Miscellanea

Evidence of bias in the Eurovision song contest: modelling the votes using Bayesian hierarchical models

With [Marta Blangiardo](http://www.statistica.it/marta)

Design and sample size calculations for trials based on the stepped wedge design

With [Rumana Omar](https://www.ucl.ac.uk/statistics/people/rumanaomar), [Gareth Ambler](http://www.ucl.ac.uk/statistics/people/garethambler), [Andrew Copas](https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=AJCOP98) and [Emma Beard](http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hbrc/tobacco/bearde.html)

SWSamp: Simulation-based sample size calculations for a Stepped Wedge Trial (and more)

Introduction SWSamp is an R package designed to allow a wide range of simulation-based sample size calculations, specifically (but not exclusively!) for a Stepped Wedge Trial (SWT) and is based on the general framework described in Baio et al (2015). In its current version, SWSamp consists of 5 main functions: the first one (which is currently in fact specified by three different commands) performs the analytic sample size calculations using the method of Hussey and Hughes (2007).

SWSamp for simulation-based sample size calculations in a Stepped Wedge Trial (and more)

Introduction Sample size calculations are one of the fundamental components in the design of experimental studies and are mandatory in virtually all settings involving randomised trials, eg in medical research. Sample size calculations aim at determining the smallest sample that is necessary to observe, under a given design (eg distributional assumptions and expected characteristics of the intervention(s) being assessed), in order to correctly determine the “signal” (eg the “treatment effect”) as statistically significant and thus not due to chance.

Master to main

Earlier today I finally managed to understand the process and then implement the renaming of the default branch in my GitHub repositories. This follows a relatively old controversy — all new repositories are now by default created with a “main” branch, rather than the old terminology “master”. I think it’s one of those things that make you feel ashamed because you haven’t thought of that before or managed to act more swiftly since you realise it.

Another referendum

I was reading the (Italian) newspapers today and saw a few articles about the upcoming Referendum. It will be held in September and it will legislate about whether the constitution should be changed to modify the number of MPs (400 from the current 630 in the lower house, Camera dei Deputati; and 200 from 315 in the upper house, the Senate). This is a long-standing debate in Italian politics — I think that the original constitution only mandated a number of representative that was proportional to the population and the number was later fixed in the 1960s.

Like a bad husband

As I was coming back home on my delayed train from a day-long meeting at work, it occurred to me that I should feel very badly because it is fair to say that, of late, I have neglected my blog. I still like blogging very much — I find it a brilliant way of elaborating concepts and ideas without necessarily needing to reach a state of maturity (as a full, or even a working paper would require).

Better late than never

Even before the UK Government decided to call a snap election a month ago or so, I have been trying to do some work around the general topic of “elections” together with a number of colleagues, including Roberto Cerina (whom I’ve known since he was a student at UCL) and Raymond Duch at Oxford, as well as Christina Pagel at UCL and Christabel Cooper. The timing for the election was not the best — we were all busy doing our main job (which for some of us didn’t involve directly doing this…) so we didn’t manage to think carefully about all the bits and bobs we’ve started discussing.

Happy Birthday

My colleague (and lovely person!) Bianca forwarded me an advert for a very interesting event, she is organising at UCL. This is a celebration for the 80th birthday of Harvey Goldstein. The event will be a celebration of Statistics, honouring Harvey Goldstein’s work and with contributions from some of his closest collaborators. Speakers will give a retrospective of their work with Harvey, before he delivers the prestigious Otto Wolff Lecture.

Careless twitter

Yesterday I had my first weird experience with Twitter. I am relatively new to it (I couldn’t really be bothered to use it until earlier this year — although I did have an account set up years ago) and so far I have to say I have actually found it quite fun. And helpful in some cases — eg when advertising our summer school or workshops. I suppose it was just a matter of time until something not-quite-exciting happened.