like dewdrops glistening on green grass.

The shine in them,

Is like the twinkling of the stars.

You’re ivory skin,

Reminds me of the moonlight.

Like a gorgeous lily

Colored in silvery white.

Your sunkissed hair,

Blowing gently in the breeze.

I do not look long,

My breath may freeze.

You’re sideways glance,

As sharp as a knife.

Like a Greek goddess or a marble sculpture,

Brought to life.

Your poise, your grace,

Guides my moving pen.

Your beauty brings out,

The poet within.

The tinkle of your soft voice remains in my ears,

Long after you are long gone.

Your memory drives me crazy,

Makes me want to break out in a song.

 

 

Alas, my dear

I am in love with your beauty

But not with you.

This sounds like an obsession,

For this love is not true.

I am a passionate man,

With much passion to spare.

As soon as you leave my thoughts,

Someone else is already there.

 

How to balance your online advertising and your offline conscience

Google in 1998, showing the original logo
Image via Wikipedia

I recently found an interesting example of  a website that both makes a lot of money and yet is much more efficient than any free or non profit. It is called ECOSIA

If you see a website that wants to balance administrative costs  plus have a transparent way to make the world better- this is a great example.

  • http://ecosia.org/how.php
  • HOW IT WORKS
    You search with Ecosia.
  • Perhaps you click on an interesting sponsored link.
  • The sponsoring company pays Bing or Yahoo for the click.
  • Bing or Yahoo gives the bigger chunk of that money to Ecosia.
  • Ecosia donates at least 80% of this income to support WWF’s work in the Amazon.
  • If you like what we’re doing, help us spread the word!
  • Key facts about the park:

    • World’s largest tropical forest reserve (38,867 square kilometers, or about the size of Switzerland)
    • Home to about 14% of all amphibian species and roughly 54% of all bird species in the Amazon – not to mention large populations of at least eight threatened species, including the jaguar
    • Includes part of the Guiana Shield containing 25% of world’s remaining tropical rainforests – 80 to 90% of which are still pristine
    • Holds the last major unpolluted water reserves in the Neotropics, containing approximately 20% of all of the Earth’s water
    • One of the last tropical regions on Earth vastly unaltered by humans
    • Significant contributor to climatic regulation via heat absorption and carbon storage

     

    http://ecosia.org/statistics.php

    They claim to have donated 141,529.42 EUR !!!

    http://static.ecosia.org/files/donations.pdf

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Well suppose you are the Web Admin of a very popular website like Wikipedia or etc

    One way to meet server costs is to say openly hey i need to balance my costs so i need some money.

    The other way is to use online advertising.

    I started mine with Google Adsense.

    Click per milli (or CPM)  gives you a very low low conversion compared to contacting ad sponsor directly.

    But its a great data experiment-

    as you can monitor which companies are likely to be advertised on your site (assume google knows more about their algols than you will)

    which formats -banner or text or flash have what kind of conversion rates

    what are the expected pay off rates from various keywords or companies (like business intelligence software, predictive analytics software and statistical computing software are similar but have different expected returns (if you remember your eco class)

     

    NOW- Based on above data, you know whats your minimum baseline to expect from a private advertiser than a public, crowd sourced search engine one (like Google or Bing)

    Lets say if you have 100000 views monthly. and assume one out of 1000 page views will lead to a click. Say the advertiser will pay you 1 $ for every 1 click (=1000 impressions)

    Then your expected revenue is $100.But if your clicks are priced at 2.5$ for every click , and your click through rate is now 3 out of 1000 impressions- (both very moderate increases that can done by basic placement optimization of ad type, graphics etc)-your new revenue is  750$.

    Be a good Samaritan- you decide to share some of this with your audience -like 4 Amazon books per month ( or I free Amazon book per week)- That gives you a cost of 200$, and leaves you with some 550$.

    Wait! it doesnt end there- Adam Smith‘s invisible hand moves on .

