Archive for the Kids Category

Bayes @ NYT

Posted in Books, Kids, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2020 by xi'an

A tribune in the NYT of yesterday on the importance of being Bayesian. When an epidemiologist. Tribune that was forwarded to me by a few friends (and which I missed on my addictive monitoring of the journal!). It is written by , a Canadian journalist writing about mathematics (and obviously statistics). And it brings to the general public the main motivation for adopting a Bayesian approach, namely its coherent handling of uncertainty and its ability to update in the face of new information. (Although it might be noted that other flavours of statistical analysis are also able to update their conclusions when given more data.) The COVID situation is a perfect case study in Bayesianism, in that there are so many levels of uncertainty and imprecision, from the models themselves, to the data, to the outcome of the tests, &tc. The article is journalisty, of course, but it quotes from a range of statisticians and epidemiologists, including Susan Holmes, whom I learned was quarantined 105 days in rural Portugal!, developing a hierarchical Bayes modelling of the prevalent  SEIR model, and David Spiegelhalter, discussing Cromwell’s Law (or better, humility law, for avoiding the reference to a fanatic and tyrannic Puritan who put Ireland to fire and the sword!, and had in fact very little humility for himself). Reading the comments is both hilarious (it does not take long to reach the point when Trump is mentioned, and Taleb’s stance on models and tails makes an appearance) and revealing, as many readers do not understand the meaning of Bayes’ inversion between causes and effects, or even the meaning of Jeffreys’ bar, |, as conditioning.

75 years later, it is more than time for full nuclear disarmament!

Posted in Kids with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2020 by xi'an

Savage Award session today at JSM

Posted in Kids, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2020 by xi'an

Pleased to broadcast the JSM session dedicated to the 2020 Savage Award, taking place today at 13:00 ET (17:00 GMT), with two of the Savage nominees being former OxWaSP students (and Warwick PhD students). For those who have not registered for JSM, the talks are also available on Bayeslab. (As it happens, I was also a member of the committee this year, but do not think this could be deemed a CoI!)

112 Mon, 8/3/2020, 1:00 PM – 2:50 PM Virtual
Savage Award Session — Invited Papers
International Society for Bayesian Analysis (ISBA)
Organizer(s): Maria De Iorio, University College London
Chair(s): Maria De Iorio, University College London
1:05 PM Bayesian Dynamic Modeling and Forecasting of Count Time Series
Lindsay Berry, Berry Consultants
1:30 PM Machine Learning Using Approximate Inference: Variational and Sequential Monte Carlo Methods
Christian Andersson Naesseth, Columbia University
1:55 PM Recent Advances in Bayesian Probabilistic Numerical Integration
Francois-Xavier Briol, University College London
2:20 PM Factor regression for dimensionality reduction and data integration techniques with applications to cancer data
Alejandra Avalos Pacheco, Harvard Medical School
2:45 PM Floor Discussion

a conversation about eugenism at JSM

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2020 by xi'an

Following the recent debate on Fisher’s involvement in eugenics (and the renaming of the R.A. Fisher Award and Lectureship into the COPSS Distinguished Achievement Award and Lectureship), the ASA is running a JSM round table on Eugenics and its connections with statistics, to which I had been invited, along with Scarlett BellamyDavid Bellhouse, and David Cutler. The discussion is planned on 06 August at 3pm (ET, i.e., 7GMT) and here is the abstract:

The development of eugenics and modern statistical theory are inextricably entwined in history.  Their evolution was guided by the culture and societal values of scholars (and the ruling class) of their time through and including today.  Motivated by current-day societal reckonings of systemic injustice and inequity, this roundtable panel explores the role of prominent statisticians and of statistics more broadly in the development of eugenics at its inception and over the past century.  Leveraging a diverse panel, the discussions seek to shed light on how eugenics and statistics – despite their entangled past — have now severed, continue to have presence in ways that affect our lives and aspirations.

It is actually rather unclear to me why I was invited at the table, apart from my amateur interest in the history of statistics. On a highly personal level, I remember being introduced to Galton’s racial theories during my first course on probability, in 1982, by Prof Ogier, who always used historical anecdotes to enliven his lectures, like Galton trying to measure women mensurations during his South Africa expedition. Lectures that took place in the INSEE building, boulevard Adolphe Pinard in Paris, with said Adolphe Pinard being a founding member of the French Eugenics Society in 1913.

on the Internet nobody knows you are an old dog

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , on July 25, 2020 by xi'an