Monday, April 30, 2012

Statistical leadership part III–shameless plug for PharmaSUG talk

PharmaSUG is a yearly gathering of SAS programmers who program for the pharmaceutical industry. This year, Dr. Katherine Troyer of REGISTRAT-MAPI will be giving a talk entitled “Giving Data a Voice: Partnering with Medical Writing for Best Reporting Practices,” in which she will implore the audience to get statisticians, medical writers, SAS programmers, clinicians, data managers, and any other stakeholder together early and often in the clinical trial process. While it may seem like the medical writer may only need to come into the process late, they actually have to put everything together. In the spirit of beginning with the end in mind, planning should include all of us.

If you’re going to PharmaSUG this year, please attend this talk!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Coursera (and other online classes)

A revolution is taking place in education. Last fall, Stanford University premiered three online classes in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Introduction to Databases. I took Machine Learning and Intro to Databases, and this spring I’m taking Probabilistic Graphical Models, Natural Language Processing, and Model Thinking.

This winter and spring, that effort has evolved into Coursera, and the course offering has expanded to about 30 courses across disciplines and difficulties. Other universities, such as the University of Michigan, UPenn, and Princeton have gotten in on the action. Other professors have their own effort called Udacity (which concentrates on computer science and artificial intelligence after the primary interest of Sebastian Thrun of the Google robotic car), and MIT has developed their own platform.

So far all my classes have been through have been high quality. There are a few glitches as Coursera is blazing trails here, but overall I’m happy to take a small part in this revolution.