The Great British Bayes-off: How much difference (statistically) does a soggy bottom make?

Macaroons, Swedish Princess Cake, and… hemp-flavoured bread? These days a simple Victoria sponge won’t cut it. Home baking is enjoying a comeback, and it’s largely thanks to The Great British Bake-off (GBBO), which has proved so popular since its launch in 2010 that it has expanded from six to 10 episodes a series (with the sixth series broadcast this summer), while inspiring copycat versions of the show in a variety of countries, including the USA, Australia, Ireland and France.

Continue Reading

The joy of clustering

In April 2014, FiveThirtyEight published a statistical analysis of the paintings of Bob Ross. Journalist Walt Hickey hand-coded hundreds of pieces of art in order to identify common themes. If that sounds like too much hard work, statistics PhD student Samantha Tyner describes an alternative machine-led approach that could make future art analysis a little bit easier. 

Continue Reading

Welcome to DotCity: a game about demography, built using R

Statisticians swear by R. The programming language is described by Tal Galili of the R-Statistics blog as 'a de facto standard for… statistical software development and data analysis'. But one R user is hoping to make a game out of it. Nathan Uyttendaele, a statistician and PhD student at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, is the brains behind DotCity, which could well be the first videogame to be built (at least in part) by using R.

How AI crushed all human records in 2048

By now, we’ve all heard of the addictive tile-mashing game called 2048. Last week, I picked up 2048 for the first time and - true to my nature - I started designing an AI to beat the game for me the following day. It didn’t take me long to find out that there’s already some pretty good AIs out there, so I picked up the best 2048 AI I could find and fired several instances of it to see what it could do. Much to my surprise, it not only beat 2048… it crushed every human record in 2048 that I could find.

Continue Reading