Archive for December, 2012

India snapshot (#3)

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Travel with tags , , , on December 31, 2012 by xi'an

sunrise in Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan, Dec.29, 2012Morning glory in the Ranthambore National Parc: the trip started rather inauspiciously with traffic jams of jeeps and trucks at the entrance of the park, but we got rewarded by a beautiful sunrise on the neighbouring hills, if not by spotting a tiger (strictly speaking, it should be striping a tiger!), much to the vocal dismay of my fellow riders.

India snapshot (#2)

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , on December 30, 2012 by xi'an

sunset on the road from Tonk to Ranthambore, Rajasthan, Dec. 28, 2012Definitely a snapshot, caught once again from the car as we were driving in the sunset towards the Ranthambore National Park…. And illustrating my impression of a very harsh land for women as they could be seen carrying wood, water, food, or fodder along the roads, but also working in the fields, carrying gravel on construction sites,  looking after children, and very very rarely having chai with pals on a roadsize shack, unlike the male part of the population. (Obviously, looking at a place solely from the viewpoint of a car backseat is a sure way for oversimplification, but the opposition was nonetheless striking!)

The Necromancer Chronicles (vol. 1 & 2)

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , on December 29, 2012 by xi'an

Once more, I have to thank my colleague from Paris-Dauphine for introducing to a new fantasy series. I found those two volumes by Amanda Downum in my mailbox a few weeks ago and set them aside for later reading (as I was not very impressed by the covers…) Then, one evening, I started reading the first volume, The Drowning City, on the way home, in a particularly crowded metro train. This did not make me miss my train stop, but I realised I had better change my a prioris about the novel! I read The Drowning City within a week and, while there were dead ends and imperfections, I like the very refreshing style of the novel, the mix of cultures, the complexity of the characters, whose feelings and attitudes were definitely not of the binary type. While I was somehow disappointed by the finale of The Drowning City, as it called to an alien deus ex machina that the rest of the story had not announced, and while I found the main character, Isyllt Iskaldur (what a terrific find for a name!), was getting away from failure a wee too easily, I was sufficiently hooked to move to the second volume, The Bone Palace, immediately. To my surprise (given my prior on second volumes in trilogies), I ended up liking it even better, the style and story-telling being more mature and better constructed than in the first volume. The story once again features Isyllt Iskaldur, with the same background as in The Drowning City, but it also introduces several major characters, most of them female, on both the “good” and the “bad” sides, which are equally deep, even though not all of them survive the 480 pages of the book! The description of the society where the action takes place is quite convincing, if a wee too modern for medieval fantasy, the magical sides of the story are well-designed and mostly subtle (except for the über-evil all-powerful sorceress central to this volume), once again the feelings and connections between characters are deep and complex and engaging (if definitely unusual for some central characters), and The Bone Palace overall makes for a great (adult) read! Even on a stand-alone basis.

India snapshot (#1)

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , on December 28, 2012 by xi'an

highway out of Jaipur, Rajasthan, IndDec. 28, 2012Highly interesting drive from Jaipur to Rathambore today! Going along an Indian highway is a sure way to discover the Indian way of life, even if it can get very puzzling at times…

BAYSM 2013: first Bayesian Young Statisticians Meeting

Posted in Kids, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , on December 28, 2012 by xi'an

Just got this email about the incoming first Bayesian Young Statisticians Meeting next June in Milano!

We would like to announce the first BAYESIAN YOUNG STATISTICIANS MEETING (BAYSM 2013), to be held in CNR IMATI in Milano on June 5-6, 2013.

BAYSM 2013 is a fantastic opportunity to present and discuss your work with other young statisticians in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, with senior discussant giving you suggestions and comments aimed at improving your work. Attendees are encouraged to give a talk and/or submit a poster. The meeting is aimed at early career statisticians, i.e. people carrying out a PhD, post-doc or finishing the Master Degree with outstanding theses/projects dealing with Bayesian statistics. Presentations on current PhD research are therefore welcomed as well as talks on work in progress on applied experience.

The registration and submissions are now open, with the following deadlines:

  • *Submission closing*: February 28, 2013
  • *Notification of acceptance*: March 15, 2013

*No conference fee is due*, but *registration is mandatory*, using the form available on the website. Electronic submission by email is required by sending both the TeX file (together with enclosed pictures) and the pdf file to baysm2013[@robase] Accepted papers will be published on the meeting website. Moreover, the abstract contributions and plenary lectures will be also included in a Springer book from the series “Springer Proceedings in Mathematics & Statistics”.

Note that the email does not mention any age limit for attending! Also Milano is not that far from Roma, so you should consider attending ABC in Roma on May 30-31, then make your leisurly way up north to Milano for BAYSM 2013!

appliBUGS (wet)

Posted in Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2012 by xi'an

clouds on my way to Montpellier, June 2, 2012This morning I gave my talk on ABC; computation or inference? at the appliBUGS seminar. Here, in Paris, BUGS stands for Bayesian United Group of Statisticians! Presumably in connection with a strong football culture, since the talk after mine was Jean-Louis Foulley’s ranking of the Euro 2012 teams. Quite an interesting talk (even though I am not particularly interested in football and even though I dozed a little, steaming out the downpour I had received on my bike-ride there…) I am also sorry I missed the next talk by Jean-Louis on Galton’s quincunx. (Unfortunately, his slides are not [yet?] on-line.)

As a coincidence, after launching a BayesComp page on Google+ (as an aside, I am quite nonplussed by the purpose of Google-), Nicolas Chopin also just started a Bayes in Paris webpage, in connection with our informal seminar/reading group at CREST. With the appropriate picture this time, i.e. a street plaque remembering…Laplace! May I suggest the RER stop Laplace and his statue in the Paris observatory as additional illustrations for the other pages…

off to India

Posted in pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , on December 26, 2012 by xi'an

Tomorrow morning, I am off to India, first for a week of touring in Rajasthan, starting with the city Jaipur, and nearby states, then for the ISBA conference in Varanasi (Bénarés) organised by Satyanshu Upadhyay and the DST Centre for Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences at the Banaras Hindu University. The list of speakers and the program of the conference is quite impressive and I am looking very much attending this conference (as well as the first leg of the trip, of course). (I hope to get enough broadband and to keep my camera long enough to post a few pictures along the way…)