Stochastic Block Models with R: Statistically rigerous clusting with rigorous code

Often a machine learning research project starts with brainstorming, continues to one-off scripts while an idea forms, and finally, a package is written to disseminate the product.

Stochastic Block Models with R: Statistically rigerous clusting with rigorous code

January 31, 2020

Often a machine learning research project starts with brainstorming, continues to one-off scripts while an idea forms, and finally, a package is written to disseminate the product. In this talk, I will share my experience rethinking this process by spreading the package writing across the whole process. While there are cognitive overheads involved with setting up a package framework, I will argue that these overheads can serve as a scaffolding for not only good code but robust research practices. The result of this experiment is the SBMR package: a native R package written to fit and investigate the results of Bipartite Stochastic Block Models that forms the backbone of my PhD dissertation. By going over the ups and downs of this process, I hope to leave the audience with inspiration for moving the package writing process closer to the start of their projects and melding research and code more closely to improve both.

About the speaker

Nick Strayer

I have used R and JavaScript in a variety of positions, including as a Journalist in the graphics department at the New York Times and as a 'Data Artist in Residence' at data visualization startup Conduce. Currently, I am a 5th year PhD Candidate in Biostatistics at Vanderbilt University focusing on network methods.