Archive for ISBA

Bayeswashin

Posted in Books, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2021 by xi'an

Just heard via ISBA that the Cass Business School of City University London is changing its name to the Bayes Business School “after it was found (!) that some of Sir John Cass’s wealth was obtained through his links to the slave trade.” One of the school buildings is located on Bunhill Row, which leads to Bunhill Fields cemetery where Thomas Bayes (and Richard Price) were buried. And which stands near the Royal Statistical Society building.

“Bayes’ theorem suggests that we get closer to the truth by constantly updating our beliefs in proportion to the weight of new evidence. It is this idea – not only the person – that is the motivation behind adopting this name.”

While it is a notable recognition of the field that Thomas Bayes was selected by [some members of] the City community, I hope the name will not become a registered trademark! And ponder the relevance of naming schools, buildings, prizes, whatever after individuals who should remain mere mortals rather than carrying the larger-than-life burden of representing ideals and values. And the irony of having a business school named after someone who never worked, being financially wealthy by inheritance (from his Sheffield cutler ancestors).  Or of promoting diversity through a religious zealot leaning towards Arianism.

“In Bayes Business School, we believe we now have a name that reflects who we are and the values we hold. Even though Bayes lived a long time ago, his ideas and his name are very much connected to the future rather than the past.”

two ISBA meetings in 2022

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2021 by xi'an

As in 2019, both the O’Bayes and BNP conferences will occur the same year, if not back-to-back as in 2019 (when they were in neighbouring Oxford and Warwick, respectively). To quote from the current Chair of the OBayes section of ISBA, my friend Gonzalo,

“the next International Workshop on Objective Bayes Methodology (O-Bayes, OBayes, O’Bayes, Ohhh Bayes,..) is scheduled for September 2022 from 7th (Wed) to 10th (Sat) and will be hosted by University of California, Santa Cruz. This will be the 14th meeting of one of the longest-running and preeminent meetings in Bayesian statistics (the 1st was in USA 1996; the last one in 2019 in UK). In this conference, we will be celebrating the 70th birthday of Luis Pericchi an extraordinary person who has been very influential in the successful development of OBayesian ideas.”

thus seeing the O’Bayes meeting taking place in North America in early Fall, followed by BNP 13 in South America a month later (and thus Spring!), quoting from Alessandra Guglielmi:

“Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 13th World Meeting on Bayesian Nonparametrics (BNP Workshop) is postponed until 2022. The meeting is currently scheduled to take place in Puerto Varas, Chile, October 24-28, 2022.”

El lago Llanquihue, con el volcán Osorno al fondo Yuri de Mesquita Bar / Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

news from ISBA

Posted in Kids, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2021 by xi'an

Some news and reminders from the latest ISBA Bulletin (which also contains an obituary of Don Fraser by Christian Genest):

  • Remember that the registration for ISBA 2021 is free till 1 May! The conference is fully online, from 28 June to 2 July
  • the Bayesian young statisticians meeting BAYSM 21 will take place online, 1-3 September
  • the useR! 2021 conference will also take place online, July 5-9
  • the MHC2021 (Mixtures, Hidden Markov models, Clustering) conference will take place physically and online at Orsay, France, 2-4 June

[o-l] ISBA 2021 [百花齊放,百家爭鳴]

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2021 by xi'an

As usual, when looking for our ISBA World conference, ISBA [now] 2021, many alternative realities emerge, ISBA being such a popular acronym! The actual dates for the (true and only) ISBA 2021 conference are 28 June – 02 July and the location is no longer Kunming, China, since there is a pandemic going on!!! The conference is now on-line, which forces a complete rethinking of its organisation, away from a sheer replica on Zoom of the traditional conference. And with no registration fees!! I have agreed to join other ISBA members to contribute (with limited abilities) to this switch and obviously welcome comments towards it! Having greatly learned from the earlier experience with the One World Bernoulli+IMS conference last summer, thanks to the dedication and imagination of Leif Döring!, here are some line of thought:

  • Keep in mind days are 24 hours long and attention span much smaller, towards keeping the offer manageable for a fully engaged participant
  • Account and take advantage of the multiple time zones available to virtual participants to stretch the schedule to cover as many participants as possible, with a potential multiplication of (plenary) talks and posters
  • Avoid filling the on-line schedule with live talks but have them pre-registered, possibly with several levels of length and depth, including a one-slide two-minute version
  • Exploit on-line abilities to focus solely (?) on interactions, which is the main point of conferences, meaning participants joining for a thematic session over a reasonable duration to discuss talks or posters they had attended on their own before, with a catalyst leading the show with prepared questions
  • Preregister poster presentations as well, so that live poster sessions involve only questions and discussions, and group poster by theme (an attempt of mine at the earlier ISBA conferences) so that presenters and visitors can interact at the theme level rather than being stuck in an empty room with one’s poster
  • Create local mirrors when people could physically (safely!) gather to attend the conference, from watching videos and poster together to engage into a local plus virtual discussion during interaction sessions. I certainly plan to hold one such session in Paris [if there and not in Eindhoven on 28 June – 02 July]
  • Find ways to engage participants to fully commit to the conference (see above), for instance by preparing a “I am away at ISBA 2021” card one could post on whatever social or asocial networks one favours (but maybe not as one’s vacation email automated reply, unless the card is a few bytes…)

Hélène Massam (1949-2020)

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2020 by xi'an

I was much saddened to hear yesterday that our friend and fellow Bayesian Hélène Massam passed away on August 22, 2020, following a cerebrovascular accident. She was professor of Statistics at York University, in Toronto, and, as her field of excellence covered [the geometry of] exponential families, Wishart distributions and graphical models, we met many times at both Bayesian and non-Bayesian conferences  (the first time may have been an IMS in Banff, years before BIRS was created). And always had enjoyable conversations on these occasions (in French since she was born in Marseille and only moved to Canada for her graduate studies in optimisation). Beyond her fundamental contributions to exponential families, especially Wishart distributions under different constraints [including the still opened 2007 Letac-Massam conjecture], and graphical models, where she produced conjugate priors for DAGs of all sorts, she served the community in many respects, including in the initial editorial board of Bayesian Analysis. I can also personally testify of her dedication as a referee as she helped with many papers along the years. She was also a wonderful person, with a great sense of humor and a love for hiking and mountains. Her demise is a true loss for the entire community and I can only wish her to keep hiking on new planes and cones in a different dimension. [Last month, Christian Genest (McGill University) and Xin Gao (York University) wrote a moving obituary including a complete biography of Hélène for the Statistical Society of Canada.]