Archive for Blossom skis

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

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, R, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2015 by xi'an

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].

MCMskv, Lenzerheide, Jan. 5-7, 2016

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, R, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2015 by xi'an

moonriseFollowing the highly successful [authorised opinion!, from objective sources] MCMski IV, in Chamonix last year, the BayesComp section of ISBA has decided in favour of a two-year period, which means the great item of news that next year we will meet again for MCMski V [or MCMskv for short], this time on the snowy slopes of the Swiss town of Lenzerheide, south of Zürich. The committees are headed by the indefatigable Antonietta Mira and Mark Girolami. The plenary speakers have already been contacted and Steve Scott (Google), Steve Fienberg (CMU), David Dunson (Duke), Krys Latuszynski (Warwick), and Tony Lelièvre (Mines, Paris), have agreed to talk. Similarly, the nine invited sessions have been selected and will include Hamiltonian Monte Carlo,  Algorithms for Intractable Problems (ABC included!), Theory of (Ultra)High-Dimensional Bayesian Computation, Bayesian NonParametrics, Bayesian Econometrics,  Quasi Monte Carlo, Statistics of Deep Learning, Uncertainty Quantification in Mathematical Models, and Biostatistics. There will be afternoon tutorials, including a practical session from the Stan team, tutorials for which call is open, poster sessions, a conference dinner at which we will be entertained by the unstoppable Imposteriors. The Richard Tweedie ski race is back as well, with a pair of Blossom skis for the winner!

As in Chamonix, there will be parallel sessions and hence the scientific committee has issued a call for proposals to organise contributed sessions, tutorials and the presentation of posters on particularly timely and exciting areas of research relevant and of current interest to Bayesian Computation. All proposals should be sent to Mark Girolami directly by May the 4th (be with him!).

MCMSki IV [mistakes and regrets]

Posted in Books, Mountains, pictures, R, Statistics, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , on January 13, 2014 by xi'an

ridge7Now that the conference and the Bayesian non-parametric satellite workshop (thanks to Judith!) are over, with (almost) everyone back home, and that the post-partum conference blues settles in (!), I can reflect on how things ran for those meetings and what I could have done to improve them… (Not yet considering to propose a second edition of MCMSki in Chamonix, obviously!)

Although this was clearly a side issue for most participants, the fact that the ski race did not take place still rattles me!  In retrospect, adding a mere 5€ amount to the registration fees for all participants would have been enough to cover the (fairly high) fares asked by the local ski school. Late planning for the ski race led to overlook this basic fact…

Since MCMSki is now the official conference of the BayesComp section of ISBA, I should have planned well in advance a section meeting within the program, if only to discuss the structure of the next meeting and how to keep the section alive. Waiting till the end of the last section of the final day was not the best idea!

Another thing I postponed for too long was seeking some sponsors: fortunately, the O’Bayes meeting in Duke woke me up to the potential of a poster prize and re-fortunately Academic Press, CRC Press, and Springer-Verlag reacted quickly enough to have plenty of books to hand to the winners. If we could have had another group of sponsors financing a beanie or something similar, it would have been an additional perk… Even though I gathered enough support from participants about the minimalist conference “package” made of a single A4 sheet.

Last, I did not advertise properly on the webpage and at all during the meeting for the special issue of Statistics and Computing open to all presenters at MCMSki IV! We now need to send a reminder to them…

MCMSki IV [prizes]

Posted in Books, Mountains, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , on January 10, 2014 by xi'an

ridge6Congratulations to the MCMSki IV poster prize winners:

who each received two books from those kindly sent by Academic Press, CRC Press, and Springer-Verlag. (Except one of the above who should contact me for delivering her/him the dedicated books!) And to the honourable mention winners:

And to the members of the jury who worked hard both evening to produce this set of winners… Congrats too to Mina Vekhala from Helsinki who left the banquet with a pair of Blossom skis, thanks to a random draw from U({1,…,188}) of a dinner participant. She was 154th on the list and this number came out first. (Renewed thanks to Blossom skis for their generosity!)

Blossom skis [Tweedie race prize]

Posted in Mountains, Running, University life with tags , , , , on January 6, 2014 by xi'an


Here are the two pairs of beautiful skies offered by Blossom for the Richard Tweedie ski race of Wednesday! Provided the snow cover holds till then on the ski track. So far, the chances are very good, according to the ski school organisers. Confirmation this afternoon! It will definitely take part: registration tomorrow morning (Jan. 7, closing at half past noon) and meeting for the race at the top of the Parsa ski-lift (reached via the Brévent cable-car) on the stade (stadium) from 1pm onwards.

MCMSki IV, Jan. 6-9, 2014, Chamonix (news #13)

Posted in Mountains, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2013 by xi'an

Now, most poster abstracts have been received (or at least 63 of them),  even though newcomers can still send them to my wordpress address (if they realise the message gets posted immediately!, so the format Subject: firstname secondname (affiliation): title and text: abstract must be respected! No personal message or query please!). We have now above 200 registered participants, with all sessions remaining miraculously full (after a few permutations in the program).

S0 it is time to mention a wee bit of the “ski” side of MCMski. Chamonix has two types of ski passes, Chamonix Le Pass, and Mont Blanc Unlimited, the later allowing a wide access to the Mont Blanc area, up to 3800 meters and in France, Italy, and Switzerland, but presumably harder to exploit to the fullest on a 4 hour afternoon break. (You have to arrange renting skis and buying passes on your own! The conference centre may answer moderate queries but not make any booking.)  The temperature in the town of Chamonix is currently between -7 and 0 (centigrades), with ten centimetres of snow in town. All ski areas will be open by Dec. 21. If you plan to ski the Vallée Blanche from Aiguille du Midi, at 3800m, I strongly advise renting a guide for this ultimate skiing experience!

Big big big news: not only the ski race will take place on Wed., Jan. 08, afternoon, organised by ESF Chamonix, but Antonietta Mira managed to secure one or two pairs of skis for the winner(s) of the race! I doubt there will be other opportunities of that magnitude for winning a magnificent pair of skis made in Italy by Blossom skis. Thanks a lot to Anto!!! And to Blossom skis (whose collection includes a series called FreeTibet.)