Tag Archives: python

IDV in Python: Interactive heatmap with Pandas and mpld3

I’ve been having a good time following the development of the mpld3 package, and I think it has a lot of potential for making interactive data visualization part of my regular workflow instead of that special something extra. A few weeks ago, an mpld3 user showed up with an interesting challenge, and solved their own problem quite well.

I finally got a chance to look at it today, and with a little spit-and-polish this could be something really useful for me.


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Filed under dataviz, software engineering

Open data and the scientific python ecosystem is making my life easier

Last week I gave a talk on my work on the Iraq mortality survey. It was the first time that I’ve had a chance to talk about it since our paper was published. And since the data is all online and the scientific python tools are getting slick, I was able to make charts like this one:


See how little code it takes here.

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Filed under global health

Statistics in Python: Bootstrap resampling with numpy and, optionally, pandas

I’m almost ready to do all my writing in the IPython notebook. If only there was a drag-and-drop solution to move it into a wordpress blog. The next closest thing: An IPython Notebook on Github’s Gist, linked from here. This one is about bootstrap resampling with numpy and, optionally, pandas.

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Filed under statistics

Regression Modeling in Python: Patsy Spline

I’ve been watching the next generation of PyMC come together over the last months, and there is some very exciting stuff happening. The part on GLM regression led me to a different project which is also of interest, a regression modeling minilanguage, called Patsy which “brings the convenience of R ‘formulas’ to Python.”

This package recently introduced a method for spline regression, and avoided all puns in naming. Impressive.

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Filed under statistics

DSP in Python: Active Noise Reduction with PyAudio

I had a fun little project a while back, to deal with some night noise that was getting in the way of my sleep. Active noise reduction, hacked together in Python. It really works (for me)! There is tons of room for improvement, and at least one interested party. I’m finally pushing it out into the world, so maybe someone will improve it.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Powell’s Method for Maximization in PyMC

I have been using “Powell’s Method” to find maximum likelihood (ahem, maximum a posteriori) estimates in my PyMC models for years now. It is something that I arrived at by trying all the options once, and it seemed to work most reliably. But what does it do? I never bothered to figure out, until today.

It does something very reasonable. That is to optimize a multidimensional function along one dimension at a time. And it does something very tricky, which is to update the basis for one-dimensional optimization periodically, so that it quickly finds a “good” set of dimensions to optimize over. Now that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It is definitely the same kind of trick that makes the Adaptive Metropolis step method a winner in MCMC.

The 48-year-old paper introducing the approach, M. J. D. Powell, An efficient method for finding the minimum of a function of several variables without calculating derivatives, is quite readable today. If you want to see it in action, I added an ipython notebook to my pymc examples repository on github: [ipynb] [py] [pdf].

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PyMC+Pandas: Poisson Regression Example

When I was gushing about the python data package pandas, commenter Rafael S. Calsaverini asked about combining it with PyMC, the python MCMC package that I usually gush about. I had a few minutes free and gave it a try. And just for fun I gave it a try in the new ipython notebook. It works, but it could work even better. See attached:

[pdf] [ipynb]


Filed under MCMC, software engineering

My First Contribution to PyMC

I’m excited to report that my first contribution back to the PyMC codebase was accepted. :)

It is a slight reworking of the pymc.Matplot.plot function that make it include autocorrelation plots of the trace, as well as histograms and timeseries.  I also made the histogram look nicer (in my humble opinion).



In this example, I can tell that MCMC hasn’t converged from the trace of beta_2 without my changes, but it is dead obvious from the autocorrelation plot of beta_2 in the new version.

The process of making changes to the pymc sourcecode is something that has intimidated me for a while.  Here are the steps in my workflow, in case it helps you get started doing this, too.

# first fork a copy of pymc from https://github.com/pymc-devs/pymc.git on github
git clone https://github.com/pymc-devs/pymc.git

# then use virtualenv to install it and make sure the tests work
virtualenv env_pymc_dev
source env_pymc_dev/bin/activate

# then you can install pymc without being root
cd pymc
python setup.py install
# so you can make changes to it without breaking everything else

# to test that it is working
cd ..
>>> import pymc
>>> pymc.test()
# then make changes to pymc...
# to test changes, and make sure that all of the tests that use to pass still do repeat the process above
cd pymc
python setup.py install
cd ..
>>> import pymc
>>> pymc.test()

# once everything is perfect, push it to a public git repo and send a "pull request" to the pymc developers.

Is there an easier way?  Let me know in the comments.

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Filed under MCMC, software engineering

MCMC in Python: A simple random effects model and its extensions

A nice example of using PyMC for multilevel (aka “Random Effects”) modeling came through on the PyMC mailing list a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve put it into a git repo so that I can play around with it a little, and collect up the feedback that the list generates.

Here is the situation:

Hi All,

New to this group and to PyMC (and mostly new to Python). In any case, I’m writing to ask for help in specifying a multilevel model (mixed model) for what I call partially clustered designs. An example of a partially clustered design is a 2-condition randomized psychotherapy study where subjects are randomly assigned to conditions. In condition 1, subjects are treated in small groups of say 8 people a piece. In the condition 2, usually a control, subjects are only assessed on the outcome (they don’t receive an intervention). Thus you have clustering in condition 1 but not condition 2.

