Dispatches

Interactive visualizations with Plotly

For the last couple of years, I’ve been using Plotly to create visually appealing interactive plots. You can create an account at plot.ly and then create and edit your plots from their online platform (they also have a premium option with extra features), but I prefer using Plotly offline, just ...

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New paper out in PLOS Biology on Why potentially important genes are ignored

We just published a new paper performing a large-scale investigation of the reasons why potentially important genes are ignored.

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New paper in Nature Human Behaviour on Personality Types

We just published a new paper investigating personality types in four large datasets (>1.5M respondents) finding robust support for at least four personality types.

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New paper in Science Advances combining topic models and complex networks

Topic models are a popular way to extract information from text data, but its most popular flavours (based on Dirichlet priors, such as LDA) make unreasonable assumptions about the data which severely limit its applicability. Martin Gerlach, member of the Amaral-lab, and co-authors explore an alternative way of doing topic modelling, based on stochastic block models (SBM), thus exploiting a mathematical connection with finding community structure in networks. A network approach to topic models Science Advances 4, eaaq1360 (2018)

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New paper linking fractal dynamics of worms to aging and stress

Luiz G. A. Alves, Peter B. Winter, Leonardo N. Ferreira, Renée M. Brielmann, Richard I. Morimoto, and Luís A. N. Amaral: Long-range correlations and fractal dynamics in C. elegans: Changes with aging and stress Physical Review E 96, 022417 (2017)

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Shootings in U.S. schools are linked to increased unemployment

By Megan Fellman EVANSTON – A rigorous Northwestern University study of a quarter-century of data has found that economic insecurity is related to the rate of gun violence at K-12 and postsecondary schools in the United States. When it becomes more difficult for people coming out of school to find ...

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Follow me on the Reading Rainbow

Over the summer I’ve been able to successfully chisel away at my goal of reading 20 books by 16 different authors in 2015, with my two weeks of travel to and around Spain providing me ample time to dive into my iPad and digest. For this tour, I went back ...

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Building trustworthy Big Data algorithms

By Emily Ayshford Much of our reams of data sit in large databases of unstructured text. Finding insights among emails, text documents, and websites is extremely difficult unless we can search, characterize, and classify their text data in a meaningful way. One of the leading big data algorithms for finding ...

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'Friending' your way thin

By Erin White EVANSTON, Ill. —- If you want to lose pounds using an online weight management program, don’t be a wallflower. A new Northwestern University study shows that online dieters with high social embeddedness — who logged in regularly, recorded their weigh-ins and ‘friended’ other members — lost more ...

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Data analysis trumps critics, wisdom of crowds and number of awards

EVANSTON, Ill. —- Don’t rely on the Academy Awards next month if you are seeking to know whether the movies deemed great today will survive the test of time. According to a new Northwestern University study, the best predictor of a movie’s significance is how often a movie is referenced ...

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Persuading doctors to quickly adopt new treatments

By Marla Paul CHICAGO —- Doctors are more likely to try a new therapy when they are persuaded to do so by an influential colleague, reports a new Northwestern University study whose findings on adopting innovations also have relevance for business, education and research. The authors have used the new ...

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Big data study provides first insights into behavior of users of peer-to-peer file sharing

OCT 8, 2014 // Megan Fellman Peer-to-peer file sharing of movies, television shows, music, books and other files over the Internet has grown rapidly worldwide as an alternative approach for people to get the digital content they want — often illicitly. But, unlike the users of Amazon, Netflix and other ...

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Filippo Radicchi receives Complex Systems Society's Junior Scientific award

Professor Radicchi (Indiana University), a lab alumnus, is part of the new generation of scientists that are making significant contributions to the study of complex systems and networks. His many important contributions span from theoretical studies of structural and dynamical properties of networks, to analyses of large-scale empirical data about ...

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Historians have a tough job, give them a little slack

Not every discipline has the luxury of being able to bootstrap random iterations to test the significance of their argument

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Fewer resources may explain why some female faculty publish less

New study uncovers impact of gender-biased resource allocation on ‘productivity gap’

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Interactive Data Analysis

GUI programs are notoriously complicated and time consuming to write, but they are an essential component in a computational scientist’s toolbox for one simple reason: they are the best means for developing deep intuition for the behavior of the algorithms that we write every day in our work. – David Mertens

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A biologist goes to the doctor

On Medical Diagnosis: who is ill, the individual who lost its robustness to compensate for deformations or the deviant from the population mean? — Nicolás Peláez

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Imagining Reality

I often imagine physical scenarios representing abstract concepts or phenomena. — Peter Winter

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Learning to fly

I study systems biology using the fruit fly as my model organism. I recently attended my first “fly meeting,” a conference of others who study Drosophila melanogaster. Here are thoughts on studying the fly in general, and my impressions of that event in particular. —Nicolas Pelaez

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Simple or simplistic?

I very much appreciate the effort, but I just don’t agree with a model for human interactions based on the maximization of a utility function, nor with the restriction of human responses to a very limited set of discrete, fixed-no-matter-what strategies.

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