Great turnout!

Thanks again to everyone who made it to The Pilot in November. Too bad the “Flight Deck” upstairs was closed… it would have been nice to huddle in the heated patio area instead of sitting in the noisy downstairs area. Thankfully the close quarters around the table were conducive to getting people talking, however, so that was a good thing. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves.

A few notes to recap the night:

1. Anyone interested in going from “R User” to “R Programmer” should check out Hadley Wickham’s “Advanced R” website and consider picking up a copy of the book (which is basically the website coerced into book form).

2. A few people weren’t aware of the following free and very helpful online resources for statistical information and expertise: Cross Validated and R-bloggers. If you haven’t checked out these sites, definitely do that… and depending on your level of interest, you may want to sign up for the R-bloggers daily email broadcast.

Ok that’s it for now!

Cheers and see you in January.


What a beautiful evening to cap off a lackluster summer!

We had a good turnout at The Pilot and many of us stuck around until after 10 PM. I enjoyed meeting and chatting with some new members and overheard lots of good conversation around the table… much of which was stats-related! Thanks to everyone who made it out.

A few things I mentioned early on but don’t think everyone heard… for those interested in statistical learning, there are two great books available for free online:

1. An Introduction to Statistical Learning with Applications in R (intended for a broader audience)

2. The Elements of Statistical Learning: Data Mining, Inference, and Prediction (intended for a technical audience)

Supplementary video and slide content for the introductory text can be found here. It’s great when statisticians of such high calibre are able to offer quality educational material for free.

For budding statistical programmers out there, Stanford Online is offering a MOOC on Algorithms: Design and Analysis (Part 1) starting October 13. Some experience with a programming language (e.g. Python) is recommended.

Finally, I read an interesting “statistics in sports” article about streakiness in baseball home runs. It was written by Jim Albert and published in the latest issue of Chance (c/o ASA). The article caught my eye for a couple of reasons:

One, I played a lot of baseball growing up and almost went south (well, east really) during my senior university year to play for the NCAA D-1 Maine Black Bears. Being a pitcher, there were few things worse than hearing an especially solid crack of the bat and seeing the initial trajectory of a ball smashed deep into the outfield… going, going, gone!

Two, the ever-popular Nate Silver cut his teeth on baseball data before earning fame as an authorblogger and highly accurate predictor of U.S. election results. In the early 2000’s, he created the PECOTA system, a data-driven approach to forecasting major league baseball player performance… for a popular account of such systems being successfully put into practice, check out “Moneyball“. The movie is good, but as is often the case, the book is better.

Ok, I hope everyone is having a good week so far. I’m already looking forward to our next Meetup! I’ll aim for something in late October but it may get pushed into early November.

Stay tuned!

Good times!

Thanks to everyone who made it out last night… good conversation, good cheer, and good beer made for an enjoyable evening at the Swan & Firkin near Bloor & Runnymede. It was great to see some familiar faces and to meet some new people.

Aside from debating the finer points of correlation, association, and causation, we did talk about venue/location… given the relatively low turnout in the west end, and the fact that most attendees were based centrally (home or work), we’ve decided to have future Meetups in the vicinity of Yonge/Bloor. That way it’s convenient for all E/W and N/S TTC travelers, and there are lots of nearby options for places to meet. If things change over the next few get togethers we can revisit the topic and perhaps move the Meetup east or west on occasion.

Ok, I hope everyone’s having a great summer so far! I’m looking forward to our next Meetup, which will probably be happening mid to late August. In the meantime, please spread the word about our group and add a post or two here for all to enjoy.



In an effort to remain competitive in the face of powerful and free tools like R and Python, SAS has recently released a free University Edition, which runs on virtualization software (e.g. Oracle’s VirtualBox).

Along with Base SAS, University Edition includes SAS/STAT and SAS/IML, thus making it fairly well-equipped for advanced users.

Will it stave off what seems like the inevitable demise of big, expensive, and proprietary statistical analysis software systems?

We’ll see…