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Meeting of some friends to discuss methods, philosophy, stats, psychology and surrounding topics.
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Mu Sigma society License: Unlicense


Next meeting

  • Date and time: 27.11.2019, Wednesday. Soft start at 18:30.
  • Place: DSR
  • Paper: (to be announced).

Mu Sigma

Mu Sigma is a group of people that are highly interested in the theory and application of statistical science. It has been organized by several students and alumni of Humboldt University since the spring of 2019. We now have members of different expierences and backgrounds, including leading data scientist from several Berlin companies. The main goal of Mu Sigma is to gain a better understanding of statistics by bringing motivated people together, sharing our experience, and working through papers or other sources of information.

The discussions in our meetings have a rather broad scope but mainly revolve around the following topics:

  • Epistemology: What is knowledge and how it should be obtained? What is the role of statistics in that process?
  • The proper application of statistical methods in research and working environment
  • Newest trends in data science
  • Ongoing replicability crisis (especially in social sciences)
  • Technicalities of particular statistical methods and software

An excellent way to understand what Mu Sigma is about is to check out the papers and the protocols of our last meetings:

  • The list of the papers we've already read is available in our meetup archive
  • The list of documents proposed to read in the future is available here
  • The detailed protocols or our meetings are available in the following folder

If you have any further questions and like to join us, please read the frequently asked questions (FAQ) below.


How can I contact you?

To contact us, feel free to write us a message on or in our public Telegram group.

What is your timetable?

We meet every two weeks usually Wednesday with a soft start at 18:30 and hard start 19:00. We do a poll about what to read beginning Friday after the last meeting, its results are announced on the following Monday. We will send a reminder the Monday before the meetup. If you are confused now, recheck this document, the next meeting is at the beginning.

How and where can I attend your meetup?

Please contact us on Telegram or via Email and do a short introduction of yourself. After getting to know you, we will tell you the location of our next meetup. We don't publish the place we meet beforehand, but it usually is in the central areas of Berlin.
The attendance is, of course, free of charge.

What background should I have to participate?

To be able to follow the discussion, attendees are expected to have at least some knowledge of statistics, programming, and mathematics. A solid college undergrad level should generally suffice, although some papers often go way above this knowledge. Apart from that, we do not have any special requirements except the willingness to participate and learn actively.

Does Mu Sigma have a focus on any field?

It is necessary to note that Mu Sigma was founded by students of psychology, sociology, and economics, among others. Thus, there is a slight focus on the application of statistical methods in behavioural sciences. Nevertheless, we sometimes discuss papers from other fields, such as biology or physics, or "general" statistics.

Is this another ML or AI meetup?

Except for the point stated above, we do not position ourselves as a meetup that is about a particular school of methods. We instead look how to use all available methods and tools to get the necessary results in data science. We are also not a "meetup" in the classical sense and do not organize networking or hiring events. Nevertheless, there's always a chance that you meet someone who helps you in your professional career later.

Do you organize anything else except the meetups?

So far, the regular meetings are the only thing we organize right now. In the future, we might expand our activities to inviting speakers, providing education, doing collective projects, and so on. If you have any suggestions or offers, do not hesitate to contact us.

Which programming language do you work with?

There is no single programming language required. As far as our last meetups are concerned, most of the participants work either in R or Python.

Are you guys bayesians or frequentists? Data or algorithmic modelling?

Again, we prefer not to go for a single approach but rather discuss them all together. We do like some controversies as long as only the content of the debate is heated. Participants with all views and backgrounds are welcome.

Do I need to read the paper before attending the meetup?

Yes, the discussion of paper is an integral part of our meetup, so everyone should at least skim through the document beforehand. However, you are not expected to understand in details the technicalities of every paper.

How do I vote/propose to read a paper?

We vote over the weekend after the last meetup via Telegram on the proposals found here. To propose a paper add a new file in the proposals folder named [first-author]-[year]-[keyword1_keyword2_..._keyword5].md (of course, via github pull request, we'll promise to include every proper proposal). Before the vote, we rebuild via make which will include your proposal in the main file. From time to time, we move longtime unaccepted proposals into the archive folder. Your proposal should include concise answers to these questions:

  • What is the topic?
  • Why is the topic of the paper interesting to the group?
  • Why is this exact paper/medium the best for this topic?
  • How much preparation time is needed? (If it is >1h, provide an idea of how to tackle it [skimming, over multiple meetups, preparing a presentation, etc.])
  • Provide a frictionless way to access the medium (provide APA citation, DOI, link or similar).

Take a look at the existing proposal and use the them as a template. Provide a correct YAML-header.

Why are you called Mu Sigma?

We didn't want to go with yet another common name like "Berlin Data Science Meetup" and decided to pick something unique instead. We have chosen those two Greek letters just because they are often met in statistics (the population mean and variance, respectively) and sound good in combination. Apart from that, there's no additional meaning to the name of our society.

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