Archive for Cassis

Crêt Saint Michel

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2018 by xi'an

A great afternoon climbing near CIRM with Nicolas, a mountain guide from the local guide company in Cassis, on this cliff of Crêt Saint Michel I passed everyday [while there!] to go swimming in the Sormiou harbour below, a mere 15 mn run from CIRM. As shown by the above map of bolted routes on the first half of the cliff, there are plenty of choices and more, although there were already four other groups climbing on that afternoon.

All these routes are bolted and have been around for quite a while, meaning two significant things: the quotation of the difficulty of the routes is quite lax and the rock is weathered by use at places, which made going up a 5c route somewhat of a challenge for me when climbing second and an impossibility when climbing first. On the rightmost green route, the 6a+ part had bits where I had to rely on slings left by Nicolas.The weather was brilliant, with blue sky and hot sun all the way, and the view of the Sormiou calanque (creek) below as a terrific background… I hope I can repeat this experience when visiting CIRM again in November, for the “Big Bayes” conference. And even more that this unique coastline will not be reached by the growing oil spil in the area.

glorious dawn [jatp]

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2018 by xi'an

at CIRM [jatp]

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2018 by xi'an

back from CIRM

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, Running, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2016 by xi'an

near Col de Sugiton, Parc National des Calanques, Marseille, March 01, 2016As should be clear from earlier posts, I tremendously enjoyed this past week at CIRM, Marseille, and not only for providing a handy retreat from where I could go running and climbing at least twice a day!  The programme (with slides and films soon to be available on the CIRM website) was very well-designed with mini-courses and talks of appropriate length and frequency. Thanks to Nicolas Chopin (ENSAE ParisTech) and Gilles Celeux  (Inria Paris) for constructing so efficiently this program and to the local organisers Thibaut Le Gouic (Ecole Centrale de Marseille), Denys Pommeret (Aix-Marseille Université), and Thomas Willer (Aix-Marseille Université) for handling the practical side of inviting and accommodating close to a hundred participants on this rather secluded campus. I hope we can reproduce the experiment a few years from now. Maybe in 2018 if we manage to squeeze it between BayesComp 2018 [ex-MCMski] and ISBA 2018 in Edinburgh.

One of the bonuses of staying at CIRM is indeed that it is fairly isolated and far from the fury of down-town Marseille, which may sound like a drag, but actually helps with concentration and interactions. Actually, the whole Aix-Marseille University campus of Luminy on which CIRM is located is surprisingly quiet: we were there in the very middle of the teaching semester and saw very few students around (although even fewer boars!). It is a bit of a mystery that a campus built in such a beautiful location with the Mont Puget as its background and the song of cicadas as the only source of “noise” is not better exploited towards attracting more researchers and students. However remoteness and lack of efficient public transportation may explain a lot about this low occupation of the campus. As may the poor quality of most buildings on the campus, which must be unbearable during the summer months…

In a potential planning for the future Bayesian week at CIRM, I think we could have some sort of poster sessions after-dinner (with maybe a cash bar operated by some of the invited students since there is no bar at CIRM or around). Or trail-running under moonlight, trying to avoid tripping over rummaging boars… A sort of Kaggle challenge would be nice but presumably too hard to organise. As a simpler joint activity, we could collectively contribute to some wikipedia pages related to Bayesian and computational statistics.

Bayesian week in a statistics month at CIRM

Posted in Books, Mountains, pictures, Running, Statistics, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2016 by xi'an

Calanque de Morgiou, Marseille, July 7, 2010As posted earlier, this week is a Bayesian week at CIRM, the French mathematical society centre near Marseilles. Where we meet with about 80 researchers and students interested in Bayesian statistics, from all possible sides. (And possibly in climbing in the Calanques and trail running, if not swimming at this time of year…) With Jean-Michel we will be teaching a short course on Bayesian computational methods, namely ABC and MCMC, over the first two days… Here are my slides for the MCMC side:

As should be obvious from the first slides, this is a very introductory course that should only appeal to students with no previous exposure. The remainder of the week will see advanced talks on the state-of-the-art Bayesian computational methods, including some on noisy MCMC and on the mysterious expectation-propagation technique.

Statistics month in Marseilles (CIRM)

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

Calanque de Morgiou, Marseille, July 7, 2010Next February, the fabulous Centre International de Recherche en Mathématiques (CIRM) in Marseilles, France, will hold a Statistics month, with the following programme over five weeks

Each week will see minicourses of a few hours (2-3) and advanced talks, leaving time for interactions and collaborations. (I will give one of those minicourses on Bayesian foundations.) The scientific organisers of the B’ week are Gilles Celeux and Nicolas Chopin.

The CIRM is a wonderful meeting place, in the mountains between Marseilles and Cassis, with many trails to walk and run, and hundreds of fantastic climbing routes in the Calanques at all levels. (In February, the sea is too cold to contemplate swimming. The good side is that it is not too warm to climb and the risk of bush fire is very low!) We stayed there with Jean-Michel Marin a few years ago when preparing Bayesian Essentials. The maths and stats library is well-provided, with permanent access for quiet working sessions. This is the French version of the equally fantastic German Mathematik Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach. There will be financial support available from the supporting societies and research bodies, at least for young participants and the costs if any are low, for excellent food and excellent lodging. Definitely not a scam conference!

For readers in Cassis [only!]

Posted in Mountains, Running, Travel with tags , , on July 20, 2010 by xi'an


If you happen to be in Cassis or nearby, and have time and will to do so, could you please check with the Police Municipale there whether or not they have been  brought a pair of black prescription Demetz Ros 11 sunglasses…?! I lost them around the main street of Cassis last Tuesday and the only way to check whether anyone dropped the glasses at the police station is to get there! Since they are brand new, following the loss on the Ardèche in May, and useless for anyone else, I would appreciate immensely!!!