Some Direction

I was a little hazy on what I’d actually be doing this summer. Would I be helping someone else with her research? Would I be using data that was already collected? Or would I be messing around until I had the opportunity to head to Maine and Vermont to collect new data? It turns out I’m doing a little bit of each. There is an incredible amount of data being used for a matrix model that has been in the works longer than I’ve been at W&M, and I am helping sort through it, picking out funky pieces of data and marking them so they can be checked with the real trees when we take the trip to Maine. I am also using the current data to practice my modeling skills. One goal for the summer is having a functional model for the Maine data. I am using a statistical program, R, that is very different than Python ( the language I’ve used so far in my CS classes), and I spend a significant amount of time just trying to find proper syntax and functions for the things I want to do. Once more data is collected, there will be two years of data collected from the Vermont site, and I spend time this fall building a new model for a new set of data.

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The paper chase

“So what exactly are you doing?”

It seemed like nothing. Last week, it was reading papers, all of them about biology, some of them also about math. When I finished reading a paper, I wrote down a summary in a couple sentences of what I just read (usually I can’t do more than a handful of scattered points) and tried to relate the main points of the article back to my area of study, the mathematics of migration and selection. Then I would a break and drink some coffee. Then I would read another paper. I spent my first five days doing this in what computer coders call an “infinite loop”

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Text Mining with R

Made with R

Word cloud made with R

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