Archive for Geneva

MCMSki IV, Jan. 6-8, 2014, Chamonix (news #18)

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

MCMSki IV is about to start! While further participants may still register (registration is still open!), we are currently 223 registered participants, without accompanying people. I do hope most of these managed to reach the town of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc despite the foul weather on the East Coast. Unfortunately, three speakers (so far) cannot make it: Yugo Chen (Urbana-Champaign), David Hunter (Penn State), Georgios Karagiannis (Toronto), and Liam Paninski (New York). Nial Friel will replace David Hunter and give a talk on Noisy MCMC.

First, the  posters for tonight session (A to K authors) should be posted today (before dinner) on the boards at the end of the main lecture theatre. And removed tonight as well. Check my wordpress blog for the abstracts. (When I mentioned there was no deadline for sending abstracts, I did not expect getting one last Friday!)

Second, I remind potential skiers that the most manageable option is to ski on the Brévent domain, uphill from the conference centre. There is even a small rental place facing the cable-car station (make sure to phone +33450535264 to check they still have skis available) and renting storage closets…

MCMSki IV, Jan. 6-8, 2014, Chamonix (news #17)

Posted in Mountains, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2014 by xi'an

We are a few days from the start, here are the latest items of information for the participants:

The shuttle transfer on January 5th, from Geneva Airport to Chamonix lasts 1 hour 30 minutes. At your arrival in the airport , follow the “Swiss Exit”. After the customs, the bus driver (handling a sign “MCMC’Ski Chamonix”) will be waiting for you at the Meeting Point in the Arrival Hall. The bus driver will arrive 10 minutes before the time of the meeting and will check for each participant on his or her list. There may be delays in case of poor weather.  The bus will drop you in front of or close to your hotel. If you miss the bus initially booked, you can get the next one. If you miss the last transfer, taking a taxi will be the only solution (warning, about 250 Euros!!!)

The registration will start on Monday January 6th at 8am, the conference will start at 8.45am. The conference will take place at the Majestic Congress Center, located 241 Allée du Majestic, in downtown Chamonix. There are signs all over town directing to Majestic Congrés. (No skiing equipment, i.e., skis, boots, boards, is allowed inside the building.) Speakers are advised to check with their chair in advance about downloading their talk.

The Richard Tweedie ski race should take place on Wednesday at 1pm, weather and snow permitting. There will be a registration line at the registration desk. (The cost is 10€ per person and does not include lift passes or equipment.) Thanks to Antonietta Mira, there will be two pairs of skis to be won!)

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.)

MCMSki IV, Jan. 6-8, 2014, Chamonix (news #12)

Posted in Mountains, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2013 by xi'an

We are converging towards MCMSki IV getting closer and closer to the conference! I hope that by now all intended participants have registered (registration is still open!), found a place where to stay during and around the conference (still feasible!), and booked their flight to Geneva (or nearby).

First, please send me asap the  poster abstract to if you plan to present a poster. We are currently with 45 abstracts on my special wordpress blog and there is no deadline for sending your abstracts. Even though Jan. 07 may be a wee bit extreme….

Second, we are currently 195 registered participants. This is fantastic! I am looking forward this great company and do not expect to find free time to go skiing during the meeting! Note that there will be hardly any conference material, except for a single sheet with the program and rooms, so make sure to plan your session in advance. I also remind participants that the banquet is a paying option in the registration form. The cost is not included in the basic registration…

Third, make sure of your travel plans to and back from Chamonix. The airport in Geneva is 80 km away and you need to book a shuttle or a bus if your timing does not coincide with the two three shuttles (each way) available via the conference registration page. There are two doodles to monitor arrivals and departures, but hardly any entry so far. Not sure I can add any extra shuttle, but if there are enough of you… Check on the conference website for travel tips. And do not, I repeat do not!, consider booking a taxi at Geneva airport as an option, since they are extremely expensive. Horrendously so. (Both on the French and Swiss sides of the airport.)

MCMSki IV, Jan. 6-8, 2014, Chamonix (news #11)

Posted in Mountains, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2013 by xi'an

Now that the important deadline of October 15 for MCMSki IV is over,

First, thanks to the more that 160 participants who already registred! The audience is now larger than at any of the previous MCMSki meetings! (Obviously, from a statistical perspective, the comparison is somewhat unfair as running three parallel sessions instead of one single track session is bound to attract more participants, like the speakers themselves!) But it means a lot of people interacting with one another, sharing ideas and tricks at the coffee breaks. Fighting for restaurants and ski lifts. Exchanging stories and gossips at the poster session(s). Competing during the Richard Tweedie ski race. Sounds very exciting! And those who have not yet registered still have till mid December to do so (the only potential worry being a shortage of rooms available in town).

Second, 28 students and junior investigators have been awarded the young investigator travel support for some moderate amount of money toward travelling to Geneva and Chamonix. Thanks to ISBA and to SBSS (the Bayesian Statistical Science Section of the ASA) and to the BayesComp Section of ISBA for their financial support.

Third, let me repeat that poster presentations are not subject to a selection process and that anyone attending MCMSki IV should feel like presenting a poster at one of the two poster nights. There is still plenty of space and of opportunities for interactions and sound advices. Just send an abstract to ! See my special wordpress blog for the first deposits of abstracts.

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