Archive for bike

snapshots of Oxford Statistics

Posted in Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , on February 29, 2016 by xi'an

Following the opening of the new Department of Statistics building in Oxford [which somewhat ironically is the former Department of Mathematics!], a professional photographer was commissioned for a photo cover of this move. Which is incidentally fantastic for the cohesion and work quality of the department, when compared with the former configuration in two disconnected buildings on South Parks Road. Not mentioning the vis-à-vis with Eagle and Child.

As the photographer happened to be there the very day I was teaching my Bayesian module for the OxWaSP PhD students, I ended up in some of the photographs (with no clear memory of this photographer, who was most unintrusive). With my Racoon River Brewing Co. tee-shirt I brought back from Des Moines. And was wearing in a very indirect allusion to the US primaries the night before!

delayed & robbed in London [CFE-CMStatistics 2015]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2015 by xi'an

London by Delta, Dec. 14, 2011Last Sunday, I gave a talk on delayed acceptance at the 9th International Conference on Computational and Financial Econometrics (CFE 2015), joint with CMStatistics 2015, in London. This was a worthwhile session, with other talks by Matias Quiroz, on subsampling strategies for large data, David Frazier, on our joint paper about the consistency of ABC algorithms, and James Ridgway not on Pima Indians! And with a good-sized audience especially when considering the number of parallel sessions (36!). Earlier that day, I also attended an equally interesting session on the calibration of misspecified Bayesian models including talks by Peter Green [with a potential answer to the difficulty of parameters on the boundaries by adding orthogonal priors on those boundaries] and Julien Stoehr. calibrating composite likelihoods on Gaussian random fields. In the evening I went to a pub I had last visited when my late friend Costas Goutis was still at UCL and later enjoyed a fiery hot rogan josh.

While I could have attended two more sessions the next morning, I took advantage of the nice café in the Gower Street Waterstones to work a few hours with co-authors (and drink a few litres of tea from real teapots). Despite this quite nice overall experience, the 36 parallel session and the 1600 plus attendants at the conference still make wonder at the appeal of such a large conference and at the pertinence of giving a talk in parallel with so many other talks. And on about all aspects of statistics and econometrics. One JSM (or one NIPS) is more than enough! And given that many people only came for delivering their talk, there is very little networking between research teams or mentoring of younger colleagues, as far as I can tell. And no connection with a statistical society (it would be so nice if the RSS annual conference could only attract 1600 people!). Only a “CMStatistics working group” of which I discovered I was listed as a member [and asked for removal, so far with no answer]. Whose goals and actions are unclear, except to support Elsevier journals with special issues apparently constructed on the same pattern as this conference was organised, i.e., by asking people to take care [for free!] of gathering authors on a theme of their choice. And behind this “working group” an equally nebulous structure called ERCIM

While the “robbed” in the title could be interpreted as wondering at the reason for paying such high registration fees (£250 for very early birds), I actually got robbed of my bicycle while away at the conference. Second bike stolen within a calendar year, quite an achievement! This was an old 1990 mountain bike I had bought in Cornell and carried back to France, in such a poor state that I could not imagine anyone stealing it. Wrong prior, obviously.

Trip to Louvain (and back)

Posted in Kids, pictures, Running, Statistics, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2015 by xi'an

Rue des Wallons, during the 24 heures de vélo, Louvain-la-Neuve, Oct. 21, 2015Apart from the minor initial inconvenience that I missed my train to Brussels thanks to the SNCF train company dysfunctional automata [but managed to switch to one half-an-hour later], my Belgian trip to Louvain-la-Neuve was quite enjoyable! I met with several local faculty [UCL] members I had not seen for several years, I gave my talk for the World Statistics Day in front of a large audience, maybe not the most appropriate talk for that day since it was somewhat skeptical about the nature of statistical tests, I got sharp questions, comments, and suggestions on the mixture approach to testing [incl. a challenging one about the Bernoulli B(p) case], I had a superb and animated and friendly dinner in a local restaurant—where everyone kindly spoke French although I was the only native French speaker—, I met the next morning with two PhD students from KU Leuven (the “other” part of the former Leuven university, albeit in the Flemmish side of the border) about functional ABC and generalised Jeffreys priors, I had a few more interesting discussions, and I managed to grab a few bags of Belgian waffles in Brussels before heading home! (In case you wonder from the above pixture, the crowds in the pedestrian streets of Louvain-la-Neuve were not connected to my visit!, but to a student festival centred at beer a 24 hour bike relay that attracted around 50,000 students, for less than a hundred bikes!)

