December 14, 2012

Meet Richard Hopkins – Statistics Summer Scholarship recipient

This summer, we have a number of fantastic students who received a Department of Statistics scholarship to work on fascinating projects with our staff members. We’ll be profiling them here on Stats Chat and we’d love to hear your feedback on their projects.

Richard Hopkins is working with Paul Murrell on a research project entitled ‘Voronoi treemaps in R’.

Richard explains:

Richard Hopkins Statistics Scholarship “A Voronoi treemap is a graphical, non-rectangular representation of hierarchical data. Voronoi Treemaps are often used to represent population data (subdivisions within the Voronoi treemap represent elements of the population and their respective weights). There are currently algorithms in place that allow a user to generate Voronoi treemaps; however, the algorithms are slow and unstable.

“The purpose of my project is to find ways to multi-thread or parallelise the code so that it can run faster. I will attempt to achieve this by doing the following:

  • Cleaning up and packaging the existing source code;
  • Modifying the code to allow for control of different start points for each sub-region;
  • Fine-tuning the NZ price Kaleidoscope example so that it accurately represents data and is aesthetically pleasing;
  • Running the code on high-performance machines to speed things up.

“I will also explore parameters of the algorithm to investigate current stability issues and any others that may arise during the course of the project.”

More about Richard:

“I was born and raised in Auckland. I am of New Zealand and Samoan heritage and I take pride in both sides. Last week, my wife and I celebrated two years of marriage. Although we don’t have children, we have a ton of immediate and extended family members to whom we devote lots of time. We are also heavily involved in our church. I enjoy a wide range of sports, especially basketball, power-lifting and grid iron.

“I recently completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in statistics and computer science. I have also been admitted to the 2013 Honours programme for statistics. I enjoy studying statistics because from a young age I have had an interest in recognising and analysing patterns and trends. I believe that studying statistics will enable me to turn my curiosity about numbers into useful skills, such as forecasting and data mining, that will hopefully benefit individuals, families and communities.”

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