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Where am I supposed to go? Where was I supposed to know?Violet Indianaget lost in questionsmore quotes

information: beautiful



In Silico Flurries: Computing a world of snow. Scientific American. 23 December 2017


Color Resources + Tools

Choosing, naming and clustering colors—for everyone

Resources

Color summarizer

The color summarizer generates statistical color summaries of images.

It reports average RGB, HSV, LAB and LCH color components as well as histograms and individual pixel values for these color spaces. Comes with useful web API for all your automation needs.

Yes! I support LCH, which is extremely useful in generating color ramps and, in general, talking about perceptual aspects of color that are intuitive.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
My color summarizer reports the representative colors in an image by grouping colors into clusters of similar colors and reporting the average color in each cluster. This is useful in image identification and comparison.

The color summarizer also identifies representative colors in the image by using k-means clustering to group colors into clusters. The centers of each cluster are also reported by name, using my large database of named colors.

Below is an example of a detailed color report of an image—an adorable Fiat 126p I found while it was screaming out its color against the fading background of Havana.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
My color summarizer generates statistical color summaries of images, including a poetic list of words used to describe the colors.

Adobe Swatches for Brewer Palettes

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
All the Brewer palettes at a glance.

The Brewer color palettes are an excellent source for perceptually uniform color palettes. I provide Adobe Swatches for all colors in the Brewer Palettes.

I also provide a short talk to help you understand why these palettes are important.

Color Palettes for Color Blindness

Color blindness is a thing. You should worry about it when you're designing and especially when you're encoding information.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Sets of representative hues and tones that are indistinguishable to individuals with different kinds of color blindness. The rectangle below the each color pair shows how the colors appear to someone with color blindness.

I provide some background on color blindness and give options for choosing 7-, 12- and 15-color palettes that are colorblind safe.

Color palette for color blindness. / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
(left) Colors grouped by equivalence of perception in deuteranopes. Each of the two hues is represented in six different brightness and chroma combinations. (right) One of the subsets of colors on the left that are reasonably distinct in both deuteranopia and protanopia. To tritanopes, three of the pairs are difficult to distinguish.

List of Named Colors

Probably the world's largest list of named colors.

With more than 8,300 colors, even a mantis shrimp would be impressed. You can finally imagine a color you can't even imagine and name it!

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Use my list of named colors to name the colors in the Google logo: dodger blue, cinnabar, amber and medium emerland green.

The color name list is hooked into the color summarizer's clustering. You can get a list of words, derived from the color names, that describes an image.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The color summarizer returns words that qualitatively describe the image.

color proportions in country flags

A visual survey of the color proportions in flags of 256 countries.

Color proportions in country flags / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
(right) 256 country flags as concentric circles showing the proportions of each color in the flag. (left) Unique flags sorted by similarity.

Flags are depicted by concentric rings whose thickness is a function of the amount of that color in the flag.

I make the flag color catalog available, as well as similarity scores based on color proportions for each flag pair, so you can run your own analysis.

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news + thoughts

Curse(s) of dimensionality

Tue 05-06-2018
There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

We discuss the many ways in which analysis can be confounded when data has a large number of dimensions (variables). Collectively, these are called the "curses of dimensionality".

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Curse(s) of dimensionality. (read)

Some of these are unintuitive, such as the fact that the volume of the hypersphere increases and then shrinks beyond about 7 dimensions, while the volume of the hypercube always increases. This means that high-dimensional space is "mostly corners" and the distance between points increases greatly with dimension. This has consequences on correlation and classification.

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2018) Points of significance: Curse(s) of dimensionality Nature Methods 15:399–400.

Statistics vs Machine Learning

Tue 03-04-2018
We conclude our series on Machine Learning with a comparison of two approaches: classical statistical inference and machine learning. The boundary between them is subject to debate, but important generalizations can be made.

Inference creates a mathematical model of the datageneration process to formalize understanding or test a hypothesis about how the system behaves. Prediction aims at forecasting unobserved outcomes or future behavior. Typically we want to do both and know how biological processes work and what will happen next. Inference and ML are complementary in pointing us to biologically meaningful conclusions.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Statistics vs machine learning. (read)

Statistics asks us to choose a model that incorporates our knowledge of the system, and ML requires us to choose a predictive algorithm by relying on its empirical capabilities. Justification for an inference model typically rests on whether we feel it adequately captures the essence of the system. The choice of pattern-learning algorithms often depends on measures of past performance in similar scenarios.

Bzdok, D., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2018) Points of Significance: Statistics vs machine learning. Nature Methods 15:233–234.

Background reading

Bzdok, D., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2017) Points of Significance: Machine learning: a primer. Nature Methods 14:1119–1120.

Bzdok, D., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2017) Points of Significance: Machine learning: supervised methods. Nature Methods 15:5–6.

...more about the Points of Significance column

Happy 2018 `\pi` Day—Boonies, burbs and boutiques of `\pi`

Wed 14-03-2018

Celebrate `\pi` Day (March 14th) and go to brand new places. Together with Jake Lever, this year we shrink the world and play with road maps.

Streets are seamlessly streets from across the world. Finally, a halva shop on the same block!

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A great 10 km run loop between Istanbul, Copenhagen, San Francisco and Dublin. Stop off for halva, smørrebrød, espresso and a Guinness on the way. (details)

Intriguing and personal patterns of urban development for each city appear in the Boonies, Burbs and Boutiques series.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
In the Boonies, Burbs and Boutiques of `\pi` we draw progressively denser patches using the digit sequence 159 to inform density. (details)

No color—just lines. Lines from Marrakesh, Prague, Istanbul, Nice and other destinations for the mind and the heart.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Roads from cities rearranged according to the digits of `\pi`. (details)

The art is featured in the Pi City on the Scientific American SA Visual blog.

Check out art from previous years: 2013 `\pi` Day and 2014 `\pi` Day, 2015 `\pi` Day, 2016 `\pi` Day and 2017 `\pi` Day.

Machine learning: supervised methods (SVM & kNN)

Thu 18-01-2018
Supervised learning algorithms extract general principles from observed examples guided by a specific prediction objective.

We examine two very common supervised machine learning methods: linear support vector machines (SVM) and k-nearest neighbors (kNN).

SVM is often less computationally demanding than kNN and is easier to interpret, but it can identify only a limited set of patterns. On the other hand, kNN can find very complex patterns, but its output is more challenging to interpret.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Machine learning: supervised methods (SVM & kNN). (read)

We illustrate SVM using a data set in which points fall into two categories, which are separated in SVM by a straight line "margin". SVM can be tuned using a parameter that influences the width and location of the margin, permitting points to fall within the margin or on the wrong side of the margin. We then show how kNN relaxes explicit boundary definitions, such as the straight line in SVM, and how kNN too can be tuned to create more robust classification.

Bzdok, D., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2018) Points of Significance: Machine learning: a primer. Nature Methods 15:5–6.

Background reading

Bzdok, D., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2017) Points of Significance: Machine learning: a primer. Nature Methods 14:1119–1120.

...more about the Points of Significance column

Human Versus Machine

Tue 16-01-2018
Balancing subjective design with objective optimization.

In a Nature graphics blog article, I present my process behind designing the stark black-and-white Nature 10 cover.

Nature 10, 18 December 2017