Biostatistics 230 Statistical Graphs

Biostat 230 will be offered Spring 2015. Course is in process of being updated for Spring 2015. Stay tuned for updates. It is open to all Biostatistics graduate students and quantitatively trained graduate students in other departments. Grading involves homework, labs, data analysis projects, simulation projects, saving the world and a final graphical data analysis project of your own data.

News & Announcements:

  • Make your own labs have been sent back. They were fantastic! I learned a ton. Even if it appeared that I made lots of comments on how to improve your (next) lab, please know that I enjoyed reading everybody's lab. Let me know if you enjoyed this sort of assignment -- this was so wildly successful I'm inclined to include this in other classes.
  • Thanks for a great class!
  • Kernel Density Illustrations. New document

2015 Class Schedule, Email Addresses, and Office Hours:

Event Time Day Room
Lecture 10:00 - 11:50 Monday 61-269 CHS
Lecture 10:00 - 10:50 Wednesday 61-269 CHS
Computer Lab 1 11:00 - 11:50 Wednesday A1-241 CHS
Labs will meet all Wednesdays including the first week Mar 31/Apr 1 through week 9.
Prof Robert Weiss  
Office Hours Tuesday 2:00 - 2:50 Wednesday 1:00 - 1:50 51-269 CHS
Finals Week Office Hours Monday, Tuesday 10:00am - 10:50am

Syllabus and Textbook

Dilbert cartoon illustrating what you're up against.
Dilbert cartoon illustrating how bad it could be.
Spring 2015 Course Information Sheet
Spring 2015 Goals of the Course
Latest version of R manual. If R is unfamiliar, it is strongly recommended that you go through this manual up to about page 78. More detailed guidance can be found at lab 0.
Handy short 4 page reference card to all of R. Ok. Much of R.
No text. See the course information sheet for additional book resources. There are several good books out there: A good reference is R Graphics, 2nd edition by Paul Murrell, Chapman and Hall (CRC Press). See also Lattice: Multivariate Data Visualization with R by Deepayan Sarkar.
Murrell's web site for the second edition of the book.
R software homepage
RStudio homepage. Highly recommended.



R Software

The software for the class is R. The latest version of the R software is available for download. It runs on Mac, Windows and Unix machines.
Download R and install it on your home computer.

  • To download R, click on the link to R.
  • Pick a "CRAN Mirror." I usually use Berkeley when I download the latest version of R.
  • Under Precompiled Binary Distributions, click on "Windows" (or other).
  • Click on "base".
  • Click on "Download R 3.1.3 for Windows".
  • Save to disk and run the executable.

This gives you R and the main packages that run in R. There are tons of additional packages as well. Feel free to download them and try them out.

If you start R, you can get end the program by typing "q()" into the command line editor (without the quotes of course). This is the window labeled "R Console". Alternatively click in the "R Console" window and then go to the file menu and select "Exit". In answer to the question about saving your session, I recommend "No" not saving it when in the computer lab.

Now go get Rstudio.

After installing R, you may install Murrell's book's R package. Start R and go to the Packages menu. Go to "Set CRAN mirror...". Pick a USA mirror. Go back to the Packages menu. Select "Install Packages ..." A menu box will appear. Go down a long way until you find "RGraphics". Select it and click "OK". Now under the packages menu, you'll need to select "Load package". Select "RGraphics". To produce figure 1.1 from Murrell's book, type 'figure1.1()' (without the quotes) into R. Similarly for any other figure.

Some other courses/websites on statistical graphics

"... do wonks really use PowerPoint? I think most of them would recoil in horror at the thought. PowerPoint decks are the favored tool of the well-coiffed marketing weenies, not the number crunchers. True wonks would be a lot more likely to either (a) spend hours lovingly kerning their equations in LaTeX and producing 3-D scatterplots in R, or (b) spend five minutes pounding out something unreadable in Emacs, accompanied by a crude line chart generated by some completely inappropriate shell script." -- Kevin Drum Sept. 25, 2012

Miscellaneous Items

2015 Homeworks

2015 Homework Due Dates

  • HW 1. Wed April 15 email a pdf or in class.
  • HW 2. Wed April 22 email a pdf or in class.
  • HW 3. Wed April 29 email a pdf or in class.
  • Final Project Abstract. May 4 By email. Send a pdf.
  • HW 4. Wed May 6 email a pdf or in class.
  • HW 5. Wed May 13 email a pdf or in class.
  • Project: Create your own lab. Wed May 27 email a pdf and a word or latex file.
  • Final Project. Email a single PDF (only) or hard copy to my mailbox in CHS 51-254 by 3:30pm California time, Tuesday June 9.

2015 Computer Labs (Password protected).

Additional Code Samples and Data Sets

Course Notes


Course Information Sheet

Goals of the Course