    You say hmm let me put 100 $ for an annual paper writing contest of $1000, donate $200 to one laptop per child ( or to Amazon rain forests or to Haiti etc etc etc), pay $100 to your upgraded server hosting, and put 350$ in online advertising. say $200 for search engines and $150 for Facebook.

    Woah!

    Month 1 would should see more people  visiting you for the first time. If you have a good return rate (returning visitors as a %, and low bounce rate (visits less than 5 secs)- your traffic should see atleast a 20% jump in new arrivals and 5-10 % in long term arrivals. Ignoring bounces- within  three months you will have one of the following

    1) An interesting case study on statistics on online and social media advertising, tangible motivations for increasing community response , and some good data for study

    2) hopefully better cost management of your server expenses

    3)very hopefully a positive cash flow

     

    you could even set a percentage and share the monthly (or annually is better actions) to your readers and advertisers.

    go ahead- change the world!

    the key paradigms here are sharing your traffic and revenue openly to everyone

    donating to a suitable cause

    helping increase awareness of the suitable cause

    basing fixed percentages rather than absolute numbers to ensure your site and cause are sustained for years.

    Interview Jamie Nunnelly NISS

    An interview with Jamie Nunnelly, Communications Director of National Institute of Statistical Sciences

    Ajay– What does NISS do? And What does SAMSI do?

    Jamie– The National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) was established in 1990 by the national statistics societies and the Research Triangle universities and organizations, with the mission to identify, catalyze and foster high-impact, cross-disciplinary and cross-sector research involving the statistical sciences.

    NISS is dedicated to strengthening and serving the national statistics community, most notably by catalyzing community members’ participation in applied research driven by challenges facing government and industry. NISS also provides career development opportunities for statisticians and scientists, especially those in the formative stages of their careers.

    The Institute identifies emerging issues to which members of the statistics community can make key contributions, and then catalyzes the right combinations of researchers from multiple disciplines and sectors to tackle each problem. More than 300 researchers from over 100 institutions have worked on our projects.

    The Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) is a partnership of Duke University,  North Carolina State University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and NISS in collaboration with the William Kenan Jr. Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science and is part of the Mathematical Sciences Institutes of the NSF.

    SAMSI focuses on 1-2 programs of research interest in the statistical and/or applied mathematical area and visitors from around the world are involved with the programs and come from a variety of disciplines in addition to mathematics and statistics.

    Many come to SAMSI to attend workshops, and also participate in working groups throughout the academic year. Many of the working groups communicate via WebEx so people can be involved with the research remotely. SAMSI also has a robust education and outreach program to help undergraduate and graduate students learn about cutting edge research in applied mathematics and statistics.

    Ajay– What successes have you had in 2010- and what do you need to succeed in 2011. Whats planned for 2011 anyway

    Jamie– NISS has had a very successful collaboration with the National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) over the past two years that was just renewed for the next two years. NISS & NASS had three teams consisting of a faculty researcher in statistics, a NASS researcher, a NISS mentor, a postdoctoral fellow and a graduate student working on statistical modeling and other areas of research for NASS.

    NISS is also working on a syndromic surveillance project with Clemson University, Duke University, The University of Georgia, The University of South Carolina. The group is currently working with some hospitals to test out a model they have been developing to help predict disease outbreak.

    SAMSI had a very successful year with two programs ending this past summer, which were the Stochastic Dynamics program and the Space-time Analysis for Environmental Mapping, Epidemiology and Climate Change. Several papers were written and published and many presentations have been made at various conferences around the world regarding the work that was conducted as SAMSI last year.

    Next year’s program is so big that the institute has decided to devote all it’s time and energy around it, which is uncertainty quantification. The opening workshop, in addition to the main methodological theme, will be broken down into three areas of interest under this broad umbrella of research: climate change, engineering and renewable energy, and geosciences.

    Ajay– Describe your career in science and communication.