art brut

Posted in pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , on June 28, 2015 by xi'an

tantan

talk in Orsay (message in a beetle)

Posted in Kids, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2014 by xi'an

IMG_0161Yesterday (March 27), I gave a seminar at Paris-Sud University, Orsay, in the stats department, on ABC model choice. It was an opportunity to talk about recent advances we have made with Jean-Michel Marin and Pierre Pudlo on using machine-learning devices to improve ABC. (More to come soon!) And to chat with Gilles Celeux about machine learning and classification. Actually, given that one of my examples was about the Asian lady beetle invasion and that the buildings of the Paris-Sud University have suffered from this invasion, I should have advertised the talk with the more catchy title of “message in a beetle”…

This seminar was also an opportunity to experiment with mixed transportation. Indeed, since I had some errands to run in Paris in morning I decided to bike there (in Paris), work at CREST, and then take my bike in the RER train down to Orsay as I did not have the time and leisure to bike all the 20k there. Since it was the middle of the day, the carriage was mostly empty and I managed to type a blog entry without having to worry about the bike being a nuisance…. The only drag was to enter the platform in Paris (Cité Universitaire) as there was no clear access for bike. Fortunately, a student kindly helped me to get over the gate with my bike, as I could not manage on my own… Nonetheless, I will certainly repeat the experience on my next trip to Orsay (but would not dare take the bike inside/under Paris per se because of the (over-)crowded carriages there).

trip to Montpellier

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , on February 27, 2014 by xi'an

IMG_2477Last week, I flew down to Montpellier for two days of work on ABC model choice with Jean-Michel Marin and Pierre Pudlo. Although we missed the COLT 2014 deadline, we are now close to completing this work that will propose a rather radical change in our advocacy of how ABC model choice should be conducted. We actually spent the second day on the wonderful campus of INRA at Montferrier-sur-Lez, just outside Montpellier, discussing of the implications of this approach with our friends at CBGP, Jean-Marie Cornuet and Arnaud Estoup. With possible impact on the DIYABC software. It was a very profitable trip (not mentioning tasting great Grés de Montpellier wine!) and I hope to manage completing the paper with Pierre during the next week in Banff. Unfortunately, when I came back to my train station, I found some idiots had a go at my bike and bent the back wheel which then needed to be replaced…

Structure and uncertainty, Bristol, Sept. 24-27

Posted in pictures, Running, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2012 by xi'an

I am back in Bristol just a few months after an earlier SuSTain workshop. (During my Spring UK trip to Bristol, Glasgow, and Edinburgh…) The theme of the workshop is Structure and uncertainty modelling, inference and computation in complex stochastic systems. And it enjoys a very rich program over the four days! I am talking about ABC and empirical likelihood, with the following slides I just completed:

Unsurprisingly, those slides borrow both from my earlier talks in Kyoto and Australia, and from Pierre Purdlo’s earlier talk on this paper… (I also added pictures of some of the hikes and climbs Peter Green and I survived together!)

I alas arrived too late for today’s sessions, having to give the opening lecture at my Statistics Master in Paris-Dauphine. (I will also alas miss half of Thursday’s talks!) As I am staying at the Avon Gorge Hotel, just next to the bridge, I took the opportunity of some remaining daylight to go running across Brunel’s bridge and into the nearby park of Leigh Woods. It happened to be very muddy thanks to the torrential rains of the morning, but it was a good way to test my recovering knee (after a minor bike fall last week!) on a long run… And it apparently held, although tomorrow morning run will tell for sure.