Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - contact me Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca on Twitter Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Lumondo Photography Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Pi Art Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / mkweb.bcgsc.ca - Hilbertonians - Creatures on the Hilbert Curve
Here we are now at the middle of the fourth large part of this talk.Pepe Deluxeget nowheremore quotes

constellations: fun


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


visualization + design

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The 2018 Pi Day art celebrates the 30th anniversary of `\pi` day and connects friends stitching road maps from around the world. Pack a sandwich and let's go!

`\pi` Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants


Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2018 `\pi` day shrinks the world and celebrates road trips by stitching streets from around the world together. In this version, we look at the boonies, burbs and boutique of `\pi` by drawing progressively denser patches of streets. Let's go places.

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2017 `\pi` day

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2016 `\pi` approximation day

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2016 `\pi` day

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2015 `\pi` day

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2014 `\pi` approx day

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2014 `\pi` day

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
2013 `\pi` day

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Circular `\pi` art

On March 14th celebrate `\pi` Day. Hug `\pi`—find a way to do it.

For those who favour `\tau=2\pi` will have to postpone celebrations until July 26th. That's what you get for thinking that `\pi` is wrong.

If you're not into details, you may opt to party on July 22nd, which is `\pi` approximation day (`\pi` ≈ 22/7). It's 20% more accurate that the official `\pi` day!

Finally, if you believe that `\pi = 3`, you should read why `\pi` is not equal to 3.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
All art posters are available for purchase.
I take custom requests.

Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt.
—Horace

This year: creatures that don't exist, but once did, in the skies.

And a poem Of Black Body.

This year's `\pi` day song is Exploration by Karminsky Experience Inc. Why? Because "you never know what you'll find on an exploration".

create myths and contribute!

Want to contribute to the mythology behind the constellations in the `\pi` in the sky? Many already have a story, but others still need one. Please submit your stories!

This year's `\pi` day art goes to space and there finds creatures that once called Earth home.

Well, I don't know if they called it home—at least a few thought it was a terribly inhospitable. All thought it was unforgivingly Darwinian.


Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Star chart of the first 12,000,000 digits of `\pi`. The 80 constellations honor extinct animals and plants. Azimuthal equidistant projection. (BUY ARTWORK)

the digits of `\pi` as a star catalogue

I asked the question: what happens if you interpret the digits of `\pi` as a catalogue of stars? What would the patterns in the sky look like? And, would they have stories? A couple of weeks later—and a few adventures down the rabbit holes of topographical projections—I found the answer.

The digits of Pi are interpreted as a star catalogue. Starting from the beginning of `\pi`, each block of 12 digits is taken to be the `(x, y, z)` coordinates of a star and its absolute magnitude, which defines its brightness at a fixed distance. After sampling 12 million digits, which yields 1,000,000 stars, the stars are projected onto the celestial sphere to generate longitude and latitude coordinates from the perspective of an observer who is placed at center of the stars. The distance to the star is used to calculate the apparent magnitude—how bright it will appear on the sky chart.


Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Star chart of the first 12,000,000 digits of `\pi`. The 80 constellations honor extinct animals and plants. Plate carrée projection. (BUY ARTWORK)

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Star chart of the first 12,000,000 digits of `\pi`. The 80 constellations honor extinct animals and plants. Hammer/Aitoff elliptical projection. (BUY ARTWORK)

Of course, a star chart would not be complete without constellations. While the digits of `\pi` are taken to be a universal catalog of stars, it is up to the observer to subjectively interpret the patterns and find stories in the sky. Among the 40,000 stars drawn in the chart, 80 extinct species are honored as constellations—creatures range across time periods and geographical location and play together in the sky. And much like the constellations that you might have seen in the real sky (the hunter Orion and winged-horse Pegasus) the `\pi` in the sky patterns represent creatures that do not exist.

The twist? They all once did!

chart variations

Charts are available in blue, black and white and sepia.


Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Star chart of the first 12,000,000 digits of `\pi`. The 80 constellations honor extinct animals and plants. Azimuthal equidistant projection. (BUY ARTWORK)

Pi Day 2017 Art Posters - Star charts and extinct animals and plants
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
Star chart of the first 12,000,000 digits of `\pi`. The 80 constellations honor extinct animals and plants. Azimuthal equidistant projection. (BUY ARTWORK)

poetry in the sky

This year's art is accompanied by a poem, Of Black Body, by Paolo Marcazzan. The poem is named after the idealized black body, an idealized material that absorbs all incident radiation.

There's plenty of nothing to see in space, Paolo insists, "there is nothing to see and you are seeing it. A truth that likes it here" and he hopes that you'll be find "drawn into our constellation, and cooling."

stories in the sky

There are indeed stories in the sky and many of them haven't yet been told. Below are just some of them.

More stories are available in the details about each constellation. There, for each animal you can find the common name, Latin name, when it was extinct and a link to Wikipedia to learn more about the animal. Many have stories which they would love to share with you.

raphus — egg guardian extraordinaire

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Raphus and Pecatonica

The Dodo bird (Raphus cucullatus) is vigilantly guarding his eggs—the clusters of stars just north of &alpha Raphus (the first brightest star in the constellation) and south of β Raphus (the second brightest star). He hardly seems to care about the pestering River Mayfly (Acanthometropus pecatonica), who is trying to draw his attention.

desmodus — nightly escape attempt

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Desmodus

Desmodus, the giant vampire bat (Desmodus draculae) is said to be trying to escape the dome of the sky each night. You might see his shape fluttering up into the top of the northern hemisphere.

basilosaurus — chasing the light in the deep

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Basilosaurus

The king lizard Basilosaurus (Basilosaurus cetoides) dives deeper and deeper at the bottom of the south hemisphere, as he chases the light of the bright magnitude 1.8 star α Basilosaurus, which sits at the very bottom of the chart.

quagga and aurochs — figuring out the stripes

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Quagga and Aurochs

There is plenty of land mass in teh north, where huge creatures like the mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), sturdy aurochs (Bos primigenius) and the comical Quagga (Equus quagga quagga) run again. The Quagga cannot figure out his stripes and is seen frequently talking to the Aurochs, seeking his advice about the predicament of his patterns.

megalodon, rodhocetus and tecopa — the terror and the terrorized

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Megalodon, Rodhocetus and Tecopa

At the tip of the southern hemisphere drama unfolds as the monster shark Megalodon (Carcharodon megalodon) gives chase to the Tecopa pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis calidae) and Rodhocetus (Rodhocetus kasrani). Rodhocetus was an early whale that possessed land mammal characteristics and the story goes that he escaped Megalodon and lived out his life on the land, never returning to the sea.

camptor, mariana, alaotra and tadorna — I'm not a duck!

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Camptor, Mariana, Alaotra and Tadorna

The south hemisphere also has plenty of calmer waters, where all manners of floating birds come for a swim and chat. These are represented by the triangular constellations of Camptor (Camptorhynchus labradorius, the Labrador duck), Alaotra grebe (Tachybaptus rufolavatus), Mariana mallard (Anas oustaleti) and the Korean crested shelduck (Tadorna cristata). Rumor has it Tadorna may have snuck into the sky without permission—while not seen since the 1960’s, some say the duck isn't actually extinct! Alaotra is frustrated that Tadorna seems to get all the attention. Often confused for a duck, Alaotra would love you to know that she's in fact a grebe. She's very proud of this fact, despite of being prone to falls due to some biomechanical issues having to do with foot placement.

yersinia — don't come close

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Yersinia

Don't let Yersinia's small size fool you. The Black Death (Yersinia pestis) may be the smallest creature in the sky, but she'll liquify your insides before you can memorize the 80 constellations. Perhaps out of all the creatures in the sky, this is the one we're happy to see go. But, because it's small, you can never be quite sure Yersinia isn't extinct but merely hiding. Or waiting.

pipilo — flocking across

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Pipilo

Pipilo is a rare flocking constellation and breaks the rule that a constellation should be a single connected component. Its stars are connected a loose pattern of pairs and show a flock of Bermuda towhees (Pipilo naufragus) crossing from the north to south hemispheres.

