Henrique

Aug 5, 2020

Please welcome econometrician and @gretl_stats team member

Henrique Andrade, @henricones_

This week (August 05 to 12) here on @imakefoss

Interview: https://t.co/RimoTWOHsd

@imakefoss is a rolling curator twitter account. Wanna be one of our curators? Please get in touch. https://t.co/yIk2UYvdDX

Aug 5, 2020

Hello, free and open source community! For the next 7 days, I’m in charge of IMakeFOSS mic. It’s really an honor to be in the same place that great FOSS members had been. My main goal is to show a different perspective of FOSS from outside the IT fences.

Aug 5, 2020

At first, I have to explain my profession to clarify why I’m here :) Econometrics is a field of Economics that combines Economics+Statistics+Math, putting in simple terms.

Aug 5, 2020

I think almost anyone knows we strongly need programming knowledge and also we made very intensive use of open-source software 🤓. Let me explain that…

Aug 5, 2020

Because I’m an applied econometrician I need to put these things together using real data and to achieve this, we need a lot of programming. So, nowadays, I expand this definition by including Computer Science into the Econometrics ‘basket".

Aug 5, 2020

In other words: it helps Econometrics on the way from a theoretical exercise to an applied task. The inclusion of Computer Science is a must as new econometric techniques demand a lot of programming and a lot of algorithmic challenges.

Aug 5, 2020

We face a lot of challenges that are commonly encountered by IT people: buggy algorithms, execution time, computer resources (RAM and storage capacity, processor speed, etc.)

Aug 5, 2020

Ok, I think this thread is long enough! I get myself excited when I talk about Econometrics 🙈 in the next posts I’ll explain how the FOSS paradigm enters as an ingredient in this ‘Economics-cake" (🤓) and, maybe, inside science in general.

Aug 6, 2020

As I said in a previous post, Computer Science (more specifically, programming) helps econometricians on the way from a theoretical exercise to an applied task.

Aug 6, 2020

On every work developed by us, we need to follow at least three steps: (1) To find out which economic technique/theory can face the problem; (2) To represent that theory through an algorithm; (3) To define the language/tool that fits better to implement it.

Aug 6, 2020

There are a plethora of econometric and statistical packages available. Among these, I can cite Matlab, SPSS, Stata, RATS, OxMetrics, and EViews. All of them are commercial and relatively expensive.

Aug 6, 2020

The costs are even higher if you think about middle to low-income countries. Especially the ones with depreciated currencies (i.e. countries where the value of the US dollar is very high in terms of the domestic currency).

Aug 6, 2020

But in this market, the FOSS is in a very important position. The free and open-source alternatives are as successful as commercial ones. Please, pay attention to that: FOSS is on the spot on a highly competitive market!

Aug 6, 2020

Universities, banks, financial institutions, government agencies, etc. use econometric and statistical packages. So it isn’t hard to imagine the amount of money involved 😱

Aug 6, 2020

In the FOSS side of econometric and statistical packages, we have a lot of great players. Let’s talk a little about them.

Aug 6, 2020

Two of the most used packages/programs are R and Python. I know Python is a language, but combined to libraries like Pandas, SciPy, and NumPy, it turns out as a very good econometric package.

Aug 6, 2020

In addition to R and Python, I highlight @JuliaLanguage and @gretl_stats. Julia has had a growing adoption because of, among other reasons, her speed. Gretl, on the other hand, has fantastic versatility and, IMHO, is the friendliest program when it comes to econometrics.

Aug 6, 2020

@JuliaLanguage @gretl_stats Tomorrow I will try to talk a little more about Gretl (@gretl_stats) and how it got me into the world of free software as a developer as well.

Aug 7, 2020

I think it’s clear enough that we applied econometricians (and maybe economists as a whole) need programming. Also, we know that among the tools used in that sector, the FOSS has an important position, competing against commercial software on par.

Aug 7, 2020

But hey! In fact, not only economists use that kind of tool. They are used by accountants, business administrators, biologists, etc., too. As I said, these tools are used on billionaire markets (e.g. financial market, governments and universities).

