Archive for NGO

MSF 50 years of humanity

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , on December 25, 2021 by xi'an

more border policing won’t save lives

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , on November 26, 2021 by xi'an

It is just shocking that the widespread reaction to an increasing number of migrants’ deaths (whether at sea or in the Belarus wetlands) is a call for more policing… And for criminalising NGOs that bring basic help to those stranded in liquid or terrestrial no man’s lands. The EU should act to give migrants and asylum seekers just-as-basic rights, rather than delegating its border control to non EU countries with abyssal human right records and accepting that its member states breach asylum laws and deny the victims their humanity.

Siem Reap conference

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2019 by xi'an

As I returned from the conference in Siem Reap. on a flight avoiding India and Pakistan and their [brittle and bristling!] boundary on the way back, instead flying far far north, near Arkhangelsk (but with nothing to show for it, as the flight back was fully in the dark), I reflected how enjoyable this conference had been, within a highly friendly atmosphere, meeting again with many old friends (some met prior to the creation of CREST) and new ones, a pleasure not hindered by the fabulous location near Angkor of course. (The above picture is the “last hour” group picture, missing a major part of the participants, already gone!)

Among the many talks, Stéphane Shao gave a great presentation on a paper [to appear in JASA] jointly written with Pierre Jacob, Jie Ding, and Vahid Tarokh on the Hyvärinen score and its use for Bayesian model choice, with a highly intuitive representation of this divergence function (which I first met in Padua when Phil Dawid gave a talk on this approach to Bayesian model comparison). Which is based on the use of a divergence function based on the squared error difference between the gradients of the true log-score and of the model log-score functions. Providing an alternative to the Bayes factor that can be shown to be consistent, even for some non-iid data, with some gains in the experiments represented by the above graph.

Arnak Dalalyan (CREST) presented a paper written with Lionel Riou-Durand on the convergence of non-Metropolised Langevin Monte Carlo methods, with a new discretization which leads to a substantial improvement of the upper bound on the sampling error rate measured in Wasserstein distance. Moving from p/ε to √p/√ε in the requested number of steps when p is the dimension and ε the target precision, for smooth and strongly log-concave targets.

This post gives me the opportunity to advertise for the NGO Sala Baï hostelry school, which the whole conference visited for lunch and which trains youths from underprivileged backgrounds towards jobs in hostelery, supported by donations, companies (like Krama Krama), or visiting the Sala Baï  restaurant and/or hotel while in Siem Reap.


pictures at an exhibition

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on November 25, 2017 by xi'an

Last weekend we went to a local cultural centre to check on the exhibit of pictures from Madagascar our daughter and her friends had set to a month, following their humanitarian trip there last summer that was supported in part by the town council. While we had already seem these pictures, it was nice to see them in perspective. Hopefully inducing more volunteers to spend time in this particularly poor country, facing a silent humanitarian crisis. Including numerous cases of pneumonic plague… Donations can be made to MadaClinics, the NGO supporting medical rural centres. (USAid also has a program specifically aimed at Madagascar.)

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