MCMskv, Lenzerheide, 4-7 Jan., 2016 [news #1]

moonriseThe BayesComp MCMski V [or MCMskv for short] has now its official website, once again maintained by Merrill Lietchy from Drexel University, Philadelphia, and registration is even open! The call for contributed sessions is now over, while the call for posters remains open until the very end. The novelty from the previous post is that there will be a “Breaking news” [in-between the Late news sessions at JSM and the crash poster talks at machine-learning conferences] session to highlight major advances among poster submissions. And that there will be an opening talk by Steve [the Bayesian] Scott on the 4th, about the frightening prospect of MCMC death!, followed by a round-table and a welcome reception, sponsored by the Swiss Supercomputing Centre. Hence the change in dates. Which still allows for arrivals in Zürich on the January 4th [be with you].

5 Responses to “MCMskv, Lenzerheide, 4-7 Jan., 2016 [news #1]”

  1. Dan Simpson Says:

    By comparison:

    Warwick’s 5 “Year of Big Data” meetings (the last thing I went to) had, by my count, 2 women out of 21 slots. Of the 5 meetings, women presented in 2 (not the one I went to).

    MCMSki’14 was 0 for 2.

    O’Bayes was 7 from 21 (plenaries).

    Estimating Constants has 1 from 10 (so far).

    Why are we ok with this?

    • What do you suggest?!

      • Dan Simpson Says:

        For this one, nothing. It’s done.

        In general: 2/3 is a nice soft target. If the target is missed its bit the end if the world, but it should be strongly justified.

        Consider the role of the plenary talks in career development. If there aren’t enough senior females in the section, you can work to make some. Find some younger interesting people and give them a shot. Do we really need to (to pick a name at random) hear David Dunson give a talk? Why not one of his students or pdocs? (O’Bayes was very good in having a few young speakers in prominent places)

        Look more broadly at the role of plenaries. Arguably, the last MCMSki had 2 speakers who gave the least traditionally computational talks. They engaged in different ways with the topic and gave everyone things to think about. So it really isn’t strictly limited to BayesComp. Most modern statisticians are at least computationally engaged.

        ISBA and the IMS and the RSS etc should ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to endorse anything that doesn’t have at least one woman prominently featured (a bar so embarrassingly low we should be tripping over it)

        People should refuse to go conferences/workshops/meetings/roundtables that are all male. Again, do we need another panel of old men telling us what the future of statistics is?

        This is structural inequality and it cannot be fixed by hoping or moaning that we can’t have more women because there aren’t enough in the field. We can only fix this by rolling up our sleeves and forcing change. To suggest otherwise is to be a very poor student of history.

  2. Dan Simpson Says:

    I do love a conference that chooses not to have even a single female plenary speaker. Great work!

    • My first reaction was to chicken out by noticing that the plenary speakers had not been discussed within the Scientific Committee this year, but you are correct that this ultimate imbalance was also present at MCMSki 4. Less at the first three meetings, with one female speaker out of three. Even though I agree we should not have let this 0/5 happen, the field of computational statistics and numerical probability is quite gender imbalanced. Check for instance the membership of BayesComp…

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