Archive for Coventry

another tee-shirt issue

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2018 by xi'an

I bought this burgundy mountain equipment tee-shirt last time I was in Coventry as I found the play on the seam as a crack rather clever. (As if I needed new tee shirts!) I later reflected that the posture of the climber is quite wrong as this climber should not be holding the rope when falling: as I became rather painfully aware a few years, ropes can become dangerous when stretched in the vicinity of fingers… So I dropped a line to the company, which kindly replied to my email that they had digitised an actual picture of a falling climber, hoping no one would take this tee-shirt as a recommendation for lead falls! (Their site actually opens with a great picture of a climber on the iconic Totem Pole, Tasmania.)

head position at Warwick stats

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2018 by xi'an

The Department of Statistics at Warwick seeks a new head to continue to develop and advance the quality of its education and research. The successful candidate will be appointed as a professor on an indefinite basis and will have a strong research and leadership profile. The appointment as Head of Department will be for three years in the first instance, with an option to extend. The next Head will work with this large and diverse community of academics and students, and support collaboration with the wider University. They will represent the Department to public and private audiences, nationally and internationally, and develop networks to promote the work of the Department. The deadline for applicants is 28 September 2018.

 

troubling trends in machine learning

Posted in Books, pictures, Running, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2018 by xi'an

This morning, in Coventry, while having an n-th cup of tea after a very early morning run (light comes early at this time of the year!), I spotted an intriguing title in the arXivals of the day, by Zachary Lipton and Jacob Steinhard. Addressing the academic shortcomings of machine learning papers. While I first thought little of the attempt to address poor scholarship in the machine learning literature, I read it with growing interest and, although I am pessimistic at the chances of inverting the trend, considering the relentless pace and massive production of the community, I consider the exercise worth conducting, if only to launch a debate on the excesses found in the literature.

“…desirable characteristics:  (i) provide intuition to aid the reader’s understanding, but clearly distinguish it from stronger conclusions supported by evidence; (ii) describe empirical investigations that consider and rule out alternative hypotheses; (iii) make clear the relationship between theoretical analysis and intuitive or empirical claims; and (iv) use language to empower the reader, choosing terminology to avoid misleading or unproven connotations, collisions with other definitions, or conflation with other related but distinct concepts”

The points made by the authors are (p.1)

  1. Failure to distinguish between explanation and speculation
  2. Failure to identify the sources of empirical gains
  3. Mathiness
  4. Misuse of language

Again, I had misgiving about point 3., but this is not an anti-maths argument, rather about the recourse to vaguely connected or oversold mathematical results as a way to support a method.

Most interestingly (and living dangerously!), the authors select specific papers to illustrate their point, picking from well-established authors and from their own papers, rather than from junior authors. And also include counter-examples of papers going the(ir) right way. Among the recommendations for emerging from the morass of poor scholarship papers, they suggest favouring critical writing and retrospective surveys (provided authors can be found for these!). And mention open reviews before I can mention these myself. One would think that published anonymous reviews are a step in the right direction, I would actually say that this should be the norm (plus or minus anonymity) for all journals or successors of journals (PCis coming strongly to mind). But requiring more work from the referees implies rewards for said referees, as done in some biology and hydrology journals I refereed for (and PCIs of course).

LMS Invited Lecture Series / CRISM Summer School 2018

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , on July 12, 2018 by xi'an

four positions at Warwick Statistics, apply!

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , on March 26, 2018 by xi'an

Enthusiastic and excellent academics are sought to be part of our Department of Statistics at Warwick, one of the world’s most prominent and most research active departments of Statistics! We are advertising four posts in total, which reflects the strong commitment of the University of Warwick to invest in Statistics. We intend to fill the following positions:

  • Assistant or Associate Professor of Statistics (two positions)

  • Harrison Early Career Assistant Professor of Statistics (two positions)

You will have expertise in statistics (to be interpreted in the widest sense and to include both applied and methodological statistics, probability, probabilistic operational research and mathematical finance together with interdisciplinary topics involving one or more of these areas) and you will help shape research and teaching leadership in this fast-developing discipline. Applicants for senior positions should have an excellent publication record and proven ability to secure research funding. Applicants for more junior positions should show exceptional promise to become leading academics.

While the posts are open to applicants with expertise in any field of statistics (widely interpreted as above), the Department is particularly interested in strengthening its existing group in Data Science. The Department is heavily involved in the Warwick Data Science Institute and the Alan Turing Institute, the national institute for data science, headquartered in London. If interested, a successful candidate can apply to spend part of their time at the Alan Turing Institute as a Turing Fellow.

Closing date: 10 April 2018 for the posts.

Informal enquires can be addressed to Professors Mark Steel, Gareth Roberts, and David Firth or to any other senior member of the Warwick Statistics Department. Applicants at Assistant/Associate levels should ask their referees to send letters of recommendation by the closing date to the Departmental Administrator, Mrs Paula Matthews.

In addition to any specific positions announced above, the Department of Statistics strongly encourages applicants for funded, open research fellowship competitions to consider holding their fellowship in statistics or probability at Warwick.

BAYSM’18 [British summer conference series]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , on January 22, 2018 by xi'an

four positions at Warwick Statistics, apply!

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on November 21, 2017 by xi'an

Enthusiastic and excellent academics are sought to be part of our Department of Statistics at Warwick, one of the world’s most prominent and most research active departments of Statistics. We are advertising four posts in total, which reflects the strong commitment of the University of Warwick to invest in Statistics. We intend to fill the following positions:

  • Assistant or Associate Professor of Statistics (two positions)

  • Reader of Statistics

  • Full Professor of Statistics.

All posts are permanent, with posts at the Assistant level subject to probation.

You will have expertise in statistics (to be interpreted in the widest sense and to include both applied and methodological statistics, probability, probabilistic operational research and mathematical finance together with interdisciplinary topics involving one or more of these areas) and you will help shape research and teaching leadership in this fast-developing discipline. Applicants for senior positions should have an excellent publication record and proven ability to secure research funding. Applicants for more junior positions should show exceptional promise to become leading academics.

While the posts are open to applicants with expertise in any field of statistics (widely interpreted as above), the Department is particularly interested in strengthening its existing group in Data Science. The Department is heavily involved in the Warwick Data Science Institute and the Alan Turing Institute, the national institute for data science, headquartered in London. If interested, a successful candidate can apply to spend part of their time at the Alan Turing Institute as a Turing Fellow.

Closing date: 3 January 2018 for the Assistant/Associate level posts and 10 January 2018 for the Full Professor position.

Informal enquires can be addressed to Professors Mark Steel, Gareth Roberts, and David Firth or to any other senior member of the Warwick Statistics Department. Applicants at Assistant/Associate levels should ask their referees to send letters of recommendation by the closing date to the Departmental Administrator, Mrs Paula Matthews.