Saturday, September 10, 2016

Resources for data analytics at Columbia

I got an email asking for resources (other than courses) for data analytics at Columbia. This is what I wrote in reply:

Monday, September 05, 2016

ADS alum Yuhan Sun's summer intern at UNICEF

An Spring 2016 alum from our Applied Data Science course , Yuhan Sun (MA in Statistics, Columbia University), spent the past summer as a data scientist at UNICEF. She extended a Shiny app that provides a web-based application for generating child mortality estimates. These estimates are computed from empirical data using the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME) methodology. According to Ms. Lucia Hug from UNICEF,
"The UN IGME methodology applies a curve fitting method to derive trend estimates by using a Bayesian B-splines bias-reduction model to empirical of under-five and infant mortality rates. The method also extrapolates the trend estimates to a defined time point."
In this project, Yuhan applied her skills on Shiny app development learnt during our ADS course to meet the needs of this task. She said:
"Shiny provides a feasible approach for non-cs people to build a web application. It is an effective and time efficient way to build an application which uses the existing R codes for the Bayesian B-spline bias-reduction model. It also enables users to use the UN IGME methodology without being familiar with running R codes. It allows to apply the model to new empirical data and to review the new estimates graphically. It also offers the possibility to visualize the results and to adjust parameters according to the users’ needs."
Ms. Hug said: "Mortality rates among young children are a key output indicator for child health and well-being, and, more broadly, for social and economic development. It is a closely watched public health indicator because it reflects the access of children and communities to basic health interventions such as vaccination, to medical treatment of infectious diseases and to adequate nutrition."

Yuhan is also working on some cool visualizations as part of her internship.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

A happy birthday in numbers

On my birthday, I received a total of 65 "happy birthday!" messages (in either Chinese or English) via social messaging. For the first year, I got birthday wishes from LinkedIn. I thought it'd be fun to visualize using Tableau some basic information about these social messages, as a snapshot of a subset of my social network.
  • More than 3/4 of my birthday wishing social network are Chinese.
  • The biggest three groups in my current online social networks of nice people are via family, via work, and via kids, which are the three main (if not ONLY) occasions of my social interactions. 
  • My Chinese friends are active on Wechat and my non-Chinese friends are mostly on facebook.
  • Facebook and LinkedIn both post reminders about upcoming birthdays. From the trends, it seems that LinkedIn users are only active in the morning or in the evening, while Facebook users (at least those among my FB friends) are more active during the day and around meal times. 

Thursday, September 01, 2016