Archive for Helsinki

ABC in Helsinki, Stockholm, and in between [a.k.a., ABCruise]

Posted in Books, Kids, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2015 by xi'an

As mentioned in a previous post, I had not pursued actively the organisation of an “ABC in…” workshop this year. I am thus very grateful to Jukka Corander, Samuel Kaski, Ritabrata Dutta, Michael Gutmann, from Helsinki, to have organised the next “ABC in…” workshop in Helsinki in the most possible exotic way, namely aboard a cruise ship going between Helsinki and Stockholm, on the Baltic Sea. Hence the appropriate ABCruise nickname. It will take place from May 16 to May 18, allowing for flying [from European cities] to Helsinki on the 16th and back from Helsinki on the 18th! While this may sound an inappropriate location for a meeting, we are constructing a complete scientific program with two days of talks [with a noon break in Stockholm], posters, and a total registration fee of 200€, including cabin and meals! (Which is clearly cheaper than having the same meeting on firm ground.) So, to all ‘Og’s readers interested in ABC topics, secure those dates in your agenda and keep posted for incoming updates on the program and the opening of registration.

available dark [book review]

Posted in Books, Mountains, Travel with tags , , , , , , on September 13, 2014 by xi'an

“Paved roads had long ago surrended to gravel tracks that disappeared into a desert of snow covered lava. Black spires like a forest of charred trees blotted out the stars near the horizon.”

This is the last book I read from my Amazon package: Available Dark by Elizabeth Hand. I cannot remember how I came to order it… Maybe a confusion with another fantasy author like Elizabeth Moon? Or simply because the story was taking place between MaineFinland and Iceland?! Anyway, I read the book within two days during a short hiking trip to the volcano region of Central France. The plot has indeed a mesmerizing quality that made me keep reading further and further at ungodly hours. (With the help of an US jetlag.) It is original and intense enough to overcome the major difficulty that the central character, Cas, is far from sympathetic, from specialising in corpse photography to being almost constantly on drugs. But the construction of the plot and the introduction of the characters, always seen from Cas’ viewpoint, are well-done, even though the ending is both precipitated and unrealistic. Too many coincidences. The original setup of this novel is the Finnish black metal scene, with its undercurrents of satanism, ritual murders, and church burnings. Rather accurate judging from the wikipedia page on the topic! What I appreciated most was the description of the first impression of Iceland on Cas, when she landed from Helsinki. “The trip to Reykjavik [from the airport] was like a bus tour through Mordor. Black lava fields, an endless waste broken here and there by ruined machinery or a building of stained corrugated metal.” So I may consider reading another novel in the series in a near future…

ABC in Roma

Posted in pictures, Running, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , on May 31, 2013 by xi'an

a RomaBack in Roma after my ABC week last year, for the ABC in Rome workshop! The attendance is quite in par with the sizes of the previous audiences and the program is close to my own interests—unsurprisingly since I took part to the scientific committee! Hence talks on papers that have already been discussed on the ‘Og for most of them:

(It almost sounds as if I had written the program by myself, but this is not the case, promised!) So from my own personal and egoistic perspective, the poster session was more surprising, with 18 posters ranging from theoretical extensions to applications. I actually wished it had lasted a wee bit longer as I did not have time to listen to all presenters before they vanished to the dinning room upstairs, but I appreciated very much the few exchanges I had. A fully enjoyable meeting then!!! I am definitely looking forward the next edition of ABC in [pick your capital], ABC in Sydney (2014) and ABC in Helsinki (2015) being already in the planning…

Here are my slides, just slightly updated from the previous version:

Vielä Helsingissä!

Posted in Travel, University life with tags , , , on September 25, 2009 by xi'an

Helsinki1The meeting of the panel at the Academy of Finland is quite interesting with panelists from such a very wide range of disciplines, covering most aspects of computational sciences. In particular, the approach to reviewing grant proposals appears to be highly dependent on the discipline in the sense that the arguments are more or less theoretical depending on the referee’s discipline. At the mathematical end of the gamut, I have stronger inclinations to be severe with proposals that are missing a minimal probabilistic background to validate simulation experiments, while bioinformaticians will most likely bite at projects with poorly motivated protein structures… This makes for interesting debates, when compared with an NSF statisticians-only panel. Overall, I am quite impressed by the extremely high quality of most proposals, some of which are  clearly internationally leading-edge projects. A point of further interest I discovered this morning when entering its building is that the Academy of Finland is distinct from the Finnish Academy of Science: the former is in fact the funding body for public research in Finland while the later is working on the same principles as the National Academy of Science or The Royal Society… (Two Academy members with strong connections with Bayesian Statistics and MCMC are Elja Arjas and Esa Nummelin.)

Lyhyt matka Helsinkiin

Posted in Travel, University life with tags , , on September 23, 2009 by xi'an

This is the (possibly mistaken) Google translation for “A short trip to Helsinki” into Finnish! Indeed, being involved into an evaluation panel for the Finnish Academy of Sciences, I will be away to Helsinki, Finland, for the two next days. Although this activity is time-consuming, I always find this kind of experience rewarding as the evaluation of grant applications brings forward current (and future) directions of research in our field. In the current case, although I cannot unveil too much, the panel is broader than in the NSF Statistics and Probability grant panel I was involved with, say, but this is also interesting since colleagues from other fields will necessarily have different perspectives on which directions are more relevant. Contrary to a “popular” belief, I have never had the feeling that some panel members in those situations were clearly biased towards a subfield or a group of researchers, but on the opposite that discussions were quite open and objective. (Of course this may reflect my naïvety rather than truth!)

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