New Job at the Bank of Montreal in Toronto

I have accepted an offer from the Bank of Montreal to become a Manager of Operational Risk Analytics and Modelling at its corporate headquarter office in Toronto.  Thus, I have resigned from my job at the British Columbia Cancer Agency.  I will leave Vancouver at the end of December, 2015, and start my new job at the beginning of January, 2016.

I have learned some valuable skills and met some great people here in Vancouver over the past 2 years.  My R programming skills have improved a lot, especially in text processing.  My SAS programming skills have improved a lot, and I began a new section on my blog to SAS programming as a result of what I learned.  I volunteered and delivered presentations for the Vancouver SAS User Group (VanSUG) – once on statistical genetics, and another on sampling strategies in analytical chemistry, ANOVA, and PROC TRANSPOSE.  I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting some smart and helpful people at the Data Science, Machine Learning, and R Programming Meetups.

I lived in Toronto from 2011 to 2013 while pursuing my Master’s degree in statistics at the  University of Toronto and working as a statistician at Predicum.  I look forward to re-connecting with my colleagues there.

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Vancouver Python Day @ Mobify Vancouver – Saturday, September 12, 2015

I am excited to attend Vancouver Python Day on Saturday, September 12, 2015, at Mobify.  Learn about algorithmic trading, the Python Data Toolkit, using Python on mobile devices, and more! The conference is free to attend.  If you will go to this conference, then please feel free to come and say “Hello”!

Vancouver Python Day
Saturday September 12, 2015
9:30AM – 4:00PM

Mobify Vancouver
#300 – 948 Homer St, Vancouver, BC

Scheduled Presentations

Keynote: The State of Mobile Python
Russell Keith-Magee, Django Software Foundation

Socializing and Networking for Awkward Humans
Carly Slater

Spreading Python Skills to the Scientific Community
Bill Mills, Mozilla Science Lab

Using the Python Data Toolkit: A Live Demo!
Tiffany Timbers

Interesting New Features in Python 3.5
Brett Cannon, Microsoft

Algorithmic Trading in Python
Simon Thornington

See the agenda for the full schedule.

Lightning Talks

Time will be provided for Python and Django lightning talks. Sign up will be on site.

Data Science Seminar by David Campbell on Approximate Bayesian Computation and the Earthworm Invasion in Canada

My colleague, David Campbell, will be the feature speaker at the next Vancouver Data Science Meetup on Thursday, June 25.  (This is a jointly organized event with the Vancouver Machine Learning Meetup and the Vancouver R Users Meetup.)  He will present his research on approximate Bayesian computation and Markov Chain Monte Carlo, and he will highlight how he has used these tools to study the invasion of European earthworms in Canada, especially their drastic effects on the boreal forests in Alberta.

Dave is a statistics professor at Simon Fraser University, and I have found him to be very smart and articulate in my communication with him.  This seminar promises to be both entertaining and educational.  If you will attend it, then I look forward to seeing you there!  Check out Dave on Twitter and LInkedIn.

Title: The great Canadian worm invasion (from an approximate Bayesian computation perspective)

Speaker: David Campbell

Date: Thursday, June 25

Place:

HootSuite (Headquarters)

5 East 8th Avenue

Vancouver, BC

Schedule:

• 6:00 pm: Doors are open – feel free to mingle!
• 6:30 pm: Presentation begins.
• ~7:45 Off to a nearby restaurant for food, drinks, and breakout discussions.

Abstract:

After being brought in by pioneers for agricultural reasons, European earthworms have been taking North America by storm and are starting to change the Alberta Boreal forests. This talk uses an invasive species model to introduce the basic ideas behind estimating the rate of new worm introductions and how quickly they spread with the goal of predicting the future extent of the great Canadian worm invasion. To take on the earthworm invaders, we turn to Approximate Bayesian Computation methods. Bayesian statistics are used to gather and update knowledge as new information becomes available owing to their success in prediction and estimating ongoing and evolving processes. Approximate Bayesian Computation is a step in the right direction when it’s just not possible to actually do the right thing- in this case using the exact invasive species model is infeasible. These tools will be used within a Markov Chain Monte Carlo framework.

