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
Drive, driven. Gave, given.YelloGive me a number of games.more quotes

quotes: fun

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?

Quotes about science

Science is a cemetery of dead ideas.
M. de Unamuno
As soon as questions of will or decision or reason or choice of action arise, human science is at a loss.
Noam Chomsky
The great tragedy of Science—the slaying of a
beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
T.H. Huxley
Biogenesis and Abiogenesis
Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?
Stephen Hawking
A Brief History of Time
Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.
Pope John Paul II
In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it’s the exact opposite.
Paul Dirac
Mathematical Circles Adieu by H. Eves [quoted]
Every attempt to employ mathematical methods in the study of chemical questions must be considered profoundly irrational and contrary to the spirit of chemistry... if mathematical analysis should ever hold a prominent place in chemistry — an aberration which is happily almost impossible — it would occasion a rapid and widespread degeneration of that science.
Auguste Comte
Cours de Philosophie Positive (1830)
Biology is the only science in which multiplication means the same thing as division.
Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof.
Ashley Montague
This isn’t a rare scene in science or technology. This is the commonest scene of all. Just plain stuck. In traditional maintenance this is the worst of all moments, so bad that you have avoided even thinking about it before you come to it.
Robert M. Pirsig
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Art is Science in Love.
E.F. Weisslitz
A poet is, after all, a sort of scientist, but engaged in a qualitative science in which nothing is measurable. He lives with data that cannot be numbered, and his experiments can be done only once. The information in a poem is, by definition, not reproducible. He becomes an equivalent of scientist, in the act of examining and sorting the things popping in [to his head], finding the marks of remote similarity, points of distant relationship, tiny irregularities that indicate that this one is really the same as that one over there only more important. Gauging the fit, he can meticulously place pieces of the universe together, in geometric configurations that are as beautiful and balanced as crystals.
Lewis Thomas
The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher
How often people speak of art and science as though they were two entirely different things, with no interconnection. An artist is emotional, they think, and uses only his intuition; he sees all at once and has no need of reason. A scientist is cold, they think, and uses only his reason; he argues carefully step by step, and needs no imagination. That is all wrong. The true artist is quite rational as well as imaginative and knows what he is doing; if he does not, his art suffers. The true scientist is quite imaginative as well as rational, and sometimes leaps to solutions where reason can follow only slowly; if he does not, his science suffers.
Isaac Asimov
The Roving Mind (Ch 25)

news + thoughts

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

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
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.

Genes that make us sick

Wed 22-11-2017
Where disease hides in the genome.

My illustration of the location of genes in the human genome that are implicated in disease appears in The Objects that Power the Global Economy, a book by Quartz.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
The location of genes implicated in disease in the human genome, shown here as a spiral. (more...)