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Artem Kaznatcheev
Works at Integrated Mathematical Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center
Attends McGill University
Lives in Tampa, Florida, USA
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Artem Kaznatcheev

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+Cathy O'Neil has started a company that will focus on auditing algorithms. Given the extent to which algorithms are coming to dominate our lives while propagating social biases and the lack of regulation on them, this seems like a great idea. Hopefully, her audits will hold consequences and promote better practices; not just be used by companies just for face-saving 'compliance' to share holders (as I am lead to believe has been done with some previous risk evaluation firms).

Does anybody know of other shops that aim to audit algorithms to make sure they are in the public interests and respectful of the rights of communities and individuals? I would be eager to hear more about this. /cc +Maylin Cui, +Piotr Migdal, +Abel Molina, +Suresh Venkatasubramanian, +Yunjun Yang 

I wonder if Cathy will keep this a one woman shop, or if she will be hiring. If the latter then what sort of skills should one have to be a good at auditing algorithms?
Big news! I’ve started a company called ORCAA, which stands for O’Neil Risk Consulting and Algorithmic Auditing and is pronounced “orcaaaaaa”. ORCAA will audit algorithms an…
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I'm hoping to have so much business I'll need to hire other people to help!
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Artem Kaznatcheev

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Recently I've been doing more statistics than I am used to as part of my thinking on a joint project with +Jacob Scott and +Andriy Marusyk. One of the difficulties I've encountered in my reading is the focus on yes/no answers to the existence of effect. This seems great for verbal and logical theories, but less useful for quantitative ones. I am personally much more comfortable with the measurement perspective, of trying to propagate errors on estimated quantities up from the observables to the higher order properties that shape our theories. It is nice to know that this dichotomy between 'discovery' and 'measurement' is acknowledged in statistics, and has proponents on both sides.
Avi Adler points to this post by Felix Schönbrodt on “What’s the probability that a significant p-value indicates a true effect?” I’m sympathetic to the goal of better understanding what’s in a p-value (see for example my paper with John Carlin on type M and type S errors) but I really don’t like the framing …
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+Cathy O'Neil reviews Carl Cederström and André Spicer's The Wellness Syndrome. It seems like a fun book, and I've added it to my to-read list. The focus of the Wellness Syndrome on neoliberal self-betterment instead of exposing systemic oppression reminds me of the chapter on Oprah Winfrey from Nichole Aschoff's Stories Capitalists Tell:

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/may/09/oprah-winfrey-neoliberal-capitalist-thinkers

Cathy's discussion of futurists as the ultimate conclusion of this delusion makes me also wonder about the (often associated) movement of effective altruists. Where we take to individually contributing to a system, instead of chasing down systemic change. As I've blogged about before:

https://egtheory.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/effective-altruism/

Finally, the focus on control of the self reminds me of (probably a misreading) of Stoic philosophy. It seems like in classic times, it was a popular integration mechanism into the monolithic state of Rome. A way to serve and further the empire without effecting popular systemic change. Is the wellness syndrome the continuation of this approach for the current empire of the West? I would be interested to hear a critique of and response to this from modern advocates of Stoicism like +Massimo Pigliucci. I am probably misrepresenting things, and it would be nice to be corrected.

/cc +David Basanta, +Sergio Graziosi, +Abel Molina, +Alexander Yartsev 

As always, if you want to help me get my hands on this book (or others), you can gift it to me on Amazon: https://amzn.com/w/2N0S7EQVYGYRA
I just finished a neat little book called The Wellness Syndrome by Carl Cederström and André Spicer. They are (business school) professors in Stockholm and London, respectively, so the book has a w…
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Thanks for that reference +Abel Molina. I've heard of engaged Buddhism in passing before, but I've never engaged with it seriously. From the wikipedia link, I like the further chain to Buddhist socialism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_socialism lots of fun stuff to read.
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Data science is the is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, embodied, or realised. Or so says Patrick Atwater. I think that I agree with the view of Data Science as praxis. I especially liked the focus on the importance of being proactive in getting your hands on data. In the sciences that sometimes means actually designing experiments, instead of waiting for experimentalists to chance on the sort of experiments that you want.