Aug 7, 2020

With this as a background, now I can talk about how I became a programmer and a (proud) FOSS contributor. Like some poet certainly said: Everything in this life has a begin 🤣

Aug 7, 2020

I bought my first computer em 2008. It was a MacBook (the black plastic model 🥰). At the time I was coursing my Ph.D. and because of that, I need to use some econometric software.

Aug 7, 2020

For nobody’s surprise, they weren’t available outside the Windows platform. Hello, Adobe products users, I know what you feel when you try to adopt desktop Linux as a daily driver!

Aug 7, 2020

But I didn’t give up! I started a search for macOS alternatives and I was lucky enough to found @gretl_stats! That was kind of enlightening to my brains 🤯

Aug 7, 2020

And I need to tell you a very important detail: econometric programs are so expensive. So I received a double gift: a better and free alternative.

Aug 7, 2020

As a very inexperienced econometric-programmer, I started using the GUI. This event I call ’the 1st FOSS wave" and it made me embrace that philosophy. The daily use of Gretl trough GUI showed me some translation inconsistencies, what now I know it’s a localization problem.

Aug 7, 2020

I sent an email for the Portuguese translator reporting the problems I found and he asked me if I’d like to join the team do improve Brazilian localization. That guy, a very gentle one, @transformidea, had introduced me into the dev front of the FOSS ecosystem. Obrigado, Hélio!

Aug 7, 2020

The following events are what I call ’the 2nd FLOSS wave". Working in localization tasks, I start to understand a lot of stuff: source code, repository, versioning control, GUI, CLI, etc. Something so obvious for us now, but new concepts for a beginner like me at that time.

Aug 7, 2020

IMHO, it’s very important to be kind and patient with newcomers. A nice welcoming could be decisive for a new FOSS developer member. I’d got one and I’m here since that day 🤓

Aug 10, 2020

When someone decides to dive into applied Econometrics and to use econometric and statistical packages, he/she faces an important trade-off: adopt the Graphical User Interface (GUI) or the Command Line Interface (CLI).

Aug 10, 2020

Experiencing this trade-off makes was ’the 3rd FOSS wave". The GUI gives an easy way to apply sometimes difficult econometrics tasks. But it limits us to the technics implemented by the software developer.

Aug 10, 2020

So, almost inevitably, we’ll need to write our codes, we’ll need the CLI. It’s an amazing but also a scary move. ‘Where are the windows? What syntax means? What is a loop?" are common doubts we face in the early stages.

Aug 10, 2020

After some time and a lot of error warnings, I start to get myself confident. This transition from GUI to CLI was heavily facilitated by @gretl_stats. It has a logging mechanism that records every click on the GUI and translates into code.

Aug 10, 2020

When did I realize I’d become a programmer? Well, when went to a new job and the boss told me I need to use another two programming languages. At that time a got myself terrified! 🙈

Aug 10, 2020

But in a couple of days, I realized that everything I learned programming for Gretl was also applicable to other languages. I feel so happy and started thinking I could write any program I want 🤓

Aug 10, 2020

To show my colleagues I had become a programmer, I took the last step towards code mastering: set the background of my code editor to black! That day was my birthday as a programmer 😂

Aug 10, 2020

#TheBlackScreen https://t.co/WqfBvIzc3x

Aug 11, 2020

RT @josp0001: Leszek ‘Лешы’ Szczepański, @yezu, game developer at @Guerrilla will tell us about his FOSS projects, next week on @imakefoss!…

Aug 11, 2020

The Gretl Team was more than a group of guys that had developed the software I use. They helped me to pave my way into the FOSS world. https://t.co/EZ7jF4hNjP

Aug 11, 2020

The outstanding commitment of the team leaders, Allin Cottrell and Riccardo “Jack” Luchetti, professors at Wake Forest University (USA), and Università Politecnica delle Marche (Italy), respectively.

Aug 11, 2020

Because of Gretl I replaced macOS by elementaryOS and opened my mind to the need for knowledge sharing.

Aug 11, 2020

One note about translation: please don’t assume everyone can understand foreign languages, so if you can help to translate your favorite software, please do it.

Aug 11, 2020

A common feature among econometric software is the ability to create extensions (like add-ins). In our jargon, we call these extensions packages or libraries.

