Monthly Archives: January 2015

How e Can Help You To Find The Love Of Your Life will bring more love to the planet than anything since Jesus Christ (Gary Kremen, founder of

Sarah is a brilliant 39 years old mathematician living in Massachusetts. She lives alone and has dedicated her whole life to study. She has realized lately that theorems and books no longer satisfy her. Sarah has realized that needs to find love.

To find the love of her life, Sarah joined to try to have a date with a man every week for a year (52 dates in total). She has her own method to rate each man according his sympathy, his physical appearance, his punctuality,  his conversation and his hobbies. This method allows her to compare candidates with each other. Sarah wants to choose the top-scored man but she is afraid to waste time. If she waits until having all the dates, it could be too late to call back the best candidate, especially if he was one of the first dates. So she wants to be agile and decide inmediately. Her plan is as follows: she will start having some dates only to assess the candidates and after this period, she will try to win over the first man better than any of the first candidates, according her scoring.

But, how many men should discard to maximize the probability of choosing the top-scored one? Discarding just one, probability of having a date with a better man in the next date is very high. But probably he will not be the man she is looking for. On the other hand, discarding many men makes very probable discarding also the top-scored one.

Sarah did a simulation in R of the 52 dates to approximate the probability of choosing the best man depending on the number of discards. She obtained that the probability of choosing the top-scored man is maximal discarding the 19 first men, as can be seen in the following graph:


Why 19? Because 19 is approximately 52/e. This is one of the rare places where can found the number e. You can see an explanation of the phenomenon here.

Note: This is just a story to illustrate the secretary problem without repeating the original argument of the problem. My apologies if I cause offense to someone. This is a blog about mathematics and R and this is the way as must be understood. 

results=data.frame(discards=numeric(0), triumphs=numeric(0))
for(i in 0:n)
  for (j in 1:sims) {
    opt=sample(seq(1:n), n, replace=FALSE)
    if (max(opt[1:i])==n)  triumphs=triumphs+0
    else triumphs=triumphs+(opt[i+1:n][min(which(opt[i+1:n] > max(opt[1:i])))]==n)}
  results=rbind(results, data.frame(discards=i, triumphs=triumphs/sims))
  panel.background = element_rect(fill="darkolivegreen1"),
  panel.border = element_rect(colour="black", fill=NA),
  axis.line = element_line(size = 0.5, colour = "black"),
  axis.ticks = element_line(colour="black"),
  panel.grid.major = element_line(colour="white", linetype = 1),
  panel.grid.minor = element_blank(),
  axis.text.y = element_text(colour="black", size=20),
  axis.text.x = element_text(colour="black", size=20),
  text = element_text(size=25, family="xkcd"),
  legend.key = element_blank(),
  legend.background = element_blank(),
  plot.title = element_text(size = 40))
ggplot(results, aes(discards, triumphs))+
  geom_vline(xintercept = n/exp(1), size = 1, linetype=2, colour = "black", alpha=0.8)+
  geom_line(color="green4", size=1.5)+
  geom_point(color="gray92", size=8, pch=16)+
  geom_point(color="green4", size=6, pch=16)+
  ggtitle("How e can help you to find the love of your life")+
  xlab("Discards") +
  ylab("Prob. of finding the love of your life")+
  scale_x_continuous(breaks=seq(0, n, by = 2))+opts

Simple Data Science Of Global Warming In KDnuggets

Would love to get a post from you for KDnuggets (Gregory Piatetsky, KDnuggets President)

logoSome days ago, Gregory Piatetsky invited me to write a post for KDnuggets. I couldn’t say no. He suggested to me some topics and I decided to experiment around climate change to demonstrate how easy is to see some evidences of this alarming menace. You can read the post here.

This is the code I wrote to do this experiment:

setwd("YOUR WORKING DIRECTORY HERE") #This line doen's work until you type a valid path
#Data Avaliable in
files=list.files(pattern = "TG_STAID")
results=data.frame(staid=character(0), trnd=numeric(0), nobs=numeric(0))
#Loop to calculate linear trends
for (i in 1:length(files))
  table=read.table(files[i], header=TRUE, sep = ',', skip=20)
  table$date=as.Date(as.character(table$DATE), "%Y%m%d")
  results=rbind(data.frame(staid=files[i], (x = matrix(table$date), y = table$TG)$coefficients, nobs=nrow(table)), results)
write.csv(results, file="results.csv", row.names = FALSE)#Save your work
results=read.csv(file="results.csv")#Read your work. You can start here if you stop your work further this line
#Remove outliers
results=results[!results$trnd %in% boxplot.stats(results$trnd, coef = 4)$out,]
hist(x=results$trnd, breaks = 50,
     col = "orange",
     border = "pink",
     xlim=c(-0.03, 0.03),
     ylim=c(0, 300),
     xlab="Historical trend of daily mean temperatures",
     ylab="Number of stations",
     main="Evolution of temperatures in Europe and the Mediterranean",
     sub="Source: European Climate Assessment & Dataset project")
results$staid2=as.numeric(gsub("[^0-9]","",results$staid)) #To join results with geographical coordinates
#Read table of geographical coordinates
staids=read.table("", header=TRUE, sep = ',', skip=17)
#Right tail of the distribution
hotpoints=sqldf("SELECT a.staid, a.staid2, a.trnd, a.nobs, b.staname,, b.lon
      FROM results a INNER JOIN staids b ON (a.staid2=b.staid) WHERE TRND >= 0.02")
#Convert degrees:minutes:seconds to decimal coordinates
hotpoints=within(hotpoints, {, strsplit(as.character(LAT), ":"))
  lat=sign(as.numeric(dms[,1]))*(abs(as.numeric(dms[,1]))+(as.numeric(dms[,2]) + as.numeric(dms[,3])/60)/60);rm(dms)
hotpoints=within(hotpoints, {, strsplit(as.character(LON), ":"))
  lon=sign(as.numeric(dms[,1]))*(abs(as.numeric(dms[,1]))+(as.numeric(dms[,2]) + as.numeric(dms[,3])/60)/60);rm(dms)
#To make readable tha name of the station in the map
hotpoints$staname=gsub("^\\s+|\\s+$", "", hotpoints$STANAME)
#To prepare coordinates to gvis function
hotpoints$LatLong=with(hotpoints, paste(lat, lon, sep=":"))
#The amazing gvisMap function of googleVis package
hotpointsMap=gvisMap(hotpoints, "LatLong" , "STANAME",
#The plot one of this hot stations
InAmenas=read.table("TG_STAID000312.txt", header=TRUE, sep = ',', skip=20)
InAmenas$date=as.Date(as.character(InAmenas$DATE), "%Y%m%d")
ggplot(InAmenas, aes(date, TG)) +
  geom_line(color="red", alpha=0.8) +
  xlab("") +
  ylab("Mean temperature in 0.1C")+
  ggtitle("Mean temperature in IN-AMENAS (ALGERIA) 1958- 1998")+
  geom_smooth(method = "lm", se=FALSE, color="red", lwd=2)+
  theme_economist(base_size = 20, base_family = "sans", horizontal = TRUE,
                  dkpanel = FALSE, stata = FALSE)

