WSC 2012, Berlin

Berliner Dom, from Schoßplatz, Berlin, Dec. 10, 2012For once, while being away at a conference (WSC 2012), I will not be reporting on every day and session, for the simple reason I attended very few sessions and have therefore little to report! Last year in Phoenix, I had already resented a certain difficulty to relate with most of the talks and felt it unprofitable to attend most sessions, except those organised by Pierre Lécuyer and co-authors. This year, the pervasive combination of snowed-in Berlin, of a nice rental apartment (five time cheaper than the fancy Intercontinental), shared with Jean-Michel Marin whose inputs on the book were way overdue, of the distance to the Intercontinental, and of moderately exciting sessions meant that we spent most of the conference closeted in this apartment in Schöneberg, except for a quick stroll on Unter den Linden and for the inaugural conference by Stefan Rahmstorf on climate change (whose contents were surely worth broadcasting, although mildly related with simulation), a session on rare event simulation, and the session I organised on Monte Carlo Methods in Statistics (same title as the special issue of TOMACS, not coincidentally!). Actually, the feeling was mutual, apparently!, as our session attracted very few WSC 2012 attendees, a shame when considering the three great talks delivered by Anthony Lee, Jean-Michel Marin, and Nial Friel. To wit, Anthony talked about several scenarios for running ABC (see my earlier post of yesterday), Jean-Michel explained the tolerance selection developed in our recent paper, and Nial Friel discussed an on-going project dealing with composite likelihood in Gibbs random fields, a topic obviously close to my interests and the just accepted PNAS paper!

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