Archive for architecture

a maths mansion!

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2015 by xi'an

I read in The Guardian today about James Stewart’s house being for sale. James Stewart was a prolific author of many college and high-school books on calculus and pre-calculus. I have trouble understanding how one can write so many books on the same topic, but he apparently managed, to the point of having this immense house designed by architects to his taste. Which sounds a bit passé in my opinion. Judging from the covers of the books, and from the shape of the house, he had a fascination for the integral sign (which has indeed an intrinsic beauty!). Still amazing considering it was paid by his royalties. Less amazing when checking the price of those books: they are about $250 a piece. Multiplied by hundreds of thousands of copies sold every year, it sums up to being able to afford such a maths mansion! (I am not so sure I can take over the undergrad market by recycling the Bayesian Choice..!)

Oxford snapshot

Posted in pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , on July 18, 2015 by xi'an

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Amsterdamse huizen

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel, University life with tags , , , on April 19, 2015 by xi'an

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the new museum ruining my views!

Posted in pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2014 by xi'an

lvmfarIn the past years, I have see a construction grow and grow under my office windows in Paris-Dauphine, ruining my views of the towers of La Défense, as seen on the above picture. This huge building designed by architect Frank Gehry has now opened as the Fondation Louis Vuitton museum, exposing artworks owned by LVMH and Bernard Arnault. Since I am very close to it and could not get an idea of what it looked like from my office, I took a Vélib yesterday and biked the kilometer between Porte Dauphine and the museum. As it had just opened, it was fairly crowded but I could still take a few pictures of this elegant sail-boat made of glass panels, without entering the art gallery itself…

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Once the novelty has worn out and the crowds thinned down, I will be back to look at the exhibits. In the meanwhile, I for sure will not forget its presence…!

BAYSM’14 recollection

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2014 by xi'an

Poster for the meeting found everywhere on the WU campus, Wien business and economics universityWhen I got invited to BAYSM’14 last December, I was quite excited to be part of the event. (And to have the opportunities to be in Austria, in Wien and on the new WU campus!) And most definitely and a posteriori I have not been disappointed given the high expectations I had for that meeting…! The organisation was seamless, even by Austrian [high] standards, the program diverse and innovative, if somewhat brutal for older Bayesians and the organising committee (Angela Bitto, Gregor Kastner, and Alexandra Posekany) deserves an ISBA recognition award [yet to be created!] for their hard work and dedication. Thanks also to Sylvia Früwirth-Schnatter for hosting the meeting in her university. They set the standard very high for the next BAYSM organising team. (To be hold in Firenze/Florence, on June 19-21, 2016, just prior to the ISBA Worlbaysm5d meeting not taking place in Banff. A great idea to associate with a major meeting, in order to save on travel costs. Maybe the following BAYSM will take place in Edinburgh! Young, local, and interested Bayesians just have to contact the board of BAYS with proposals.)

So, very exciting and diverse. A lot of talks in applied domains, esp. economics and finance in connection with the themes of the guest institution, WU.  On the talks most related to my areas of interest, I was pleased to see Matthew Simpson working on interweaving MCMC with Vivek Roy and Jarad Niemi, Madhura Killedar constructing her own kind of experimental ABC on galaxy clusters, Kathrin Plankensteiner using Gaussian processes on accelerated test data, Julyan Arbel explaining modelling by completely random measures for hazard mixtures [and showing his filliation with me by (a) adapting my pun title to his talk, (b) adding an unrelated mountain picture to the title page, (c) including a picture of a famous probabilist, Paul Lévy, to his introduction of Lévy processes and (d) using xkcd strips], Ewan Cameron considering future ABC for malaria modelling,  Konstantinos Perrakis working on generic importance functions in data augmentation settings, Markus baysm4Hainy presenting his likelihood-free design (that I commented a while ago), Kees Mulder explaining how to work with the circular von Mises distribution. Not to mention the numerous posters I enjoyed over the first evening. And my student Clara Grazian who talked about our joint and current work on Jeffreys priors for mixture of distributions. Whose talk led me to think of several extensions…

Besides my trek through past and current works of mine dealing with mixtures, the plenary sessions for mature Bayesians were given by Mike West and Chris Holmes, who gave very different talks but with the similar message that data was catching up with modelling and with a revenge and that we [or rather young Bayesians] needed to deal with this difficulty. And use approximate or proxy models. Somewhat in connection with my last part on an alternative to Bayes factors, Mike also mentioned a modification of the factor in order to attenuate the absorbing impact of long time series. And Chris re-set Bayesian analysis within decision theory, constructing approximate models by incorporating the loss function as a substitute to the likelihood.

Once again, a terrific meeting in a fantastic place with a highly unusual warm spell. Plus enough time to run around Vienna and its castles and churches. And enjoy local wines (great conference evening at a Heuriger, where we did indeed experience Gemütlichkeit.) And museums. Wunderbar!

art brut

Posted in pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , on December 16, 2011 by xi'an

National Gallery of Ireland

Posted in pictures, R, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on October 16, 2011 by xi'an

During a short if profitable visit to Dublin for a SFI meeting on Tuesday/Friday, I had the opportunity to visit the National Gallery of Ireland in my sole hour of free time (as my classy hotel was very close). The building itself is quite nice, being well-inserted between brick houses from the outside, while providing impressive height, space, and light from the inside.

The masterpiece gallery is quite small (unless I missed a floor!), if filled with masterpieces like a painting by Caillebotte I did not know.

 

The modern art gallery was taken by a temporary (and poorly exposed) exhibit that includes live happenings (five persons wearing monkish outfits standing around a mommy floating in mid-air), tags (!), and two interesting pieces: one was made of several tables filed with piles of books glued together and sculpted, giving an output that looked like 2-D histograms, and reminding me of the fear histograms discussed on  Statisfaction by Julyan a few days ago. (Note the Mathematica book in the last picture!) While I love books very much, I am also quite interested in sculptures involving books, like the one I saw a few years ago where the artist had grown different cereals on opened books: although it may sound like an easy trick (food for thought and all that), the result was amazing and impressive!

The second piece was a beautiful board illuminated by diodes which felts very warm and comforting, maybe in reminiscence of the maternal womb, of candles, or of myriads of galaxies, but very powerful in any case. (I usually dislike constructs involving light, like the neon sculptures of the 80’s, so I started with an a priori against it.) I could have stayed there for hours…