The model for a 2-condition study looks like (just a single time point to keep things simpler):
y_{ij} = b_0 + b_1 Tx + u_j Tx + e_{ij},
where y_ij is the outcome for the ith person in cluster j (in most multilevel modeling software and in PROC MCMC in SAS, subjects in the unclustered condition are all in clusters of just 1 person), b_0 is the overall intercept, b_1 is the treatment effect, Tx is a dummy coded variable coded as 1 for the clustered condition and 0 for the unclustered condition, u_j is the random effect for cluster j, and e_ij is the residual error. The variance among clusters is \sigma^2_u and the residual term is \sigma^2_e (ideally you would estimate a unique residual by condition).

Because u_j interacts with Tx, the random effect is only contributes to the clustered condition.

In my PyMC model, I expressed the model in matrix form – I find it easier to deal with especially for dealing with the cluster effects. Namely:
Y = XB + ZU + R,
where X is an n x 2 design matrix for the overall intercept and intervention effect, B is a 1 x 2 matrix of regression coefficients, Z is an n x c design matrix for the cluster effects (where c is equal to the number of clusters in the clustered condition), and U is a c x 1 matrix of cluster effects. The way I’ve written the model below, I have R as an n x n diagonal matrix with \sigma^2_e on the diagonal and 0′s on the off-diagonal.

All priors below are based on a model fit in PROC MCMC in SAS. I’m trying to replicate the analyses in PyMC so I don’t want to change the priors.

The data consist of 200 total subjects. 100 in the clustered condition and 100 in the unclustered. In the clustered condition there are 10 clusters of 10 people each. There is a single outcome variable.

I have 3 specific questions about the model:

  1. Given the description of the model, have I successfully specified the model? The results are quite similar to PROC MCMC, though the cluster variance (\sigma^2_u) differs more than I would expect due to Monte Carlo error. The differences make me wonder if I haven’t got it quite right in PyMC.
  2. Is there a better (or more efficient) way to set up the model? The model runs quickly but I am trying to learn Python and to get better at optimizing how to set up models (especially multilevel models).
  3. How can change my specification so that I can estimate unique residual variances for clustered and unclustered conditions? Right now I’ve estimated just a single residual variance. But I typically want separate estimates for the residual variances per intervention condition.

Here are my first responses:

1. This code worked for me without any modification. :) Although when
I tried to run it twice in the same ipython session, it gave me
strange complaints. (for pymc version 2.1alpha, wall time 78s).
For the newest version in the git repo (pymc version 2.2grad,
commit ca77b7aa28c75f6d0e8172dd1f1c3f2cf7358135, wall time 75s) it
didn’t complain.

2. I find the data wrangling section of the model quite opaque. If
there is a difference between the PROC MCMC and PyMC results, this
is the first place I would look. I’ve been searching for the most
transparent ways to deal with data in Python, so I can share some
of my findings as applied to this block of code.

3. The model could probably be faster. This is the time for me to
recall the two cardinal rules of program optimization: 1) Don’t
Optimize, and 2) (for experts only) Don’t Optimize Yet.

That said, the biggest change to the time PyMC takes to run is in
the step methods. But adjusting this is a delicate operation.
More on this to follow.

4. Changing the specification is the true power of the PyMC approach,
and why this is worth the extra effort, since a random effects
model like yours is one line of STATA. So I’d like to write out
in detail how to change it. More on this to follow.

5. Indentation should be 4 spaces. Diverging from this inane detail
will make python people itchy.

Have a look in the revision history and the git repo README for more.

Good times. Here is my final note from the time I spent messing around:
Django and Rails have gotten a lot of mileage out of emphasizing
_convention_ in frequently performed tasks, and I think that PyMC
models could also benefit from this approach. I’m sure I can’t
develop our conventions myself, but I have changed all the file names
to move towards what I think we might want them to look like. Commit
linked here

My analyses often have these basic parts: data, model, fitting code,
graphics code. Maybe your do, too.

p.s. Scott and I have started making an automatic model translator, to generate models like this from the kind of concise specification that users of R and STATA are familiar with. More news on that in a future post.

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Filed under MCMC, statistics

Data Wrangling in R, Stata and Python

It was nearly a year ago when I was accosted by students I had urged to try Python and their complaints that the data manipulation capabilities they found so convenient in R and Stata were nowhere to be found. At the time, I did some digging and told them to try la.larry (or pandas, as mentioned by readers of that post). With some more experience, these recommendations have come up again, and in hindsight it seems like la.larry is too heavy a hammer for our most common tasks.

I’m hoping to put together a translation guide for R, Stata, and Python (there is already an extensive one… ours will be much more specialized, to just a few data wrangling commands), and until then, here are Kyle’s top two:

The easiest way to build record arrays (aside from csv2rec) IMO:

import numpy as np
a = ['USA','USA','CAN']
b = [1,6,4]
c = [1990.1,2005.,1995.]
d = ['x','y','z']
some_recarray = np.core.records.fromarrays([a,b,c,d], names=['country','age','year','data'])

The fromarrays method is especially nice because it automatically deals with datatypes.

To subset a particular country-year-age:

                & (some_recarray.age==6)
                & (some_recarray.year==2005)]

I’ve also found that caching each of the indices independently vastly speeds things up if you’re going to be iterating.

Love the recarray, hate the documentation.


Filed under software engineering