Archive for European Research Council

Ocean’s four!

Posted in Books, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2022 by xi'an

Fantastic news! The ERC-Synergy¹ proposal we submitted last year with Michael Jordan, Éric Moulines, and Gareth Roberts has been selected by the ERC (which explains for the trips to Brussels last month). Its acronym is OCEAN [hence the whale pictured by a murmuration of starlings!], which stands for On intelligenCE And Networks​: Mathematical and Algorithmic Foundations for Multi-Agent Decision-Making​. Here is the abstract, which will presumably turn public today along with the official announcement from the ERC:

Until recently, most of the major advances in machine learning and decision making have focused on a centralized paradigm in which data are aggregated at a central location to train models and/or decide on actions. This paradigm faces serious flaws in many real-world cases. In particular, centralized learning risks exposing user privacy, makes inefficient use of communication resources, creates data processing bottlenecks, and may lead to concentration of economic and political power. It thus appears most timely to develop the theory and practice of a new form of machine learning that targets heterogeneous, massively decentralized networks, involving self-interested agents who expect to receive value (or rewards, incentive) for their participation in data exchanges.

OCEAN will develop statistical and algorithmic foundations for systems involving multiple incentive-driven learning and decision-making agents, including uncertainty quantification at the agent’s level. OCEAN will study the interaction of learning with market constraints (scarcity, fairness), connecting adaptive microeconomics and market-aware machine learning.

OCEAN builds on a decade of joint advances in stochastic optimization, probabilistic machine learning, statistical inference, Bayesian assessment of uncertainty, computation, game theory, and information science, with PIs having complementary and internationally recognized skills in these domains. OCEAN will shed a new light on the value and handling data in a competitive, potentially antagonistic, multi-agent environment, and develop new theories and methods to address these pressing challenges. OCEAN requires a fundamental departure from standard approaches and leads to major scientific interdisciplinary endeavors that will transform statistical learning in the long term while opening up exciting and novel areas of research.

Since the ERC support in this grant mostly goes to PhD and postdoctoral positions, watch out for calls in the coming months or contact us at any time.

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UK vs. Horizon Europe [episode 23]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2022 by xi'an

Just read in The Guardian that the UK Government or more exactly the PM hopeful Liz Truss  (since Boris Johnson has gone AWOL!) is starting a formal procedure against the EU for British scientists being excluded from Horizon Europe funding due to said Government renegading on its former signature of the Northern Ireland Protocol. (After the EU announced last June re-commencing its infringement proceedings against the UK.) Just stick to Science!

sunset on the horizon…

Posted in pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2022 by xi'an

“The window for association is closing fast, and we need to ensure that political issues do not get in the way of a sensible solution. We have always been very clear that association is the preferred outcome for protecting decades of collaborative research, and the benefits this has brought to people’s lives across the continent and beyond. Adrian Smith

As reported in the Guardian of today a terrible impact of BoJo’s Vote Leave Brexit the UK Government failing to implement the Northern Ireland protocol is that this threatens ERC funding for UK scientists, as the associate membership of Horizon Europe was part of the Brexit negociations, whose “deal”  has been delayed because of this. About a hundred new ERC grant recipients who are currently located in the UK have to either relocate to (eager) EU universities or to give up this most prestigious funding…

Big Bayes postdoctoral position in Oxford [UK]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2022 by xi'an

Forwarding a call for postdoctoral applications from Prof Judith Rousseau, with deadline 30 March:

Seeking a Postdoctoral Research Assistant, to join our group at the Department of Statistics. The Postdoctoral Research Assistant will be carrying out research for the ERC project General Theory for Big Bayes, reporting to Professor Judith Rousseau. They will provide guidance to junior members of the research group such as PhD students, and/or project volunteers.

The aim of this project is to develop a general theory for the analysis of Bayesian methods in complex and high (or infinite) dimensional models which will cover not only fine understanding of the posterior distributions but also an analysis of the output of the algorithms used to implement the approaches. The main objectives of the project are (briefly): 1) Asymptotic analysis of the posterior distribution of complex high dimensional models 2) Interactions between the asymptotic theory of high dimensional posterior distributions and computational complexity. We will also enrich these theoretical developments by 3) strongly related domains of applications, namely neuroscience, terrorism and crimes, and ecology.

The postholder will hold or be close to completion of a PhD/DPhil in statistics together with relevant experience. They will have the ability to manage own academic research and associated activities and have previous experience of contributing to publications/presentations. They will contribute ideas for new research projects and research income generation. Ideally, the postholder will also have experience in theoretical properties of Bayesian procedures and/or approximate Bayesian methods.

the Bernoulli Society cancels EMS 2022

Posted in Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2022 by xi'an

In reaction to the military aggression by the Russian Federation, the Executive Committee of the Bernoulli Society, in consultation with the European Regional Committee, has decided to cancel the European Meeting of Statisticians 2022 in Moscow. We appreciate the significant efforts that have been invested in the preparation of this meeting. We express our deepest sympathy and support to the Ukrainian people.

The Bernoulli Society has eventually opted for a full cancellation of the European Meeting of Statisticians this year. Rather than opting for reporting it to the next year, another location in Europe, or for moving on-line. The former would have been a weak statement against the Russian Federation invasion, the next a most challenging endeavour, and the later could have been feasible, as shown by the successful 2020 Bernoulli-IMS One World Symposium. (While rescuing some of the effort put by its program committee, incl. several friends of mine, in planning this top conference.)

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