Tag Archives: statistics

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I don’t feel like having that post about how big things are brewing in US health care reform on the top of my blog anymore, so here is a quick replacement: a ranking paper that caught my eye recently on arxiv, where computer scientists is applied to politics: On Ranking Senators By Their Votes, by my fellow CMU alum, Mugizi Rwebangira (@rweba on twitter).

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C4G @ GaTech

The Chronicle of Higher Ed has a short piece on public-service applications of computer science that are coming out of a class called Computing for Good (C4G) that TCS star Santosh Vempala co-taught at Georgia Tech last spring.

This is an idea that is emerging in several ACO-related disciplines. Manuela Veloso has been running a similar program at CMU called V-Unit, Karen Smilowitz and Michael Johnson held a session at INFORMS 2007 on community-based operations research, and in 2006 student statisticians started a network of volunteer consultancies called Statistics in the Community.

It’s great to see a tradition of “pro bono” work developing in theoretical fields. It’s not just a way for lawyers to assuage their consciences anymore.

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Florence Nightingale: Health Metrics Pioneer

Diagram of the causes of mortality of the army in the east

Nightingale's Coxcomb


Science News recently ran an article on the health statistics work and data visualization work of Florence Nightingale.  It’s fun for me to learn about this history, since I am such a recent immigrant to the land of health metrics. Nice quotes from Nightingale’s statistical mentor in the piece, too:

You complain that your report would be dry.  The dryer the better. Statistics should be the dryest of all reading.

The graphics in the Science News article are from an educational project of the Statistics Lab at the University of Cambridge called Understanding Uncertainty. It seems like Nightingale’s coxcomb it is a well debated form of infoviz over at the Edward Tufte Discussion Board.

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Filed under global health