John Ramey

Statistics, Machine Learning, and R.

Goals for 2012

I have never been one to set New Year’s resolutions. Personally, they instill a dangerous personal freedom that often yield naive, subconscious mentalities, such as I can do anything I want until December 31, and I will change abruptly the next day. However, my Ph.D. adviser has shown me the importance of setting goals in all things that I wish to accomplish as well as envisioning the finale to an arduous journey like a small child (read “John Ramey”) that pictures the waning warmth of fresh chocolate chip cookies smeared on his face. My adviser has always encouraged short-term and long-term goals but never required them. As I recently found out, my employer does. In addition, these goals are reviewed at the end of the fiscal year so that employees are realistic and held accountable.

Now that I must list these formally at work, I have decided to post a number of career and personal goals here in order to hold myself accountable at the end of 2012 with the implicit assumption that the world does not end. So, one year from now, if we are still here (chuckle), I will review my goal-completion success.

  • Read to my son (almost) nightly.
  • Hear my son laugh (almost) nightly.
  • Take my wife out for a date night each week.
  • Treat my wife to a significant outing each month.
  • Finish dissertation.
  • Successfully defend dissertation.
  • Submit 4-6 articles for publication.
  • Submit at least 3 R packages to CRAN.
  • Attend at least three conferences.
  • Make at least two conference presentations.
  • Find/maintain employment.
  • Construct detailed plan and outline for my textbook.
  • Take a real vacation.
  • Run a half marathon. (I will consider this a success if I have signed up for an early 2013 race.)
  • Transition my personal website from Wordpress to Octopress.
  • Blog more.
  • Check Tweets and email twice daily at a scheduled time.
  • Spend time with my extended family.
  • Read the literature at a scheduled time.
  • Finish reading Izenman’s Multivariate text.
  • Read Lehmann’s Reminiscences of a Statistician: The Company I Kept.
  • Read Ewens and Grant’s bioinformatics text.
  • Read Bishop’s PRML text.
  • Read Gaussian Processes for Machine Learning.
  • Read Barber’s Bayesian Reasoning and Machine Learning.
  • Read a significant portion of Devroye et al.’s Probabilistic Theory of Pattern Recognition text.
  • Reread Robert’s The Bayesian Choice.
  • Read Jaynes’ Probability Theory text.
  • Read Berger’s Decision Theory text.
  • Watch Boyd’s Convex Optimization lectures.
  • Read the Boyd Convex Optimization text.
  • Finish reading Reamde.
  • Read Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind.
  • Become more proficient at debugging in R.

As I have assuredly not remembered the goals that I have verbally set, this list may change over the next few days.

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