Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / - contact me Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / on Twitter Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / - Lumondo Photography Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / - Pi Art Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / - Hilbertonians - Creatures on the Hilbert Curve
Where am I supposed to go? Where was I supposed to know?Violet Indianaget lost in questionsmore quotes

english: exciting

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

art + literature

daily quotation server archives

In the late 90’s I started (a good decade for starts) a daily quotation server project at The domain is now defunct—some pages are partially viewable at the Way Back Machine.

Below is the list of quotes I had collected by the end of the life of the project. Most are about love—duh—and a few are jolly jests from funny trenches. You know, that place where mustard gas makes your eyes water.

The quotes weren’t scraped from quote archives—each is meaningful and hand-picked.

the quote archive

And now for full list of 1,600 other things worth reading. Such as everything Dorothy Parker has written and ... yes, even the Pinky and Brain quotes, which are a special kind of special.

Quote collections about love, heart, desire, life, death, god, mind, science.

Feeling lucky? Read 10 random quotes. Well, will you, punk?

A subset of random quotes

Then awake!—the heavens look bright, my dear,
This never too late for delight, my dear,
And the best of all ways
To lengthen our days,
Is to steal a few hours from the night, my dear!
Thomas Moore
Irish Melodies. The Young May Moon
All life is a struggle in the dark ... This dread and
darkness of the mind cannot be dispelled by the
sunbeams, the shining shafts of day, but only by
an understanding of the outward form and inner
workings of nature. And now to business,
I will explain ...
On the Nature of the Universe
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
George Bernard Shaw
I wish you would read a little poetry sometimes.
Your ignorance cramps my conversation.
Anthony Hope
The Dolly Dialogues, No. 22
I strove with ; for was worth my strife;
Nature I loved, and, next to Nature, Art;
I warmed both hands before the fire of life;
It sinks, and I am ready to depart.
Walter Savage Landor
Consider what you think jsutice quires, and decide
accordingly. But never give your reasons; for your
judgement will probably be right, but your reasons will
certainly be wrong.
Lord Mansfield
Foeda est in coitu et brevis voluptas
Et taedet Veneris statim peractae.
[Delight of lust is gross and brief
And weariness treads on desire.]
"Then we will have tonight!" we said.
"Tomorrow—we may not be dead?"
The morrow touched our eyes, and found
Us walking firm above the ground,
Our pulses quick, our blood alight.
Tomorrow’s gone—we’ll have tonight!
Dorothy Parker
On Cheating the Fiddler
Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure
the operation of life.
George Bernard Shaw
I hope that posterity will judge me kindly, not only as to the things which I have explained, but also to those which I have intentionally omitted so as to leave to others the pleasure of discovery.
Rene Descartes
La Geometrie

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
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
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
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
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
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
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