Maths, Music and Merkbar

Control is what we already know. Control is where we have already ventured. Control is what helps us predict the future. (Merkbar)

Maths and music get along very well. Last December I received a mail from a guy called Jesper. He is one of the two members of Merkbar: a electronic music band from Denmark. As can be read in their website:

Merkbar is Jesper and David who are both interested in the psychedelic worlds and oriental spiritualism. They both studied Computer Music, where they’ve done research in sound synthesis, generative composition and the design of new digital instrument.

They asked me a front cover for their new album which will be released at the beginning of 2015. Why? Because they liked this post I did about circlizing numbers.  To do this plot I circlized the Golden Ratio number (Phi). But in this case I changed ribbons (all equal pairs of consecutive numbers gather together) by lines (every pair of consecutive numbers form a different line). As I did before, I used circlize package, which implements in R the features of Circos, a software to create stunning circular visualizations.

The final plot represents the first 2.000 digits of Phi:

Merkbar Cover2

You can hear an advancement of their new album here, which is called “Phi”. Enjoy their sensitive and full-of-shades music: you will be delightfully surprised as I was.

This is the code to circlize Phi:

factors = as.factor(0:9)
lines = 2000 #Number of lines to plot in the graph
alpha = 0.4  #Alpha for color lines
colors0=c(rgb(239,143,121, max=255), rgb(126,240,188, max=255), rgb(111,228,235, max=255),
          rgb(127,209,249, max=255), rgb( 74,106,181, max=255), rgb(114,100,188, max=255),
          rgb(181,116,234, max=255), rgb(226,135,228, max=255), rgb(239,136,192, max=255),
          rgb(233,134,152, max=255))
#You can find the txt file here:
phi=gsub("\\.","", substr(phi,1,lines))
phi=gsub("\\.","", phi)
#This code generates a pdf file in your working directory
pdf(file="CirclizePhi.pdf", width=25, height=25)
par(mar = c(1, 1, 1, 1), lwd = 0.1, cex = 0.7, bg=alpha("black", 1))
circos.par("cell.padding"=c(0.01,0.01), "track.height" = 0.025, "" = 3)
circos.initialize(factors = factors, xlim = c(0, 1))
circos.trackPlotRegion(factors = factors, ylim = c(0, 1))
for (i in 0:9) {circos.updatePlotRegion(sector.index = as.character(i), bg.col = alpha("black", 1), bg.border=alpha(colors0[i+1], 1))}
for (i in 1:(nchar(phi)-1)) {
  m=min(as.numeric(substr(phi, i, i)), as.numeric(substr(phi, i+1, i+1)))
  M=max(as.numeric(substr(phi, i, i)), as.numeric(substr(phi, i+1, i+1)))
  col=t(col2rgb(colors0[(as.numeric(substr(phi, i, i))+1)]))
  if (col[1]>255) col[1]=255;if (col[2]>255) col[2]=255;if (col[3]>255) col[3]=255
  if (col[1]<0) col[1]=0;if (col[2]<0) col[2]=0;if (col[3]<0) col[3]=0
  if (d>0), i, i), position*(i-1), substr(phi, i+1, i+1), position*i, h = 0.1375*d+0.1125, lwd=0, col=alpha(rgb(col, max=255), alpha), rou = 0.92)

First Anniversary Of Ripples

If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is (John von Neumann)

I started this blog one year ago and the experience has been better than I could have imagine:

  • Ripples has been viewed about 30.000 times
  • 49 posts published (The Sound Of Mandelbrot Set was the most-viewed)
  • R-bloggers is my top referring site (thanks to Tal Galili for his support)
  • Visitors come from 141 countries: most of them came from The United States. Spain and U.K. were not far behind (below you can see my map of the empire)

I have met a lot of wonderful people along the way like Andrew Wyer with whom I wrote a post about 3D-Harmonographs, people of Merkbar,  a musicians who asked me a plot for the cover of their new album (I will post about this project in the next days) and Gregory Piatetsky from KDnuggets (I expect also doing something with him in the close future).

I think this new year is going to be funny. I still have lot of experiments in my mind that I want to explore with R.

Happy 2015!