o'ahu 'akepa — two is such a lonely number

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
O'ahu 'akepa

Like Pipilo, the O'ahu 'akepa (Loxops wolstenholmei) is the only other multi-part constellation. Here, a pair of akepas are chatting and spreading rumors that Tadorna isn't actually extinct.

bron and compsognathus — big brothers and little friends

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Bron and Compsognathus

It's hard to be bigger than Bron (Brontosaurus excelsus), who must pay great attention not to step on his frolicking friend Compsognathus (Compsognathus longipes), who seeks to find protection in Bron's shadow. Some believe that if Bron stretches his neck, he can look above the sky!

pinta and cylindraspis — a friend for the end of the earth

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Pinta and Cylindraspis

Ever since Cylindraspis (Cylindraspis indica) heard that Pinta (Chelonoidis abingdonii) was the last of his kind, he decided to keep him company. They can be seen going for a very slow walk at the bottom of the sky, kept their by their heavy shells. The last Pinta—a turtle named Lonesome George—died in 2012.

xerces and Palaeoaldrovanda — flying flowers and hungry flowers

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Xerces and Palaeoaldrovanda

Xerces (Glaucopsyche xerces) is the only thing that is more brilliant than the blue sky itself. Some say that butterflies are flying flowers and Xerces is never seen far from Palaeoaldrovanda. He must be careful though. Rumor has it Palaeoaldrovanda was related to the carnivorous plant genus Aldrovanda! Nobody wants to take that chance.

araucaria — shelter for flying customers

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Araucaria

Xerces (Glaucopsyche xerces) is the only thing that is more brilliant than the blue sky itself. Some say that butterflies are flying flowers and Xerces is never seen far from Palaeoaldrovanda. He must be careful though. Rumor has it Palaeoaldrovanda was related to the carnivorous plant genus Aldrovanda! Nobody wants to take that chance.

araucaria — too large for the sky

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Araucaria

Araucaria (Araucaria mirabilis) is truly a marvel and it is too big to fit in the sky! The constellation only shows the canopy and does not include the tree trunk—which was known to reach a height of 100 m. Araucaria offers plenty of protection and has many flying friends all around, including Urania, Moho and WhĒkau. Just a little further are the ducks (and a grebe), Camptor, Mariana, Tadorna and Alaotra. They would love to visit Araucaria but worry that they are too heavy to perch on her branches.

ardea and aepyronis — who can see beyond the sky first?

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Ardea and Aepyronis

The story goes that Camelops (Camelops kansansus) played a joke on Ardea (Ardea bennuides) and Aepyronis (Aepyornis maximus). He said "You both have long necks. But who has the longest? The first who can stretch far enough and tell me what is beyond the sky wins." To this day, Both Ardea and Aepyronis are seen straining their necks trying to win the bet.

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news + thoughts

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

Machine learning: a primer

Thu 18-01-2018
Machine learning extracts patterns from data without explicit instructions.

In this primer, we focus on essential ML principles— a modeling strategy to let the data speak for themselves, to the extent possible.

The benefits of ML arise from its use of a large number of tuning parameters or weights, which control the algorithm’s complexity and are estimated from the data using numerical optimization. Often ML algorithms are motivated by heuristics such as models of interacting neurons or natural evolution—even if the underlying mechanism of the biological system being studied is substantially different. The utility of ML algorithms is typically assessed empirically by how well extracted patterns generalize to new observations.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Machine learning: a primer. (read)

We present a data scenario in which we fit to a model with 5 predictors using polynomials and show what to expect from ML when noise and sample size vary. We also demonstrate the consequences of excluding an important predictor or including a spurious one.

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

Snowflake simulation

Tue 16-01-2018
Symmetric, beautiful and unique.

Just in time for the season, I've simulated a snow-pile of snowflakes based on the Gravner-Griffeath model.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A few of the beautiful snowflakes generated by the Gravner-Griffeath model. (explore)

The work is described as a wintertime tale in In Silico Flurries: Computing a world of snow and co-authored with Jake Lever in the Scientific American SA Blog.

Gravner, J. & Griffeath, D. (2007) Modeling Snow Crystal Growth II: A mesoscopic lattice map with plausible dynamics.