MaxEnt2009 impressions

As I am getting ready to leave Oxford and the MaxEnt2009 meeting, a few quick impressions. First, this is a meeting like no other I have attended in that the mix of disciplines there is much wider and that I find myself at the very (statistical) end of the spectrum. There are researchers from astronomy, physics, chemistry, computer science, engineering, and hardly any from statistics. Second, the audience being of a decent (meaning small enough) size, the debates are numerous and often focus on the foundations of Bayesian statistics, a feature that has almost disappeared from the Valencia meetings. Some of the talks were actually mostly philosophical on the nature of deduction and inference, and I could not always see the point, but this is also enjoyable (once in a while). For instance, during the poster session, I had a long and lively discussion with David Blower on the construction of Jeffreys versus Haldane priors, as well as another long and lively discussion with Subhadeep Mukhopadhyay on fast exploration stochastic approximation algorithms. It was also an opportunity to reflect on nested sampling, given the surroundings and the free time, and I now perceive this technique primarily as a particular importance sampling method. So, overall, an enjoyable time! (Since MaxEnt2010 will take place in Grenoble, I may even attend the next conference.)

4 Responses to “MaxEnt2009 impressions”

  1. […] tribune most unexpectedly focus on Oxford, Mississippi, that I visited two and a half years ago for MaxEnt 2009. (The writer in charge is Tom Franklin. Not that I ever heard of him…) I find it quite […]

  2. […] those profitably. (The most obvious missing part is in my opinion the absence of E.T Jaynes and the MaxEnt community, which would deserve a chapter on its own.) Maybe ISBA could consider supporting a […]

  3. […] in that it straightens out the connection of nested sampling with importance sampling (see my post-MaxEnt09 post), but the fact that it completely relies on an MCMC scheme makes me wonder (as for classical nested […]

  4. […] I attended MaxEnt 2009 in Oxford, I bought William Gibson’s Spook Country at the university bookstore as it was on […]

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