Republic of Mathematics blog

The Rime of the Data Scientist

Posted by: Gary Ernest Davis on: September 13, 2013

The Rime of the Data Scientist (with apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Part I

It is a Data Scientist,

And he stoppeth one of three.

`By thy Python code and glittering eye,

Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?


The classroom doors are opened wide,

And I am next one in;

The others are met, the test is set:

Mayst hear the noisy din.’


He holds him with his skinny hand,

“There was a cluster,” quoth he.

`Hold off! unhand me, open-source loon!’

Eftsoons his hand dropped he.


He holds him with his glittering eye –

The student stood quite still,

And listens like a three years’ child:

The Scientist hath his will.


The student sat upon a stone:

He cannot sort his list;

And thus spake on the young person,

The Data Scientist.


“The code was cleared, the whole team cheered,

Merrily did we drop

Unto the pub, and there to drink,

Without a thought to stop.


The variables were writ upon the left,

Transferred from R to C;

The code shone bright, and on the right

The data a, b, c.


More and more code every day,

It was a wondrous thing –

The student here did beat his breast,

For he heard the exam bell ring.


The examiner hath paced into the hall,

Red of face is he;

Nodding his head from side to side –

A fan of Scotch whisky.


The student he did beat his breast,

He forgets to sort his list;

And thus spake on the young man,

The Data Scientist.


“And now the data surge came, and it

Was tyrannous and strong:

It struck with massive overload,

And analysis took so long.


With high performance really stretched,

As who pursued with yell and blow

Still treads the shadow of his foe,

And foward bends his head,

The cluster was fast, it was a blast,

And onward aye we sped.


And now there were missing values and outliers,

And it grew wondrous confused:

And deleted columns, as if floating by,

Their data could not be used.


And through the drifts the snowy clifts

Did send a dismal sheen:

Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken –

The grep was all between.


The grep was here, the grep was there,

The grep was all around:

It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,

Regular expressions could not be found!


At length did cross a statistician,

Thorough the fog she came;

As she had been a blessed soul,

We hailed her in Tukey’s name.


She saw the data we ne’er had seen,

And all around she went.

The data did split with a thunder-fit;

The programmers steered us through!


And a good data stream sprung up behind;

The statistician did follow,

And every day, for data or play,

Came to the programmer’s hollo!


In hard-drive or cloud, whatever’s allowed,

She analyzed the data mine;

Whiles all the night, with code writ right,

The programmers drank moonshine.”


`God save thee, Data Scientisit,

From the fiends that plague thee thus! –

Why look’st thou perchance?’ – “With a wicked glance,

I fired the statistician.”

1 Response to "The Rime of the Data Scientist"

No apology warranted. Brilliant.

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