Archive for ISBA

ABC in Edinburgh

Posted in Books, Mountains, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2018 by xi'an

As mentioned earlier on the ‘Og, there will be a satellite workshop ABC in Edinburgh, prior to the main ISBA meeting, taking place on Sunday, 24 June, 2018. The workshop is the last item of a series of “ABC in…” workshops on approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) and likelihood-free inference, which started with ABC in Paris in 2009! In this iteration, contributed talks and contributed posters can be submitted prior to May 1. (And there is a [extra] registration fee of 50 euros. And the deadline for early registration at ISBA 2018 is March 31, at the rather sharp rate of £380 for ISBA members.)The workshop is aimed at specialists and novices interested in statistical inference with complex models where exact computation of the likelihood function is not possible. The meeting will bring together researchers and practitioners in approximate Bayesian computation, likelihood-free inference, and related methods to discuss recent work on theoretical underpinnings, computational advances, and applications.

The invited speakers are

I am looking forward the workshop, having already booked my accommodation in the good City of Edinburgh.

(Disclaimer: I am not part of the scientific committee this round.)


BAYSM’18 [British summer conference series]

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

the definitive summer school poster

Posted in pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2018 by xi'an

#isbatoo in The Guardian [without the B word]

Posted in Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , on December 24, 2017 by xi'an

A week after Kristian Lum posted her testimony of harassment at the Benidorm ISBA conference, The Guardian ran a cover story about this with interviews of both Kristian and Katherine Heller, mentioning further incidents with Steve Scott.

“The allegations against Scott, who declined to comment, has shone a harsh light on harassment in the male-dominated field of statistics, data science and machine learning. Some said misconduct was common – especially at conferences that blend professional work with socializing – and that serial harassers rarely face consequences.”

While the article expands on the existing potential for harassment at conferences (with the above quote reminding me of the call for “More Bayes, less booze” mentioned in an earlier post), its tenor is more about AI and technological companies than statistics conference, even less Bayesian conferences. (Just as a reminder, ISBA is taking the situation very seriously and has established a Task Force for a safe ISBA, which can be contacted at

how to make ISBA conference safe for all?

Posted in University life with tags , , , , , on December 16, 2017 by xi'an

As Kristian Lum’s courageous posting of her harrowing experience at ISBA 2010 and of her resulting decision to leave academia, if not thankfully research (as demonstrated by her recent work on the biases in policing software), is hitting the Bayesian community and beyond as a salutary tsunami, I am seeking concrete actions to change ISBA meetings towards preventing to the largest extent sexual harassment and helping victims formally as well as informally, as Dan Simpson put it on his blog post. Having discussed the matter intensely with colleagues and friends over the past days, and joined a Task Force set immediately on Dec 14 by Kerrie Mengersen in her quality of President of ISBA, there are many avenues in the medium and long terms to approach such goals. But I feel the most urgent action is to introduce contact referents (for lack of a better name outside the military or the religious…) who at each conference could be reached at all times in case of need or of reporting inappropriate conduct of any kind. This may prove difficult to build, not because of a lack of volunteers but because of the difficulty in achieving a representativity of all attendees towards them trusting at least one member well enough to reach and confide. One section of ISBA, j-ISBA, can and definitely does help in this regard, including its involvement in the Task Force, but we need to reach further. As put by Kerrie in her statement, your input is valued.


A big problem in our community

Posted in Statistics with tags , , on December 15, 2017 by xi'an

Like Pierre, after reading Kristian’s courageous wake-up call, I was thinking of waiting a few days before blogging on the fundamental problem this harrowing story of hers exposes, while moving to actively make ISBA safe, along with Kerrie Mengersen and other members, especially j-ISBA. So in the meanwhile, here is Pierre’s blog entry that I completely endorse, with an additional feeling of failed responsibility as a senior man and president of ISBA:


5edacba28521a18b3b6ad0d53a7622b7 “Tout va très bien”, meaning “all is well”, by Franquin.

Hi all,

Kristian Lum, who was already one of my Statistics superheroes for hermanyinterestingpapers and great talks, bravely wrote the following text about her experience as a young statistician going to conferences:

I can’t thank Kristian enough for speaking out. Her experience is both shocking and hardly surprising. Many, many academics report similar stories. This simply can’t go on like that.

I happen to have gone to the conferences mentioned by Kristian, and my experience as a young man was completely different. It was all about meeting interesting people, discussing ideas, being challenged, and having good times. Nobody harassed, touched or assaulted me. There was some flirting, as I guess is natural when hundreds of people are put in sunny places far away from home, but I was never the victim of any misconduct or…

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off to Austin!

Posted in Books, Kids, Statistics, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2017 by xi'an

Today I am flying to Austin, Texas, on the occasion of the O’Bayes 2017 conference, the 12th meeting in the series. In complete objectivity (I am a member of the scientific committee!), the scientific program looks quite exciting, with new themes and new faces. (And Peter Müller concocted a special social program as well!) As indicated above [with an innovative spelling of my first name!] I will give my “traditional” tutorial on O’Bayes testing and model choice tomorrow, flying back to Paris on Wednesday (and alas missing the final talks, including Better together by Pierre!). A nice pun is that the conference centre is located on Robert De[a]dman Drive, which I hope is not premonitory of a fatal ending to my talk there..!