    Jamie– I have been in communications since 1985, working for large Fortune 500 companies such as General Motors and Tropicana Products. I moved to the Research Triangle region of North Carolina after graduate school and got into economic development and science communications first working for the Research Triangle Regional Partnership in 1994.

    From 1996-2005 I was the communications director for the Research Triangle Park, working for the Research Triangle Foundation of NC. I published a quarterly magazine called The Park Guide for awhile, then came to work for NISS and SAMSI in 2008.

    I really enjoy working with the mathematicians and statisticians. I always joke that I am the least educated person working here and that is not far from the truth! I am honored to help get the message out about all of the important research that is conducted here each day that is helping to improve the lives of so many people out there.

    Ajay– Research Triangle or Silicon Valley– Which is better for tech people and why? Your opinion

    Jamie– Both the Silicon Valley and Research Triangle are great regions for tech people to locate, but of course, I have to be biased and choose Research Triangle!

    Really any place in the world that you find many universities working together with businesses and government, you have an area that will grow and thrive, because the collaborations help all of us generate new ideas, many of which blossom into new businesses, or new endeavors of research.

    The quality of life in places such as the Research Triangle is great because you have people from around the world moving to a place, each bringing his/her culture, food, and uniqueness to this place, and enriching everyone else as a result.

    Two advantages the Research Triangle has over Silicon Valley are that the Research Triangle has a bigger diversity of industries, so when the telecommunications industry busted back in 2001-02, the region took a hit, but the biotechnology industry was still growing, so unemployment rose, but not to the extent that other areas might have experienced.

    The latest recession has hit us all very hard, so even this strategy has not made us immune to having high unemployment, but the Research Triangle region has been pegged by experts to be one of the first regions to emerge out of the Great Recession.

    The other advantage I think we have is that our cost of living is still much more reasonable than Silicon Valley. It’s still possible to get a nice sized home, some land and not break the bank!

    Ajay– How do you manage an active online social media presence, your job and your family. How important is balance in professional life and when young professional should realize this?

    Jamie– Balance is everything, isn’t it? When I leave the office, I turn off my iPhone and disconnect from Twitter/Facebook etc.

    I know that is not recommended by some folks, but I am a one person communications department and I love my family and friends and feel its important to devote time to them as well as to my career.

    I think it is very important for young people to establish this early in their careers because if they don’t they will fall victim to working way too many hours and really, who loves you at the end of the day?

    Your company may appreciate all you do for them, but if you leave, or you get sick and cannot work for them, you will be replaced

    . Lee Iacocca, former CEO of Chrystler, said, “No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?” I think that is what is really most important in life.

    About-

    Jamie Nunnelly has been in communications for 25 years. She is currently on the board of directors for Chatham County Economic Development Corporation and Leadership Triangle & is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators and the Public Relations Society of America. She earned a bachelor’s degree in interpersonal and public communications at Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree in mass communications at the University of South Florida.

    You can contact Jamie at http://niss.org/content/jamie-nunnelly or on twitter at

    Poem- El Martini

    Cocktail Glass (Martini): The traditional cock...
    Image via Wikipedia

    About 76,000 times and in 0.18 seconds

    my friend, the google, does me inform,

    are results for the keywords search poem on martini,

    dampens enthusiasm for another poetic tome.

    What can I say- that hasnt been said before,

    760 thousand times about you and more,

    Shaken and Stirred by Mr Bond,

    sometimes dirty and mostly dryly spawned.

    El Martini is here   to stay,

    ladies and gentlemen, your host for the evening today.

    Sip the cold, and smooth flavor,

    add some olives – or green apples savor.

    dont drink too much,

    this is art as a drink,

    sip martini slowly,

    pause and blink.

     

    Purge thoughtful plans today,

    schemes and chores for another day.

    El Martini strums a mean guitar,

    how exotic, this stranger from afar.

    still I pause, down two cups for the road,

    having started, I need to finish this ode.

    El Martini- has finished his song,

    Mesmerized we happily clap along,

    As he bows, we ask for a last request.

    An encore would be terrific, no less.