I wonder what experts like +Cathy O'Neil, +Piotr Migdal, and +Suresh Venkatasubramanian think about data science as praxis. Can data science be taught as a theoretical discipline? Or must it be absorbed through good practice and exposure?
What actually defines data science? The term has been labeled the “sexiest job of the twenty-first century” though “data science” lacks a robust definition. Its wikipedia page lists no less than twenty different academic disciplines that it draws on, and that’s just the technical statistical and computer science piece, ignoring the substantive domain expertise in Drew Conway’s canonical Venn diagram. Yet there’s broad consensus tha...
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I don't know if I understand the definition of "praxis". Regardless, data science (a very large umbrella concept) is not unlike any other applied discipline of life (be it experimental biology, marketing, webdev, cooking or parenting). You can even argue that all sciences (maths included) bears a strong (even if implicit) cultural/social/practical part (vide Fleck's writings on science).

In some sense, you can teach it's theory (it would include theory of data visualization, of data acquisition and processing, statistics, machine learning, programming, etc). But for practical applications, while such things are invaluable (e.g. not to run into statistical fallacies or present data in an obviously misleading way), you cannot avoid practical experience. As in any applied discipline.
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Having a hard time convincing your colleague of a biological hypothesis? Try adding some reductions to a more 'fundamental' discipline like chemistry of physics. It doesn't matter if this reduction is an irrelevant tangent, you will still sound more convincing. Although at a glance it doesn't seem like the quoted study considered mathematical 'explanations' in particular, it seems like something that all modelers should be aware of. We have a responsibility to make sure that our models aren't a tangential point used as superfluous dressing for rhetorical value. Unless we want them to be that, of course.

I will have to look into this more closely when time permits. As was the case with neuro-images for credibility, the story is probably more subtle: https://egtheory.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/truthiness/

/via +Rubi Hammer /cc +David Basanta, +Sergio Graziosi, +Dan Nichol 
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I haven't started using Pandas yet, but it is the highest items on my python to-do. This tutorial seems helpful, and I think +David Basanta, +Andrew Dhawan+Dan Nichol, +Jacob Scott, and +Robert Vander Velde  might enjoy it.
Pandas has got to be one of my most favourite libraries… Ever. Pandas allows us to deal with data in a way that us humans can understand it; with labelled columns and indexes. It allows us to effortlessly import data from files such as csvs, allows us to quickly apply complex transformations and filters to …
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Artem Kaznatcheev

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+William Storage writes a fun article on the waterfalling down of Agile development in software engineering. I can't help but read philosophy of science into his posts, and I ask in the comments to what extent the contrast between Waterfall and Agile apply within the structuring of scientific research teams. And when mathematical modelers start to build and run 'labs' like the folks in biomed, are they throwing away an Agile framework?
In the 1966 song, Love Me I’m a Liberal, protest singer Phil Ochs mocked the American left for insincerely pledging support for civil rights and socialist causes. Using the voice of a liberal hypoc…
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First we had ArXiv then bioRxiv. Now a preprint repository for the social sciences. Or it is building up right now. This is good news for #openscience

I wonder what the expected scope will be. Will it include philosophy? neuroscience? This might of interest to +Sergio Graziosi.
If you are a social scientist who supports open access, please take five minutes to read this post, follow the instructions below, and help us launch SocArXiv, the new open repository for social sc…
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Yes, I've been watching it pretending I wasn't interested. Might come in handy for another positively crazy idea I have...
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Yesterday at #ECMTB2016, I presented on my joint work with +Robert Vander Velde, +Jacob Scott, and +David Basanta. It was a good experience. To celebrate it, I put together a linkdex of all the posts that we have written so far about our public + club goods in cancer project. Within is a link to my slides, if you missed the talk but still want the visuals.
Today was my presentation day at ECMTB/SMB 2016. I spoke in David Basanta’s mini-symposium on the games that cancer cells play and postered during the poster session. The mini-symposium started wit…
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This week I am at ECMTB/SMB 2016 in Nottingham. The conference is too big for a full overview, so I thought I'd pull the odd highlight instead. These are my impressions of the opening plenary from this Monday, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Are you at ECMTB? Do you want to share some of your impressions as a guest post on #TheEGG . /cc +Alexander Anderson, +David Basanta, +Dan Nichol, +Jacob Scott (repost due to forgetting link)
This week, I am at the University of Nottingham for the joint meeting of the Society of Mathematical Biology and the European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology — ECMTB/SMB 20…
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With all the bad news coming from the UK, I thought that I'd counter with some good ones. I didn't know this before, but apparently the UK government practices "coding in the open" and uses open source software heavily. I am impressed with that sort of transparency. Does Canada or the US have something similar?