About Dave Campbell:

Dave Campbell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at Simon Fraser University and Director of the Management and Systems Science Program. Dave’s main research area is at the intersections of statistics with computer science, applied math, and numerical analysis. Dave has published papers on Bayesian algorithms, adaptive time-frequency estimation, and dealing with lack of identifiability. His students have gone on to faculty positions and worked in industry at video game companies and predicting behaviour in malls, chat rooms, and online sales.

Seminar by Tiff Macklem: Lessons Learned from the Global Financial Crisis – Monday, March 30, 2015

I look forward to attending an upcoming seminar in Vancouver by Tiff Macklem on how he helped to manage the global financial crisis in 2008 while working as the Senior Deputy Governor in the Bank of Canada.  He is now the Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.  This is an event for alumni of the University of Toronto and their guests.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Metropolitan Room – Terminal City Club

837 West Hastings Street

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

V6C 1B6

If you will attend this seminar, please feel free to come and say “Hello”!

University of Toronto Alumni Reception with Meric Gertler – Tuesday, September 16, 2014 @ Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre

I will attend the upcoming University of Toronto Alumni Reception in Vancouver to meet the new President of the University of Toronto, Meric Gertler.  If you will attend, please feel free to come up and say “Hello”!

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Date: Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Time: 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Location:

Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
1088 Burrard St.
Vancouver, BC
V6Z 2R9

Vancouver Machine Learning and Data Science Meetup – NLP to Find User Archetypes for Search & Matching

I will attend the following seminar by Thomas Levi in the next R/Machine Learning/Data Science Meetup in Vancouver on Wednesday, June 25.  If you will also attend this event, please come up and say “Hello”!  I would be glad to meet you!

Eric Cai - Official Head Shot

To register, sign up for an account on Meetup, and RSVP in the R Users Group, the Machine Learning group or the Data Science group.

     Title: NLP to Find User Archetypes for Search & Matching

     Speaker: Thomas Levi, Plenty of Fish

     Location: HootSuite, 5 East 8th Avenue, Vancouver, BC

     Time and Date: 6-8 pm, Wednesday, June 25, 2014

 

Abstract

As the world’s largest free dating site, Plenty Of Fish would like to be able to match with and allow users to search for people with similar interests. However, we allow our users to enter their interests as free text on their profiles. This presents a difficult problem in clustering, search and machine learning if we want to move beyond simple ‘exact match’ solutions to a deeper archetypal user profiling and thematic search system. Some of the common issues that arise are misspellings, synonyms (e.g. biking, cycling and bicycling) and similar interests (e.g. snowboarding and skiing) on a several million user scale. In this talk I will demonstrate how we built a system utilizing topic modelling with Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) on a several hundred thousand word vocabulary over ten million+ North American users and explore its applications at POF.

 

Bio

Thomas Levi started out with a doctorate in Theoretical Physics and String Theory from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006. His post-doctoral studies in cosmology and string theory, where he wrote 19 papers garnering 650+ citations, then took him to NYU and finally UBC.  In 2012, he decided to move into industry, and took on the role of Senior Data Scientist at POF. Thomas has been involved in diverse projects such as behaviour analysis, social network analysis, scam detection, Bot detection, matching algorithms, topic modelling and semantic analysis.

 

Schedule
• 6:00PM Doors are open, feel free to mingle
• 6:30 Presentations start
• 8:00 Off to a nearby watering hole (Mr. Brownstone?) for a pint, food, and/or breakout discussions

Presentation on Statistical Genetics at Vancouver SAS User Group – Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I am excited and delighted to be invited to present at the Vancouver SAS User Group‘s next meeting.  I will provide an introduction to statistical genetics; specifically, I will

  • define basic terminology in genetics
  • explain the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in detail
  • illustrate how Pearson’s chi-squared goodness-of-fit test can be used in PROC FREQ in SAS to check the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium
  • illustrate how the Newton-Raphson algorithm can be used for maximum likelihood estimation in PROC IML in SAS

Eric Cai - Official Head Shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can register for this meeting here.  The meeting’s coordinates are

9:00am – 3:00pm

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

BC Cancer Agency Research Centre

675 West 10th Avenue.

Vancouver, BC

 

If you will attend this meeting, please feel free to come up and say “Hello!”.  I look forward to meeting you!

