This post is the second of two devoted to an idea of David Wallace’s: applying Google’s PageRank algorithm to the APDA placement data. Last time we looked at the motivation and theory behind the idea. Now we’ll try predicting PageRanks. Can students who care about PageRank use the latest PGR to guesstimate a program’s PageRank 5 or 10 years in the future? Can they use the latest placement data?... Read more

This is the first of two posts devoted to an idea of David Wallace’s. Suppose you pick a philosophy PhD program at random and you go visit their website. There you pick a random person from the faculty list and see where they got their PhD. Then you go to that program’s website and repeat the exercise: pick a random faculty member, see where they did their PhD, and go to that program’s website.... Read more

In the previous post we saw there’s about a $35$% chance a given referee will agree to review a paper for Ergo. And on average it takes about $5.8$ tries to find two referees for a submission. The full empirical distribution looks like this: But there’s also an a priori way of exploring an editor’s predicament here, by using a classic model: the negative binomial distribution. So I thougth I’d make a little exercise of seeing how well the model captures the empirical reality here.... Read more

Finding willing referees is one of the more tedious parts of an editor’s job. And with all the talk about how overloaded the peer-review system is, it’s worth pausing to examine just how hard it is to find referees. Well, at Ergo it takes on average 5.8 tries before we find two referees to review a submission. The following plot gives the full picture. So most submissions take six or fewer invites, and the overwhelming majority require fewer than 10.... Read more

If waiting to hear back from journals makes you as twitchy as it makes me, you might appreciate Waiting for the Editor. It’s a little app that displays wait time forecasts and data from the APA Journal Survey. It has two kinds of display, based on my earlier post about the APA survey. You can view scatterplots: Or ridgeplots: Note that the ridgeplots can be misleading. They treat old data and new the same.... Read more

In 2009 Andrew Cullison set up an ongoing survey for philosophers to report their experiences submitting papers to various journals. For me, a junior philosopher working toward tenure at the time, it was a great resource. It was the best guide I knew to my chances of getting a paper accepted at Journal X, or at least getting rejected quickly by Journal Y. But I always wondered about self-selection bias.... Read more

A Times Higher Education piece making the rounds last week found that most published philosophy papers are never cited. More exactly, of the studied philosophy papers published in 2012, more than half had no citations indexed in Web of Science five years later. At Daily Nous, the discussion of that finding turned up some interesting follow-up questions and findings. In particular, Brian Weatherson found quite different figures for papers published in prestigious philosophy journals.... Read more

In this post we’ll improve our training algorithm from the previous post. When we’re done we’ll be able to achieve 98% precision on the MNIST data set, after just 9 epochs of training—which only takes about 30 seconds to run on my laptop. For comparison, last time we only achieved 92% precision after 2,000 epochs of training, which took over an hour! The main driver in this improvement is just switching from batch gradient descent to mini-batch gradient descent.... Read more

In this post we’re going to build a neural network from scratch. We’ll train it to recognize hand-written digits, using the famous MNIST data set. We’ll use just basic Python with NumPy to build our network (no high-level stuff like Keras or TensorFlow). We will dip into scikit-learn, but only to get the MNIST data and to assess our model once its built. We’ll start with the simplest possible “network”: a single node that recognizes just the digit 0.... Read more

Location: University of Toronto Dates: June 12–14, 2018 Keynote Speakers: Lara Buchak and Mike Titelbaum Submission Deadline: February 12, 2018 Authors Notified: March 31, 2018 We are pleased to invite papers in formal epistemology, broadly construed to include related areas of philosophy as well as cognate disciplines like statistics, psychology, economics, computer science, and mathematics. Submissions should be: prepared for anonymous review, no more than 6,000 words, accompanied by an abstract of up to 300 words, and in PDF format.... Read more