Archive for the University life Category

[o-l] ISBA 2021 [百花齊放,百家爭鳴]

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2021 by xi'an

As usual, when looking for our ISBA World conference, ISBA [now] 2021, many alternative realities emerge, ISBA being such a popular acronym! The actual dates for the (true and only) ISBA 2021 conference are 28 June – 02 July and the location is no longer Kunming, China, since there is a pandemic going on!!! The conference is now on-line, which forces a complete rethinking of its organisation, away from a sheer replica on Zoom of the traditional conference. And with no registration fees!! I have agreed to join other ISBA members to contribute (with limited abilities) to this switch and obviously welcome comments towards it! Having greatly learned from the earlier experience with the One World Bernoulli+IMS conference last summer, thanks to the dedication and imagination of Leif Döring!, here are some line of thought:

  • Keep in mind days are 24 hours long and attention span much smaller, towards keeping the offer manageable for a fully engaged participant
  • Account and take advantage of the multiple time zones available to virtual participants to stretch the schedule to cover as many participants as possible, with a potential multiplication of (plenary) talks and posters
  • Avoid filling the on-line schedule with live talks but have them pre-registered, possibly with several levels of length and depth, including a one-slide two-minute version
  • Exploit on-line abilities to focus solely (?) on interactions, which is the main point of conferences, meaning participants joining for a thematic session over a reasonable duration to discuss talks or posters they had attended on their own before, with a catalyst leading the show with prepared questions
  • Preregister poster presentations as well, so that live poster sessions involve only questions and discussions, and group poster by theme (an attempt of mine at the earlier ISBA conferences) so that presenters and visitors can interact at the theme level rather than being stuck in an empty room with one’s poster
  • Create local mirrors when people could physically (safely!) gather to attend the conference, from watching videos and poster together to engage into a local plus virtual discussion during interaction sessions. I certainly plan to hold one such session in Paris [if there and not in Eindhoven on 28 June – 02 July]
  • Find ways to engage participants to fully commit to the conference (see above), for instance by preparing a “I am away at ISBA 2021” card one could post on whatever social or asocial networks one favours (but maybe not as one’s vacation email automated reply, unless the card is a few bytes…)

ABC, anytime!

Posted in Books, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , on January 18, 2021 by xi'an

Last June, Alix Marie d’Avigneau, Sumeet Singh, and Lawrence Murray arXived a paper on anytime ABC I intended to review right away but that sat till now on my virtual desk (and pile of to-cover-arXivals!). The notion of anytime MCMC was already covered in earlier ‘Og entries, but this anytime ABC version bypasses the problem of asynchronicity, namely, “randomly varying local move completion times when parallel tempering is implemented on a multi-processor computing resource”. The different temperatures are replaced by different tolerances in ABC. Since switches between tolerances are natural if a proposal for a given tolerance ε happens to be eligible for a lower tolerance ε’. And accounting for the different durations required to simulate a proposal under different tolerances to avoid the induced bias in the stationary distributions. Or the wait for other processors to complete their task. A drawback with the approach stands in calibrating the tolerance levels in advance (or via preliminary runs that may prove costly).

lost mathematicians of 2020

Posted in Books, Kids, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , on January 17, 2021 by xi'an

[de]quarantined by slideshare

Posted in Books, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2021 by xi'an

A follow-up episode to the SlideShare m’a tuer [sic] saga: After the 20 November closure of my xianblog account and my request for an explanation, I was told by Linkedin that a complaint has been made about one of my talks for violation of copyright. Most surprisingly, at least at first, it was about the slides for the graduate lectures I gave ten years ago at CREST on (re)reading Jaynes’ Probability Theory. While the slides contain a lot of short quotes from the Logic of Science, somewhat necessarily since I discuss the said book, there are also many quotes from Jeffreys’ Theory of Probability and “t’is but a scratch” on the contents of this lengthy book… Plus, the pdf file appears to be accessible on several sites, including one with an INRIA domain. Since I had to fill a “Counter-Notice of Copyright Infringement” to unlock the rest of the depository, I just hope no legal action is going to be taken about this lecture. But I remain puzzled at the reasoning behind the complaint, unwilling to blame radical Jaynesians for it! As an aside, here are the registered 736 views of the slides for the past year:

missing bit?

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2021 by xi'an

Nature of 7 December 2020 has a Nature Index (a supplement made of a series of articles, more journalistic than scientific, with corporate backup, which “have no influence over the content”) on Artificial Intelligence, including the above graph representing “the top 200 collaborations among 146 institutions based between 2015 and 2019, sized according to each institution’s share in artificial intelligence”, with only the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Italy identified for Europe… Missing e.g. the output from France and from its major computer science institute, INRIA. Maybe because “the articles picked up by [their] database search concern specific applications of AI in the life sciences, physical sciences, chemistry, and Earth and environmental sciences”.  Or maybe because of the identification of INRIA as such.

“Access to massive data sets on which to train machine-learning systems is one advantage that both the US and China have. Europe, on the other hand, has stringent data laws, which protect people’s privacy, but limit its resources for training AI algorithms. So, it seems unlikely that Europe will produce very sophisticated AI as a consequence”

This comment is sort of contradictory for the attached articles calling for a more ethical AI. Like making AI more transparent and robust. While having unrestricted access to personal is helping with social engineering and control favoured by dictatures and corporate behemoths, a culture of data privacy may (and should) lead to develop new methodology to work with protected data (as in an Alan Turing Institute project) and to infuse more trust from the public. Working with less data does not mean less sophistication in handling it but on the opposite! Another clash of events appears in one of the six trailblazers portrayed in the special supplement being Timnit Gebru, “former co-lead of the Ethical AI Team at Google”, who parted way with Google at the time the issue was published. (See Andrew’s blog for  discussion of her firing. And the MIT Technology Review for an analysis of the paper potentially at the source of it.)