Aug 11, 2020

The development of packages based on the collaboration of the user community is a very important way to amplify the use of that kind of software. You can take a look at our user-contributed packages list at https://t.co/wwFEObKQDR

Aug 11, 2020

As one can see a lot of users and Gretl Team members are writing extensions. One very nice example is Artur Tarassow (@ATECON1). He is a member, and also our social media admin. Take a look at his GitHub to see his very interesting projects: https://t.co/SqIi9UKKq5

Aug 11, 2020

Other community-driven resources we have are the manuals and tutorials. They are everywhere on the internet, from beginner to master levels. You can found some niceties by professor Lee Adkins here: https://t.co/hnQS7CYTim

Aug 11, 2020

After the translation tasks, I had written some manuals too. You can reach one of them here: https://t.co/pbHKDtcJuQ. Unfortunately it has only a Portuguese version 😢

Aug 11, 2020

Why I’m sharing these links? Because it’s another way to help FOSS. You don’t need to write code, you can write tutorials, make translations, and help new users. It would be nice if everyone starts to think about FOSS as an ecosystem. It isn’t only about the software by itself.

Aug 11, 2020

And yes, we need people in charge of the marketing strategy, we do need a market strategy. And because of this, I think one of the best things that had happened in the Linux world was the creation of the @MakeItLinux project. Thanks for this, guys!

Aug 11, 2020

‘But Henrique, what else are you doing for the FOSS ecosystem?" 🤔

Aug 11, 2020

I’m currently implementing a new algorithm I developed as a new @gretl_stats extension. The algorithm is called AutoMod (an acronym for Automatic Modeling). It estimates thousands and thousands of models in a very easy way.

Aug 11, 2020

@gretl_stats Let me briefly explain: Sometimes we know exactly which series affects some variable. For instance, we know that personal income can increase consumption. But we also know that there’s a lot of other variables affecting consumption (e.g. employment, weather, etc).

Aug 11, 2020

An important question that arises is: which variable gives me the best estimate? We can use all the variables, but that strategy can not guarantee we have the best-estimated equation for our purpose. Ok, let’s use some math notation to make things clearer:

Aug 11, 2020

Assuming X has only three elements (A, B, and C), the Powerset of X is given by: PS(X) = {{ }, {A}, {B}, {C}, {A, B}, {A, C}, {B, C}, {A, B, C}}. So we have eight possibilities. In the next step, the AutoMod algoritm estimates eight equations:

Aug 11, 2020

Assuming X has only three elements (A, B, and C), the Powerset of X is given by: PS(X) = {{ }, {A}, {B}, {C}, {A, B}, {A, C}, {B, C}, {A, B, C}}. So we have eight possibilities. In the next step, the AutoMod algoritm estimates eight equations: https://t.co/Q9lckUZHFZ

Aug 11, 2020

After that, putting in simple terms, the AutoMod chooses the most capable model in terms of predicting power. This is something very useful for applied econometricians and it guarantees you had used all the possible combinations to extract your forecasts.

Aug 11, 2020

But please, keep in mind that was just an example. In real-life problems, we face more than three possible variables. So, most of the time, we need to estimate thousands of equations 🤯🤯🤯

Aug 11, 2020

This is my last thread as a curator of the @IMakeFOSS project. I would like to share two more points related to ’the 4th FLOSS wave". This is something that, differently from the other waves I told you, is unfinished. It’s a work in progress.

Aug 11, 2020

First point: In the next months, I’ll try to translate every @elementary AppCenter app I use as a way to retribute the efforts of the developers.

Aug 11, 2020

Second point: I hope in next months I’ll be able to develop an app (targeting @elementary OS, but not exclusive). This app will help me to make a transition from a character coder (the CLI side) to a window coder (the GUI side). This is something I want so much for a long time.

Aug 11, 2020

I know I’m in a period of time-scarcity because of my job and because of my two months old baby, but I really think I can learn a lot and also can help others.

Aug 11, 2020

This is important to me. I live in a very unequal world in terms of opportunities and I need to do my part to fix that. A FOSS ecosystem is capable to help improve lives in different ways and everywhere in the world. It’s not a dream, it’s a reachable reality.

Aug 11, 2020

Last, but not least, I really would like to thank you, @ImakeFOSS team! You created a wonderful project, Jochen (@josp0001), and Jason (@killyourfm). I really hope we can meet again in the future!