What is my Lottery Ticket Actually Worth?

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By Max Candocia

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December 09, 2018

When you buy a lottery ticket, how much is it worth to you? Is the giant jackpot the main draw, or do you find the other prizes alluring? Using expected utility, we can see that tickets are worth much less than you may already think.


Evaluate My Lottery Ticket!

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By Max Candocia

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December 07, 2018

What is the expected value of a lottery ticket, and is it actually worth it just for the jackpot? With this tool, you can look at what any number of tickets are worth, with a highly customizeable input.


What Are The Chances That Your Vote Makes a Difference?

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By Max Candocia

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November 12, 2018

What is the chance that your vote, or even all of your friends votes, matter in an election? This is a small application that can figure that out for you, accompanied by some graphs and explanations that should make it easier to understand.


What Age do Kids Start Going Trick-or-Treating, and When do They Stop?

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By Max Candocia

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October 22, 2018

When do kids start going trick or treating, and when are they "too cool" to continue going? Using survey data and a variety of statistical techniques, answers to these questions can be found to a certain level of statistical confidence.


Halloween in Wordclouds

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By Max Candocia

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October 21, 2018

Halloween and candies described in word clouds from survey data.


Costumes of Halloween

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By Max Candocia

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October 20, 2018

Which Halloween costumes have been the most popular, and which are the most similar? Visualizations of these with analysis using survey data from Americans across the country.


Learning Strategies through Reinforcement Learning

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By Max Candocia

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August 31, 2018

Reinforcement learning can be used to teach computers to perform complex tasks. In this lecture, I discuss two of my board game + reinforcement learning projects as a guest lecturer for STAT 385 at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


What Kinds of Fireworks Do We Celebrate With?

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By Max Candocia

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July 02, 2018

What kinds of fireworks do people use most often on Fourth of July in the US? With some survey data and weighting techniques, we can see some general statistics about fireworks usage.


Wordclouds of America

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By Max Candocia

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July 02, 2018

Wordclouds of how Americans describe America


Fixing Survey Samples by Raking Weights

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By Max Candocia

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June 24, 2018

If your sample populations are skewed by gender, race, age group, or any other segment, you can use raking to weight your data and get more accurate estimates.


What do People Do for Their Moms on Mothers Day?

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By Max Candocia

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May 13, 2018

What do people do for their moms on Mother's Day? I sampled a small group of people and got a rough idea of different ways people show their love and appreciation.


Reinforcement Learning for the Game of Splendor

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By Max Candocia

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May 04, 2018

Neural networks and reinforcement are used to teach a computer how to play the board game of Splendor. The process of training the network and its architecture are explained.


The Community of Garlicoin, the New Meme Cryptocurrency

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By Max Candocia

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April 09, 2018

Garlicoin is the hottest new meme cryptocurrency. I surveyed about 200 of its enthusiasts to get a good idea of what the community looked like and what they thought about the cryptocurrency.


Visualizing the IHSA State Cross-Country Meet

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By Max Candocia

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April 07, 2018

An analysis of how runners perform in the state IHSA cross-country meet and what the top runners look like in terms of pacing strategy. Also, some old-school footage from a while ago.


Exploring Data with Generative Clustering

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By Max Candocia

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January 09, 2018

Clustering is a common machine learning technique applied to data for a variety of reasons, including dimensionality reduction, finding similar objects, and discovering important features. Here I demonstrate how generative clustering can be used with the Iris data set.


Visualizing My Runs in 2017

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By Max Candocia

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January 01, 2018

A visualization of my running from 2017 using ggplot2.


Unpleasant Statistics: Santa Causes Kids to Turn Away From Christianity

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By Max Candocia

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December 23, 2017

What are the holidays without abuse of statistical techniques? According to a recent survey, kids being told that they receive gifts from Santa are up to 150% more likely to turn away from Christianity as an adult.


Analyzing and Clustering Christmas Foods, Drinks, and Desserts

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By Max Candocia

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December 22, 2017

When celebrating Christmas, most people think of a large feast as part of the celebration. In the fourth part of my Christmas article series, I look at what foods are common across different regions of the US. Clustering also shows interesting relationships between different foods and drinks.


Word Clouds of Christmas

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By Max Candocia

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December 21, 2017

Visualizations of how people describe Christmas using word clouds.


When do Kids Stop Believing in Santa?

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By Max Candocia

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December 20, 2017

When do kids stop believing in Santa? Are there any backgrounds more at risk for not believing in Santa as long? I explore these questions using a Christmas survey in part 2 of my series of Christmas articles.