Data + Python @ NYU Stern

Data Bootcamp: Undergrad Spring 2018

This page is your key resource for the course. Everything you need is here! Below are links to key documents such as the syllabus, the book, the blog, and my GitHub repository for the class. Moreover, there is a date by date list of topics, and links to material used in each class. Please watch this site regularly to stay up to date.

Last update: 1/16/2018

Where and When

  • Who: Michael Waugh (instructor), Vineetha Kutty (teaching fellow)

  • Meeting times: Tuesday and Thursday 11am-12:15pm

  • Meeting place: KMC 3-70

  • THE SYLLABUS. All the important details about the course, procedures, important dates, etc.

  • THE BOOK. The topics in the first half are all in the book. We will follow this closely. At the book link, click the large blue Read button to read online – or download the pdf. Both come with links.

  • THE BLOG. Remember this course is a data course that uses Python. In THE BLOG, I’ll discuss interesting uses of data that I find on the web and talk through various issues.

  • My GitHub REPOSITORY Here I will post notebooks from each class.

Important Dates

  • Mini-Midterm #1: February 22nd, 2018. Quick info: Python fundamentals 1-2, 30 minutes, in class, open book, open internet if the wireless is up, bring one page of notes.

  • Mini-Midterm #2: March 22nd, 2018. Quick info: Intro to Pandas and Matplotlib, 30 minutes, in class, open book, open internet if the wireless is up, bring one page of notes.

  • Three Project Ideas: March 30, 2018. Jupyter Notebook with three project ideas, briefly flushed out and potential data sources. Hard copy due at 5pm.

  • Talk with me about project ideas Appointment calendar here

  • Final Project Proposal + Data Report: April 24th, 2018. Jupyter Notebook with final proposal. More details to be provided. Hard copy due at 5pm.

  • Final Project Due Date: End of Day May 14, 2018

  • **Instructions to turn in Final Project

Week By Week Guide…

Topic 1. Data + Python = Magic!

Handouts: Outline | Book (Click on blue “Read” button) | Three ideas
Examples: Gapminder | cancer screening | Uber in NYC | medical expenditures | mortality | earthquake | Gender pay gap | Fertility | Vaccines
Summary: It’s nice to have skills; installing Anaconda; Jupyter/IPython; data; questions; idea machines.

Topic 2. Python fundamentals 1

Handouts: Outline | Book chapter | Code Practice #1 (Due 5pm February 2nd, hard copy)
Summary: Calculations; assignments; strings; lists; tuples; built-in functions; objects; methods; tab completion.

Topic 3. Python fundamentals 2

Handouts: Outline | Book chapter | Code Practice #2 (Due 5pm February 16, hard copy)
Summary: True and False; comparisons; conditionals; slicing; loops; function definitions and returns; dictionaries.

Mini-Midterm #1: February 22nd, 2017. Quick info: Python fundamentals 1-2, 30 minutes, in class, open book, open internet if the wireless is up, bring one page of notes.

Topic 3.5: Updating and installing packages

Handouts: Book chapter
Summary: Using conda, pip, etc. Updating Anaconda, installing Seaborn, Plotly, and Pandas-Datareader.

Topic 4. Intro to Pandas

Handouts: Outline | Book chapter
Summary: Packages; import; Pandas; csv files; reading csv/xls files; dataframes; columns; index; APIs.

Topic 5. Python graphics: Matplotlib fundamentals

Handouts: Outline | Book chapter | Code Practice #3 (Due March 9th)
Summary: Approach to graphics focused on the fig/ax objects and methods; lines, scatters, bars, horizontal bars, histograms, styles.

In class code/lectures:

Mini-Midterm #2: March 22nd, 2018. Quick info: Intro to Pandas and Matplotlib, 45 minutes, in class, open book, open internet if the wireless is up, bring one page of notes.

Topic 6. Thinking about projects

Handouts: Outline | Project Examples | Code (examples | current indicators | demography | Airbnb)
Summary: Projects: Say something interesting with data. Idea machines. Examples.

Topic 7. More Pandas: Cleaning

Handouts: Code
Summary: Pandas has incredible facilities for managing data. We look at fixing numbers misidentified as strings, managing missing observations, selecting variables and observations, and the isin and contains methods. Application: What is the price of Guacamole at Chipotle?

Topic 8. More Pandas: Shaping

Handouts: Code
Summary: Understand and be able to apply the melt/stack/unstack/pivot methods.

Topic 9. More Pandas: Groupby, Aggregation, Pivot Tables

Handouts: Code
Summary: Explore the use of groupby and related operations.

Topic 10. More Pandas: Merging

Handouts: Code
Summary: Often we need to combine data from two or more dataframes. We explore the merge feature of Pandas. Along the way we take an extended detour to review methods for downloading and unzipping compressed files.

Topic 11. Census API

Handouts: Code
Summary: The US government has a massive amounts of data that can be easily accessed. We explore this and then merge the census data with election results. Application: Who voted for whom in the 2016 Presidential Election?

Topic 12. GeoPandas and Mapping

Handouts: [Code]()
Summary: Here we use the GeoPandas package and learn some basic mapping skills.

Topic 10. More Pandas: Time Series Data

Handouts: Code
Summary Time series features of Pandas (when the index is set to a DateTime index):

Topic 12. Putting it All Together…

Summary: Examples of projects from (start to finish) with interesting datasets.

If Time Permits…

Basic Regression Analysis

Handouts: Code
Summary: A brief introduction to Regression analysis in Python. We continue to explore Who voted for whom in the 2016 Presidential Election?

More Pandas: Combining & summarizing data

Handouts: Code (combining|summarizing)
Summary: Combining dataframes (merge, concatenate). Statistics (mean, median, quantiles), categorical variables, grouping data by categories, counts and statistics by category.

Advanced graphics with Plotly and Seaborn

Handouts: Code (Plotly | Seaborn )
Summary: We cover more advanced graphics using the seaborn and plotly packages. We show how to leverage our knowledge of matplotlib to jumpstart our usage of these two packages. We also show how seaborn can be used to easliy construct common, yet sophisticated graphics with little additional effort. We also show how to leverage plotly’s unique features to do things that are very difficult, or sometimes impossible, to do with matplotlib.

Web scraping

Handouts: Code
Summary: Python has great tools for scraping data off websites. We will give a very light introduction to some of the routines we’ve found useful for doing this.

The next three topics provide some structure for thinking about data. Distributions is about the frequencies of various outcomes: stock returns, incomes of individuals, medical expenses, movie grosses. Dependence is about connections between two variables, a connection often summarized (incompletely) by their correlation. Dynamics is about the relation between a variable at two different dates. Is strong economic growth followed by the same? How do bond ratings evolve?


Handouts: Outline | Code
Summary: Some data is usefully described not by (say) its mean or median, but by its range of outcomes. Examples include equity returns, the age distribution of the population, size of firms, and incomes of individuals. We describe distributions with histograms, smoothed histograms (kde’s), and so on. We introduce the Numpy package along the way and use ipywidgets in Jupyter to add interactivity to our code.

Statistics & Machine Learning

Handouts: Outline | Code
Summary: These are whole subjects, not topics, but we thought a brief overview of their history would be useful. We combine it an application to multivariate regression with two packages, StatsModels (statistics) and Scikit-Learn (machine learning).