And Why You Should Give it a Chance Too

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A place full of extraordinary opportunities — the people are fun too!

Asia is a truly amazing place. It has a wide array of cultures, some of the best food in the world and really, really great people. It’s also the place I’ve been lucky enough to call home for the last five years. My time working here has come to its end but for many more their journey is about to begin. I’ve learned a lot in this brief stint and so I want to share what I can.

This article will focus on what it’s like to live and work in Asia by covering ten interesting things I discovered working here. It will give some answers to questions like: “What’s it like working in Asia?” or “What differences can I expect to see in Asia?” — very common and very sensible. As with all things in life, there are many benefits to working in Asia, but also some things which make life really tough — so let’s dive into it! …


A Framework for Data Analysts to Explore Data

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Today, a deep dive into analysing change in data analytics. Photo Credit: Amy Lister.

“Weekly Purchases are down!! Why?? How?? Help!!” — if you’re a data analyst, you’ve no doubt heard something like this before from a distressed colleague. Change is a part of every business and occurs across all timescales. It can affect many areas, such as the weekly purchases on a website, the number of units produced or the weather. When people see change, they’re driven to understand what’s causing it so they can make a suitable action plan. As analysts, we should facilitate such understanding and outline core issues.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the common types of change to analyse. We’ll also discuss the approaches that you can take to understand those changes. These are the basic descriptive (or diagnostic) analytics methods used by data analysts, but anyone with an interest in utilising data can apply them. …


Using GENERATE_ARRAY for Histograms and More

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Yes, I accidentally highlighted GENERATE_ARRAY when taking a screenshot, but it sort of works, doesn’t it?

When you stumble upon your first task of creating a histogram within BigQuery you might approach it with a simple GROUP BY, something like:

SELECT
hour,
COUNT(*) AS num_accesses
FROM
accesses
GROUP BY
hour
ORDER BY
hour

This is fine, it does a decent job and would earn you a pat on the back from your friendly colleague. What it doesn’t do though, is handle the case of missing hours. For example, you might have accesses throughout most of the day but at 3 am no one accesses your site, sorry. This would leave a gap in your histogram which just isn’t very nice, is it? …


A Wild Playground to Test Your Skills with Solutions

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Name those SQL animals! Hint: they’re each mentioned in the article. Original photo credit: Nikolay Tchaouchev.

SQL is a useful skill to have for many roles. No matter the industry, there’s going to be data stored in databases and SQL is the best way to get to it. And Data Scientists, in particular, need to be experts for quick access to high quality data. While most of us in tech have a decent grasp on the basics, we may lack the opportunities to push those skills further in our day-to-day work.

In comes SQLZoo — a great place to test your skills and rebuild rusty ones. You can use it for interview prep, or to stay sharp on the job and impress your boss. Here, I’ll introduce SQLZoo and why you should check it out, as well as a useful link to some SQLZoo answers for double-checking! …


Test Your General Intelligence with a Demo

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A small sample of the 600 tasks contained in the Abstraction and Reasoning Corpus.

If you’d like to jump straight in to giving it a go: ARC Testing Interface.

Artificial Intelligence has made leaps and bounds in the last decade, solving many tasks we thought were impossible, but we’re still very far from a human-like intelligence. On top of this, the leading methods for creating AI don’t resemble those we see in nature, using huge databases to learn pattern recognition. This is in contrast to humans who have flexible intelligence allowing us to become competent with just a few samples. To help move the world forward, a new challenge — the Abstraction and Reasoning Corpus (ARC) — has been posed, one that could usurp the Turing test as the goal for AI. …


After Searching the Entire Web

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Photo credit: Yiran Ding.

There’s no doubt that one of the best ways to learn the basics of any language is through song. Everyone has stories of having songs stuck in their heads for days, and you can likely remember songs that you used to sing every day in your teenage years.

Using machine learning, to analyse songs, and the HSK system to rank the difficulty on those songs, six great Chinese songs were found for beginners in the Chinese language. …


With Links to Lyrics

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Photo credit: Cherry Lin.

The following is a list of 100 songs for Chinese beginners, ordered by increasing difficulty. For those who have HSK 3 level, the songs at the top of the list should have only 20–30% new characters in the lyrics, while the ones at the bottom have around 40%.

Xiǎo tùzǐ guāiguāi (小兔子乖乖)

Girlfriend (Mandarin version)

Dui Bu Qi 對不起我的中文不好

妈妈

爱不会一直等你

Wo de peng …


And Why You Should Attend Conferences Too

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This was the first thing you see when you arrive at the conference. The display on the left is made out of mobile phones — cool! Images from @seoyeon.leeeeee.

This week I attended my first developer conference as a data scientist. It was a great experience to meet people, be exposed to new ideas and increase my motivation to keep learning. I’d like to share my experiences as well as a few things I learned.

The conference I attended was the LINE Developer Day 2019. It was held on the 20th and 21st of November in Tokyo. For those outside of Asia, LINE is the largest messaging platform in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan. They have 200 million monthly active users. You can contrast this to Whatsapp’s 1.5 billion. …


Finding the Optimal Route

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Photo credit: Jaanus Jagomägi.

In the evenings, I stroll home along a few blocks of nice, rectangular blocks in my quiet neighbourhood. When I first moved into my apartment, I would stroll randomly along a different route each day, exploring the land, but after a while I became fixated on a zigzag path — but why?

Because it’s the shortest.

Let’s explore why that’s the case, and just how much time we can save by walking in this manner. We’ll perform some basic mathematical modelling and find out what happens in the extreme cases — let’s get to work!

What Distance?

When we talk about the distance between two things, we generally talk about either the distance ‘as the bird flies’ or the Manhattan distance. The former is the direct route to get there, while the latter is the distance if you had to follow along a strict grid pattern. You can see these representations in the graphic below. …


A Powerful Example of Putting Data to Work

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How do you rate the drone delivery service? Credit: Goh Rhy Yan.

We all know data is the future. Data can drive growth, lead us to better decision-making and provide added-value — but just how does this work? For those less initiated, let’s discuss a totally fictional, but realistic example of just how data and data processes can be put to work. We won’t dive too deep into the technologies, so no matter your skill level — read on!

The Case

Suppose you’ve ordered something from your favourite e-commerce company, Amazon, but being a true millennial, you are very impatient. …

About

Jye Sawtell-Rickson

Talking about data science, product analytics, and artificial intelligence.

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