Archive for December, 2011

Informative versus flashy visualizations, and growth in Harvard Stat concentration enrollment

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Some time ago my advisor Joseph Blitzstein asked me to create a visualization of the numbers of Harvard Statistics concentrators (undergraduate students who major in Statistics). The picture would be used by the chair of the department to illustrate the growth of the program for university officials, so I decided to make it look pretty. The first form that came to my mind was showing the enrollment growth over years using a bar plot.

Starting in 2005, the numbers follow exponential growth, which is a remarkable achievement of the department. We then decided to follow the trend, and extrapolate by adding predicted enrollment numbers for 2011, 12 and 13. At that moment, there was no data for 2011. (more…)