Readings for the Data Science Seminar

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Data Science Seminar

Fall 2020


This is a seminar for the Cal Poly Data Science Fellows. We will meet weekly over Zoom on Thursdays. There are two sessons: at 10 AM and at 3 PM. You only need to attend one of these sessions. Each week there will be some readings relevant to data science, which we will discuss for 30 minutes. Afterwards, individual fellows will give updates on their research projects.


Please enroll in STAT 400 for 1 unit, on a CR/NC grading basis.

To earn a CR grade, you are expected to:


The theme of the readings for Fall 2020 is the past.

Week 1: September 17

No reading

Week 2: September 24

Hypothesis testing is a core part of many statistics classes. But where did the ideas such as the p-value, Type I error, and power come from? This reading reviews the chaotic history of hypothesis testing in the 20th century.

Week 3: October 1

We will look at how hypothesis testing has influenced other disciplines and the controversy this has caused.

Week 4: October 8

We will look at the Frequentist vs. Bayes debate. Next week, you will be randomly assigned to defend either frequentism or Bayesianism. Please come prepared to defend both, although we want you to take a side in your Slack post this week.

Here are some additional readings that might be of interest.

Week 5: October 15

A survey of the history of the connection between early statistics and the eugenics movement.

Bonus reading from last week: A metaphor for the difference between randomness and unknown-ness, and the consequences in Bayesian analysis.

Week 6: October 22

We will examine the history of AI winters.

Week 7: October 29

We will discuss the Turing Test and whether machines can be intelligent.

Questions to consider: