"Official"­ BARUG February 2013 Meeting

  • February 12, 2013 · 6:30 PM






Thanks to O'Reilly for once again sponsoring our meeting and for Intuit for hosting it.

6:30 PM Networking and Pizza
7:00 PM: Announcements
7:10 PM Drew Linzer to talk:

A big story of the last presidential election was the "victory of the quants" -- a triumph of data over intuition. While traditional pundits portrayed the race as neck-and-neck, pollsters and polling analysts confidently and accurately predicted that President Obama would win reelection. How was this done?

Drew will talk about the dynamic Bayesian forecasting model he used at votamatic.org to call the outcome of all fifty states, as early as June. Combining the results of nearly 1,000 pre-election polls -- representing over 700,000 individual interviews -- the site offered real-time opinion tracking, state- and national-level forecasting, and commentary on the race. After the election, Drew's forecasts were widely recognized as among the best of the campaign.

The Votamatic project was implemented entirely using R. Drew's presentation will show how it was done: from web scraping to data handling, estimation of the model in WinBUGS, model validation, visualization, and the design and architecture of the website.

Drew Linzer is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Emory University, and a[masked] Visiting Assistant Professor at Stanford University. He received a Ph.D. from UCLA in 2008. A statistician and expert in public opinion, Dr. Linzer is also co-author of the R package poLCA for latent class analysis. Follow him on Twitter @DrewLinzer.

For more on polling aggregation and election forecasting:

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    March 27, 2013

  • Calvin

    Where/how can I access the recording of the presentation?

    February 18, 2013

  • Ashish

    Great talk - witty and wise and intuitive - made me want to try out some Bayesian models using Winbugs and R.

    February 13, 2013

    • Matthew J.

      It was a great talk. Pity, though, he did not have time to explain why he chose the Bayesian route rather than a frequentist predictor in the first place.

      February 13, 2013

    • Norm M.

      If I understood him correctly, it was only empirical Bayes, NOT using a subjective prior. He just was trying to make use of past data. To me, that is not what I would call Bayesian, but the term "empirical Bayes" is used for this kind of thing.

      February 13, 2013

  • Alice C.

    Drew is a great speaker. His presentation was laced with a sense of Humor.

    1 · February 13, 2013

  • githogori

    This was quite a fun presentation.

    February 12, 2013

  • Tyler C.

    Great talk! It's always interesting to see R used in practical and simple ways

    February 12, 2013

  • Stephen

    will watch online

    February 12, 2013

  • Eden

    Anyone has code for Expo Hall Only pass for Strata Conference in Santa Clara this month?

    February 12, 2013

  • Alex

    This looks cool. how do you tell if you are near the top of the waitlist?

    February 12, 2013

  • Shelby M.

    Very good topic and use of R

    February 12, 2013

  • Calvin

    Will the session be recorded? If so, I will retract my RSVP to attend so that someone else can attend.



    February 11, 2013

  • sebastian o.

    something came up, hope someone grabs my spot

    February 9, 2013

  • Matt J.

    Hope slides or video is available.

    February 8, 2013

  • Joseph R.

    The ACM is hosting a day long seminar on the R Language on Saturday March 9, 2013.

    Robert Kabacoff of QuickR fame will talk about Visualization with R

    The details of the event can be found at

    The seminar will be held at eBay's facility at 2161 North 1st Street
    San Jose, CA 95131

    February 7, 2013

  • David s.


    January 9, 2013

  • Dan W

    I'll be there!

    January 9, 2013

  • Carlos G.


    January 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Apologies - out of country

    January 9, 2013

  • Edward M.

    I am currently a consultant for statistics, informatics, predictive modeling, data science, healthcare research, and technology development.

    December 29, 2012

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