Plus/minus what? Let’s talk about uncertainty (talk)

Last week at DOAG 2017, I had two talks, one about deep learning with DL4J (slides here) and one about how to communicate uncertainty (or rather: how to construct prediction intervals for various methods / in various frameworks ranging from simple linear regression over Bayesian statistics to neural networks).

TLDR: The most important thing about communicating uncertainty is that you’re doing it.

Want all the formulae? presentation, github



Dynamic forecasts – with Bayesian linear models and neural networks (talk at Predictive Analytics World Berlin)

I really wish I had the time to write an article about the conference, instead of just posting the slides!

Predictive Analytics World was super inspiring, not just in a technical way but also as to the broader picture of today’s data science / AI explosion, including its political, sociological and personal implications.

As I really don’t have the time, I’m not even gonna try, so let me just point you to my talk, which was about time series forecasting using two under-employed (as yet) methods: Dynamic Linear Models (think: Kalman filter) and Recurrent Neural Networks (LSTMs, to be precise).

So, here are the slides, and as usual, here’s the link to the github repo, containing some more example code.

For me, experimentation with time series forecasting seems to form a time series in itself – I’m sure there’s pretty much still to be explored 🙂
Thanks for reading!

Time series shootout: ARIMA vs. LSTM (talk)

Yesterday, the Munich datageeks Data Day took place. It was a totally fun event – great to see how much is going on, data-science-wise, in and around Munich, and how many people are interested in the topic! (By the way, I think that more than half the talks were about deep learning!)

I also had a talk, “Time series shootout: ARIMA vs. LSTM” (slides on RPubs, github).

Whatever the title, it was really about showing a systematic comparison of forecasting using ARIMA and LSTM, on synthetic as well as real datasets. I find it amazing how little is needed to get a very decent result with LSTM – how little data, how little hyperparameter tuning, how few training epochs.

Of course, it gets most interesting when we look at datasets where ARIMA has problems, as with multiple seasonality. I have such an example in the talk (in fact, it’s the main climax ;-)), but it’s definitely also an interesting direction for further experiments.

Thanks for reading!

Deep Learning, deeplearning4j and Outlier Detection: Talks at Trivadis Tech Event

Last weekend, another edition of Trivadis Tech Event took place. As usual, it was great fun and a great source of inspiration.
I had the occasion to talk about deep learning twice: One talk was an intro to DL4J (deeplearning4j), zooming in on a few aspects I’ve found especially nice and useful while trying to provide a general introduction to deep learning at the same time. The audience was great, and the framework really is fun to work with, so this was a totally pleasant experience! Here are the slides, and here’s the example code.

The second talk was a joint session with my colleague Olaf on outlier / anomaly detection. We covered both ML and DL algorithms. For DL, I focused on variational autoencoders, the special challenge being to successfully apply the algorithm to datasets other than MNIST… and especially, datasets with a mix of categorical and continuous variables of different scale. As I say in the habitual “conclusion” slide, I don’t think I’ve arrived at a conclusion yet… any comments / suggestions are very welcome! Here’s the VAE presentation on RPubs, and here on github.
Thanks for reading!

Time series prediction – with deep learning

More and more often, and in more and more different areas, deep learning is making its appearance in the world around us.
Many small and medium businesses, however, will probably still think – Deep Learning, that’s for Google, Facebook & co., for the guys with big data and even bigger computing power (barely resisting the temptation to write “yuge power” here).

Partly this may be true. Certainly when it comes to running through immense permutations of hyperparameter settings. The question however is if we can’t obtain good results in more usual dimensions, too – in areas where traditional methods of data science / machine learning prevail. Prevail, as of today, that is.

One such area is time series prediction, with ARIMA & co. top on the leader board. Can deep learning be a serious competitor here? In what cases? Why? Exploring this is like starting out on an unknown road, fascinated by the magical things that may await us 😉
In any case, I’ve started walking down the road (not running!), in a rather take-your-time-and-explore-the-surroundings way. That means there’s much still to come, and it’s really just a beginning.

Here, anyway, is the travel report – the presentation slides, I mean: best viewed on RPubs, as RMarkdown on github, or downloadable as pdf).

R 4 hackers

Yesterday at Trivadis Tech Event, I talked about R for Hackers. It was the first session slot on Sunday morning, it was a crazy, nerdy topic, and yet there were, like, 30 people attending! An emphatic thank you to everyone who came!

R a crazy, nerdy topic, – why that, you’ll be asking? What’s so nerdy about using R?
Well, it was about R. But it was neither an introduction (“how to get things done quickly with R”), nor was it even about data science. True, you do get things done super efficiently with R, and true, R is great for data science – but this time, it really was about R as a language!

Because as a language, too, R is cool. In contrast to most object oriented languages, it (at least in it’s most widely used version, S3) uses generic OO, not message-passing OO (ok, I don’t know if this is cool, but it’s really instructive to see how little you need to implement an OO system!).

What definitely is cool though is how R is, quite a bit, a functional programming language! Even using base R, you can write in a functional style, and then there’s Hadley Wickham’s purrr that implements things like function composition or partial application.

Finally, the talk goes into base object internals – closures, builtins, specials… and it ends with a promise … 😉
So, here’s the talk: rpubs, pdf, github. Enjoy!

R for SQListas (3): Classifying Digits with TensorFlow

Yesterday at PASS Meetup Munich, I talked about R for SQListas – thanks again for your interest and attention guys, it was a very nice evening!
Actually, in addition to the content from that original presentation, which I’ve also covered in two recent blog posts (R for SQListas(1): Welcome to the tidyverse and R for SQListas(2): Forecasting the future), there was a new, third part this time: an introduction to machine learning with R, by example of the most classical of examples: MNIST, with a special focus on using rstudio’s tensorflow package for R.
While I hope I’ll find the time to write a post on this part too, I’m not too sure when this will be, so I’ve uploaded the slides already and added links to the pdf, github repo and publication on rpubs to the Presentations/Papers section. Enjoy!