A compilation of comics explaining statistics, data science, and machine learning

Nikhil Garg
Oct 13, 2018 · 3 min read

Many (academic) talks or lectures I attend nowadays motivate the central question with a (sometimes humorous) comic strip, perhaps influenced by the fact that there’s always a relevant xkcd; unfortunately, everyone seems to have converged to using the same (small) set of comics, and I’m no exception.

Here, I try to rectify the issue by compiling a larger set of comics that you can use instead. I limit it to comics that explain some relevant concept. There are many more comic strips that mention, use, or relate to these topics.

Note: I didn’t get this list by myself; I used both existing compilations and crowd-sourced more from friends.

Note 2: Of course, this’ll become out-of-date immediately. Feel free to send me comics or link to them through the comments.

Note 3: The categorization below is rough. Of course many of the categories/comics overlap.

Note 4: Medium’s hot-linking of images doesn’t seem to work very well unfortunately. Links to original source included in caption.



Prediction, summarization, and interpretation

https://xkcd.com/605/
https://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2328#comic
https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/2015-02-02
https://xkcd.com/2048/
https://xkcd.com/1725/ — Note: I’m not a huge fan of this one; regression with low R² has value in certain cases.

Experimentation

https://xkcd.com/882/
https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/empirical-economics
https://xkcd.com/1478/. Note — if it isn’t obvious: this is not a guide.

Conditional Expectation




Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store