You can even find the UK government on github.

Gov. Digitial Services: https://github.com/alphagov
HM Revenue & Customs: https://github.com/HMRC

and probably others, too.

I also like how they don't describe themselves as 'open source', since their code is too niche and their resources too thin to develop and maintain a community around their projects. Instead, they are coding in the open: feel free to use their code, but there is no guarantee of code support or community. This seems like it would pair well with typical scientific software that is too niche for a community but still important to share for transparency and the off-chance of reuse.

With funding bodies pushing for open publication. I wonder if they will also push for coding in the open.

/cc +David Basanta, +Sergio Graziosi, +Dan Nichol, +Jacob Scott 
The Government Digital Service (GDS) is leading the digital transformation of the UK government.
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Happy Canada Day! Yesterday, on #TheEGG , I shared the idea of computational kindness introduced by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths: computation is costly, and we should be mindful on the problems we force others to solve during our interactions. I share some examples of computational kinds (or cruelty) including language, choosing restaurants, waiting for buses, and the Vickrey auction. I hope that this opens the door for algorithmic philosophy to make a contribution to (meta-)ethics.


/cc +John Baez, +Sergio Graziosi, +Abel Molina, +Cathy O'Neil, +Alexander Yartsev
In EWD1300, Edsger W. Dijkstra wrote: even if you have only 60 readers, it pays to spend an hour if by doing so you can save your average reader a minute. He wrote this as the justification for the…
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Interesting. I often think that certain libertarian arguments rely on an
unkind computation; they often assume that everyone, even the least
educated and most vulnerable people, have the time and savvy to figure out
and follow through on the "most rational" course of action. This is, of
course, not true.

For example, "time consistent health insurance":
http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/john.cochrane/research/papers/Cochrane%20time%20consistent%20health%20insurance%20JPE.pdf

Cathy
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Education
  • McGill University
    Computer Science, 2012 - present
  • Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo
    Quantum Computing, and Combinatorics & Optimization, 2010 - 2011
  • McGill University
    Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics, and Cognitive Science, 2006 - 2010
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
I marvel at the world through algorithmic lenses
Introduction
From the ivory tower of the School of Computer Science and Department of Psychology at McGill University, I marvel at the world through algorithmic lenses. My specific interests are in quantum computing, evolutionary game theory, modern evolutionary synthesis, and theoretical cognitive science. Previously I was at the Institute for Quantum Computing and Department of Combinatorics & Optimization at the University of Waterloo and a visitor to the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore.
Work
Occupation
Researcher in theoretical computer science, evolutionary game theory, and mathematical oncology
Employment
  • Integrated Mathematical Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center
    Research associate, 2014 - present
  • Laboratory for Natural and Simulated Cognition, Department of Psychology, McGill University
    Associate member, 2008 - present
  • School of Computer Science, McGill University
    Research & teaching assistant, 2012 - 2014
  • Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo
    Research assistant, 2010 - 2011
  • School of Computer Science, McGill University
    Research assistant, 2009 - 2010
  • Canadian Light Source
    Software developer, 2007 - 2007
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Tampa, Florida, USA
Previously
Montreal, Quebec, Canada - Moscow, Russia - Trieste, Italy - Tsukuba, Japan - Port Jefferson, New York. USA - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada - Tuxedo Park, New York, USA - Waterloo, Ontario, Canada - Singapore