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Vaccine development as a decision problem

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This post by Alex Tabarrok hits all the right notes:

At current rates, the US economy is losing about $40 billion a week. Thus, if $20 billion could advance a vaccine by just one week that would be a good deal. . . . It might seem expensive to invest in capacity for a vaccine that is never approved, but it’s even more expensive to delay a vaccine that could end the pandemic.

I [Tabarrok] am also concerned that OWS is narrowing down the list of candidates too early . . . These are all good programs and one of them will probably be successful but we also want to support some long-shots because a small probability of a very big gain is still a big gain. . . .

The Accelerating Health Technologies team that I am a part of collected data on over 100 vaccine candidates and their characteristics. We then created a model to compute an optimal portfolio. We estimated that it’s necessary to have 15-20 candidates in the portfolio to get to a 80-90% chance of at least one success and that you want diverse candidates because the second candidate from the same platform probably fails if the first candidate from that platform fails. Moderna and Pfrizer are both mRNA vaccines–a platform that has never been used before–while AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson and Merck are using somewhat different viral vector platforms . . .

One way to diversify the portfolio is to make deals with other countries to avoid the prisoner’s dilemma of vaccine portfolios. The prisoner’s dilemma is that each country has an incentive to invest in the vaccine most likely to succeed but if every country does this the world has put all its eggs in one basket. To avoid that, you need some global coordination. . . .

I have not looked at the details here at all, but I like the general approach. I like the awareness of uncertainty, variation, costs, benefits, contingencies, and politics. We https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2020/05/03/curing-coronavirus-isnt-a-job-for-social-scientists/“>talked about how social science can used to fight coronavirus. This sort of thing is an example.

I hope this all can be done in conjunction with Bayesian inference for vaccine effects in the general population and sub-populations. I’d hate to see all this careful design and decision analysis stapled onto crude deterministic inference procedures based on statistical significance.

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diogro
26 days ago
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São Paulo
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But the top graph looked like such strong evidence!

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I just posted this a few hours ago, but it’s such an important message that I’d like to post it again.

Actually, maybe we should just post nothing but the above graph every day, over and over again, for the next 20 years.

This is hugely important, one of the most important things we need to understand about statistics.

The top graph is what got published, the bottom graph is the preregistered replication from Joe Simmons and Leif Nelson.

Remember: Just cos you have statistical significance and a graph that shows a clear and consistent pattern, it doesn’t mean this pattern is real, in the sense of generalizing beyond your sample.

But the top graph looked like such strong evidence!

Sorry.

It’s so easy to get fooled. Think of all the studies with results that look like that top graph.

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diogro
36 days ago
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Lenovo is joining Dell in the “OEM Linux Laptop” club

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Promotional image of laptop computer.

Enlarge / You'll be able to buy a Thinkpad X1 Carbon with pre-installed and factory-supported Fedora Workstation 32 later this year. (credit: Lenovo)

It looks like Lenovo may upstage Dell as the big name in OEM Linux laptops—not counting specialty retailers like System76, of course. Red Hat and Lenovo are announcing pre-installed and factory-supported Fedora Workstation on several models of ThinkPad laptops at Red Hat Summit this week.

Dell's Linux support has generally been limited to one or two very specific laptops—first, the old Atom-powered netbooks and, more recently, the XPS 13 Developer Edition line. Lenovo is planning a significantly broader Linux footprint in its lineup.

Jakub Steiner produced a short video stinger for the Lenovo news, to be used at Red Hat Summit.

Fedora Workstation will be a selectable option during purchase for the Thinkpad P1 Gen2, Thinkpad P53, and Thinkpad X1 Gen8 laptops—and Lenovo may offer even broader model support in the future. Lenovo Senior Linux Developer Mark Pearson, who will be the featured guest in the May 2020 Fedora Council Video Meeting, expresses the company's stance on forthcoming integration:

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diogro
39 days ago
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Original band does wonderful isolation version of the Cowboy Bebop theme song

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The SEATBELTS, the original band that recorded the theme song to the amazing Japanese anime TV series, Cowboy Bebop, have recreated the song in social isolation. "Tank," the jazzy theme song, was recorded at home by each of the ten individual players. The song has always been memorable and this performance nails the its intensity and excitement.

Image: YouTube

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diogro
39 days ago
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MasterClass: Your dad teaches loading the dishwasher

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Learn from the world's best.

Written and directed by Kathleen Cameron; starring Jim Cameron; original music by Bensound.com.

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diogro
39 days ago
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Watching this guy solve a sudoku is deeply satisfying

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Simon Anthony is cohost of a sudoku YouTube channel called Cracking the Cryptic. In this video he solves a difficult sudoku puzzle with extra constraints. It's really fun to watch him solve it and get more excited as his sense of wonder grows ("This is like the universe is singing to us," he says as he begins to realize that it is solvable). I watching the whole 25-minute video.

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diogro
39 days ago
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