JSM 2009 impressions [day 2]

Julien Cornebise wrote his impressions on yesterday [day 2] as comments to day 1 and he is welcome as a guest editor! I completely agree with his views on George Casella’s Medallion Lecture on design, which emphasized the need to reconsider this somehow neglected part of the Statistics curriculum. George’s lecture was both passionate and broad, which made it accessible to the large audience there. It was based on his Statistical Design book, on sale at the Springer Verlag booth in the Exhibit hall when you go to check the Enigma machine at the NSA booth. Along with a whole table of new books in the Use R! series, soon to be augmented by our book Introducing Monte Carlo Methods with R with George Casella, which is available in a draft version at the booth. (We actually signed the contract for Introducing Monte Carlo Methods with R with Springer yesterday afternoon.) The Springer editor, John Kimmel, is one of the ASA Fellows this year, in recognition of his support of the dissemination of new ideas in Statistics (my wording) and this is a great initiative from the ASA committee on Fellows as he unreservedly deserves it, if only for launching the Use R! series!


As mentioned by Julien, the session on the future of Statistics was reserved to the happy “fews” who managed to get a seat and others had to stay in the “present” thanks to this safety regulation that seems to be implemented on some talks/rooms and not others. I passed the first people being stopped by a fierce guard on my way to the “past”, ie to the cosmology and astrophysics session. There, I enjoyed very much Larry Wasserman’s talk on Nonparametric estimation of filaments for uncovering a challenging problem as well as for his elegant resolution of the problem. As well as the presentation by Laura Cayon of Detection of weak lensing, where I discovered that my old Purdue friend Anirban das Gupta was also involved in cosmology. I also went to the Monte Carlo and Sequential Analyses: Methods and Applications session, organised by Mike West, but the talks were too short to make much of an impact on me, even though I appreciated the talk by Minghui Shi on Particle stochastic search for high-dimensional variable selection that linked with Nicolas Chopin’s early work on exploring a large dataset and I was also intrigued by the talk of Ioanna Manolopoulou on Targeted sequential resampling from large Data sets in mixture modeling for using proxies to the real mixture model. The day ended up with a Board meeting for ISBA, that unfortunately took place outside in a hot humid weather… I now have to get ready for the Gertrude Cox Scholarship 5k race, since it starts at 6:15am (yes, am!).

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