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Distractions and amusements, with a sandwich and coffee.

Trance opera—Spente le Stelle
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This section contains various art work based on `\pi`, `\phi` and `e` that I created over the years.

Some of the numerical art reveals interesting and unexpected observations. For example, the sequence 999999 in π at digit 762 called the Feynman Point. Or that if you calculate π to 13,099,586 digits you will find love.

`\pi` day art and `\pi` approximation day art is kept separate.

All of the posters are listed in the posters section. Some also appear in the methods section, where I describe how they were made. Most of the circular art was made with Circos.

Cristian Ilies Vasile had the idea of representing the digits of `\pi` as a path traced by links between successive digits. Each digit is assigned a segment around the circle and a link between segment `i` and `j` corresponds to the appearance of `ij` in `\pi`. For example, the "14" in "3.14..." is drawn as a link between segment 1 and segment 4.

The position of the link on a digit's segment is associated with the position of the digit `\pi`. For example, the "14" link associated with the 2nd digit (1) and the 3rd digit (4) is drawn from position 2 on the 1 segment to position 3 on the 4 segment.

As more digits are added to the path, the image becomes a weaving mandala.

I added to Cristian's representation by showing the number of transitions between digits in a series of concentric circles placed outside the links. This summary representation counts the number of transition links within a region and addresses the question of what kind of digits appear immediately before or after a given digit in `\pi`. The approach is diagrammed below.

The original images were generated using the 10-color Brewer paired qualitative palette, which was later modified as shown below.

The bubbles that count the number of links quickly draw attention to regions where specific digit pairs are frequent. In the image for `\pi` below, which shows transitions for the first 1,000 digits, the large bubble on the 9 segment is due to the "999999" sequence at decimal place 762. This is the Feynman point, which I describe below.

The image below shows how this representation of `\pi` compares to that of `\phi` and `e`.

The transition probabilities for each 10 digit bin for the first 2,000 digits of `\pi`, `\phi` and `e` are shown in the image below.

This sequence of 6 9's occurs significantly earlier than expected by chance. Because the distribution and sequence of digits of `\pi` is thought to be normal, we can calculate how frequently we should expect a series of 6 identical digits.

For a given digit, the chance that the next 5 digits are the same is 0.00001 (0.1 that the next digit is the same × 0.1 that the second-nex digit is the same × ...). Therefore the chance that a given position the next 5 digits are *not* the same is 1 - 1/0.00001 = 0.99999. From this, the chance that `k` consecutive digits don't initiate a 6-digit sequence is therefore 0.99999^{`k`}.

If I ask what is `k` for which this value is 0.5, I need to solve 0.99999^{`k`}, which gives `k` = 69,314. Thus, chances are even (50%) that in a 69,000 digit random sequence we'll see a run of 6 idendical digits. This calculation is an approximation.

It's fun to look for words in `\pi`. For example, love appears at 13,099,586th digit.

The digits of `\pi` are, as far as we know, randomly distributed. Art based on its digits therefore as a quality that is influenced by this random distribution. To provide a reference of what such a random pattern looks like, below are 16 random numbers represented in the same way. They're all different, yet strangely the same.

Below are more images by Cristian Ilies Vasile, where dots are used to represent the adjacency between digits. As in the image above, each digit 0-9 is represented by a colored segment. For each digit sequence `ij`, a dot is placed on the `i`th segment at the position of `i` colored by `j`.

For example, for `\pi` the dot coordinates for the first 7 digits are (segment:position:label) 3:0:1 → 1:1:4 → 4:2:1 → 1:3:5 → 5:4:9 ...

segment position colored_by 3 0 1 1 1 4 4 2 1 1 3 5 5 4 9 9 5 2 2 6 6

Because there is a large number of digits, the dots stack up near their position to avoid overlapping. The layout of the dots is automated by Circos' text track layout.

By mapping the digits onto a red-yellow-blue Brewer palette (0 9) and placing them as circles on an Archimedean spiral a dense and pleasant layout can be obtained.

Why the Archimedean spiral? This spiral is defined as `r = a + b \theta` and has the interesting property that a ray from the origin will intersect the spiral every `2 pi b`. Thus, each spiral can accomodate inscribed circles of radius `\pi b`.

Why the Brewer palette? These color schemes have some very useful perceptual properties and are commonly used to encode quantitative and categorical data.

I have use the Archimedean spiral to make art for `\pi` approximation day

Quantile regression explores the effect of one or more predictors on quantiles of the response. It can answer questions such as "What is the weight of 90% of individuals of a given height?"

Unlike in traditional mean regression methods, no assumptions about the distribution of the response are required, which makes it practical, robust and amenable to skewed distributions.

Quantile regression is also very useful when extremes are interesting or when the response variance varies with the predictors.

Das, K., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2019) Points of significance: Quantile regression. *Nature Methods* **16**:451–452.

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2015) Points of significance: Simple linear regression. *Nature Methods* **12**:999–1000.

Outliers can degrade the fit of linear regression models when the estimation is performed using the ordinary least squares. The impact of outliers can be mitigated with methods that provide robust inference and greater reliability in the presence of anomalous values.

We discuss MM-estimation and show how it can be used to keep your fitting sane and reliable.

Greco, L., Luta, G., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2019) Points of significance: Analyzing outliers: Robust methods to the rescue. *Nature Methods* **16**:275–276.

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2016) Points of significance: Analyzing outliers: Influential or nuisance. Nature Methods 13:281–282.

Two-level factorial experiments, in which all combinations of multiple factor levels are used, efficiently estimate factor effects and detect interactionsâ€”desirable statistical qualities that can provide deep insight into a system.

They offer two benefits over the widely used one-factor-at-a-time (OFAT) experiments: efficiency and ability to detect interactions.

Since the number of factor combinations can quickly increase, one approach is to model only some of the factorial effects using empirically-validated assumptions of effect sparsity and effect hierarchy. Effect sparsity tells us that in factorial experiments most of the factorial terms are likely to be unimportant. Effect hierarchy tells us that low-order terms (e.g. main effects) tend to be larger than higher-order terms (e.g. two-factor or three-factor interactions).

Smucker, B., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2019) Points of significance: Two-level factorial experiments *Nature Methods* **16**:211–212.

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of significance: Designing comparative experiments.. Nature Methods 11:597–598.

Digits, internationally

Celebrate `\pi` Day (March 14th) and set out on an exploration explore accents unknown (to you)!

This year is purely typographical, with something for everyone. Hundreds of digits and hundreds of languages.

A special kids' edition merges math with color and fat fonts.

Check out art from previous years: 2013 `\pi` Day and 2014 `\pi` Day, 2015 `\pi` Day, 2016 `\pi` Day, 2017 `\pi` Day and 2018 `\pi` Day.

One moment you're `:)`

and the next you're `:-.`

Make sense of it all with my Tree of Emotional life—a hierarchical account of how we feel.

One of my color tools, the `colorsnap`

application snaps colors in an image to a set of reference colors and reports their proportion.

Below is Times Square rendered using the colors of the MTA subway lines.