Week 3 - Regression and the Dying Computer

conf_annot My general confidence this week.

This week we studied various methods of linear and logistic regression. We went pretty deep into the mathematical underpinnings for why these techniques work, much further than I had gone in undergraduate statistics or graduate school work. The way we studied these regression techniques was to build our own models from scratch and compare their performance and outputs with that of Python’s own built-in libraries: statsmodels and scikit-learn. I am definitely not a fan of the documentation for either or these modules (there is NO reason that technical writing need be inaccessible) but scikit-learn at least seems slightly more intuitive. Both programming libraries are however very powerful and I was impressed with the speed with which they both were able to fit complex models on our datasets.

Being able to build a model to represent data is of no use to anyone unless you are able to interpret what the model actually means and how statistically significant it’s results are. We therefore spent a good deal of time this week learning various ways verify a model’s validity. This is something I spent a good deal of time doing during my year’s of experimental work in labs so I felt pretty good working through these assignments.

Dying computer…

What made this week particularly hard was my < 4 year old computer decided it would be a great time to die. It did this right in the middle of a quiz. The screen flashed shades of green and blue, it went totally black and then I heard a series of beeps coming from the inside the computer (rather than the speakers). Some sleuthing seemed to indicate that the RAM could potentially be bad. I purchased new RAM and a new solid-state drive on Amazon. Wednesday, after a long day at Galvanize, I spent the entire evening (until roughly 2am) installing the new parts and installing all software I needed.

Seemed like everything was running smoothy during the morning, but alas, even with the new parts, the computer continued to crash. So…I am now writing to you from a brand-new macbook. I have 14 days to see if I can fix my old one and return this new one, otherwise I’ll be keeping my new computer. It is a good 5 pounds lighter than my previous, so that’s nice.

La fin du semaine

The week ended with a difficult assessment covering math, statistics, python, pandas, numpy, SQL and more. My sister flew in Friday evening and we have been enjoying a weekend of hiking, celebrating my cousin’s PhD and eating far too much food.

Next Week: The real meat of the course begins – Machine Learning.