Vancouver Bioinformatics Users Group Holiday Party 2013 – Friday, December 13, 2013 @ BC Cancer Agency

I will attend the VanBUG Holiday Party on Friday,  December 13, at the BC Cancer Agency.  Unlike most VanBug meetings, this party will feature lightning talks, each lasting 3 minutes in length, on various topics in bioinformatics.  Dinner will be served afterward.  Here are the details.  The event is free, but please RSVP by Monday, December 9, 2013.

Date: 13 December 2013, Friday
Location: Gordon and Leslie Diamond Family Theatre
BC Cancer Research Centre , 675 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC.
Time: 5:00 – 9:00 PM

If you will attend this event, please come up and say “Hello”!

Vancouver SAS Users Group Meeting – Wednesday, November 27th @ BC Cancer Agency

I am very excited to attend my first VanSUG meeting next week!  I was very active in the SAS community in Toronto for 2 years before my recent move to Vancouver, and it was a great opportunity to learn and network with other statisticians and analytics professionals.  For the Toronto Area SAS Society, I presented on partial least squares regression, K-means clustering, and discriminant analysis, and I also helped with its statistics break-out group to answer questions and offer advice on statistics questions.  I look forward to meeting and learning from new colleagues as I join Vancouver’s own network of SAS users!

If you will come to this next VanSUG meeting, please come up and say “Hello”!  Here are the details.  This web page also has archives to past presentations and newsletters.

Wednesday November 27th, 2013, 9:00a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Gordon & Leslie Diamond Family Theatre
BC Cancer Agency Research Centre
675 West 10th Ave.
Vancouver, BC

Fall HIV/Antiretroviral Update: Monday, November 18, 2013 – Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel in Vancouver

Please join me to learn more about recent research in all aspects of HIV and AIDS in this one-day seminar!  More information about this event, including the full list of speakers and the titles of their presentations, can be found here.  Here is the description of the event from the web page:

This is an open educational event sponsored by the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada. A light breakfast, lunch and refreshments throughout the day will be provided on site.

Online registration is now closed. If you still wish to register, please send a request to the following e-mail: pwhite@cfenet.ubc.ca

Please note that seating is available for up to 350 people and, therefore, pre-registration is strongly recommended. On-site registration will not be available.

If you will attend this event, please feel free to come up and say “Hello”!

VanBUG Seminars by Artem Babaian and Ryan Morin @ BC Cancer Research Centre: Thursday, November 14, 2013.

I look forward to attending the Vancouver Bioinformatics Users Group’s next meeting tomorrow night!

The meeting will begin at 6:00 pm in the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Family Theatre in the BC Cancer Research Centre (675 West 10th Avenue in Vancouver).  As usual, students and new professionals in bioinformatics are encouraged to meet with the seminar speaker before the seminar to ask for advice about working and studying in bioinformatics.  This meeting will take place from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm in either the Boardroom or Lunchroom on the ground floor of the BC Cancer Research Centre.

Visit the seminar page for more details.  If you will also attend tomorrow’s VanBUG event, please feel free to come and say “Hello!”.

 

A New Job at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

Dear Readers of The Chemical Statistician,

You may have noticed that I have blogged less frequently in the past few months; this has been due to a major change in my career: I recently accepted a new job in the Laboratory Program at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence (BC-CFE) in HIV/AIDS in Vancouver!

Eric Cai - Official Head Shot

A bioinformatician who works in this group recommended me for this position to his supervisors during this past summer.  Having lived in Vancouver before, I have heard a lot about the work that the BC-CFE in HIV/AIDS has done for many years to improve the lives of HIV and AIDS patients and prevent HIV transmission.

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