Archive for South Korea

my talk in Newcastle

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2020 by xi'an

I will be talking (or rather zooming) at the statistics seminar at the University of Newcastle this afternoon on the paper Component-wise approximate Bayesian computation via Gibbs-like steps that just got accepted by Biometrika (yay!). Sadly not been there for real, as I would have definitely enjoyed reuniting with friends and visiting again this multi-layered city after discovering it for the RSS meeting of 2013, which I attended along with Jim Hobert and where I re-discussed the re-Read DIC paper. Before traveling south to Warwick to start my new appointment there. (I started with a picture of Seoul taken from the slopes of Gwanaksan about a year ago as a reminder of how much had happened or failed to happen over the past year…Writing 2019 as the year was unintentional but reflected as well on the distortion of time induced by the lockdowns!)


counting COVID-19 deaths (or not)

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2020 by xi'an

Two COVID-19 articles in the recent issue of Nature relating to data gathering issues. One on the difficulty to distinguish direct COVID deaths from indirect ones from the excess deaths, which “to many scientists, it’s the most robust way to gauge the impact of the pandemic” (which I supported). As indeed the COVID pandemic reduced people access to health care, both because health structures were overwhelmed and because people were scared of catching the virus when visiting these structures. The article [by Giuliana Viglione] supports the direct exploitation of death certificates, to improve the separation, quoting Natalie Dean from the University of Florida in Gainesville. Although this creates a strong lag in the reporting and hence in health policy decisions. (Assuming the overall death reporting is to be trusted, which is not the case for all countries.)

“This long-standing neglect has been exacerbated by the lack of national leadership during the pandemic.”

The other article is about the reasons why the COVID-19 crisis in the US is doubled by a COVID-19 data crisis. Mentioning “political meddling, privacy concerns and years of neglect of public-health surveillance systems” as some of the sources for unreliable data on the pandemic range and evolution. Hardly any contact tracking (as opposed to South Korea or Vietnam), a wealth of local, state and federal structures, data diverted and hence delayed (or worse) to a new system launched by the US Department for Health and Human Services (HHS) for an ill-used $10 million. And data often shared (or lost) by fax! “Lack of leadership,” to state the obvious….

Bernoulli-IMS One World Symposium 2020 [accessible to everyone from everywhere!]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on June 25, 2020 by xi'an

[Since the Bernoulli-IMS meeting in Seoul had to be postponed till August 2021, the IMS, the Bernoulli society and the founding organisers of the One World webinars got together to hastily patch up a virtual substitute, resulting in this exciting event, a first on many different reality planes, with a surprisingly positive return from contacted speakers and co-organisers. The first Bernoulli-IMS meeting where the sun never sets! Free of fees and travel costs. Hopefully accessible for “everyone from everywhere”, that is, even from countries with restrictions on Internet access like China and Cuba. Or with poor broadband access.]

Join the Bernoulli Society and IMS for the first-ever, Bernoulli-IMS One World Symposium 2020 August 24-28, 2020! The meeting will be virtual with many new experimental features. Participation at the symposium is free, but registration is mandatory to get the passwords for the Zoom sessions.

Live talks by plenary speakers include Emmanuel Candes, Martin Hairer, Kerrie Mengersen, and Wendelin Werner. The symposium will also include live talks by early career speakers, prerecorded 10-minute talks with discussion sessions, posters, experimental interactive events, and problem solving sessions. Topics from probability and  mathematical statistics are arranged in 23 sessions (with 23 Zoom rooms) to which all researchers are warmly invited to contribute and discuss their original research results. Live talks will be set at two different times in order to reach the most time zones.

Accessible to Everyone from Everywhere!

살인의 추억 [Memories of Murder]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2020 by xi'an

After watching Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (which I found too farcical and demonstrative a social satire), I was recommended to take a look at his 2003 Memories of Murder. Which is indeed most impressive in his depiction of a serial murderer of young women in a small industrial town in South Korea in the late 1980’s. Most actors in the film are fantastic, bringing complexity to characters that are not particularly congenial. Besides the detective work, which hits one dead end after another, the rendering of the crooked and brutal police force, hitting at suspect until they confess, of the political setting of a military regime violently repressing demonstrations, of the threat of North Korea leading to evacuation exercises and mandatory blackouts, of the massive impact of the industrialisation. The story is bleak, very bleak, obviously [the poster being a pun!] and the photography contributes to it, always filmed under grey skies or at night, in brown fields or drak woods, with the only touch of colour being the red clothes worn by the victims. But what makes the film so captivating is the helplessness and desperation of the detectives, which gradually acknowledge their incapacity to solve the murders and convince the serial killer. (The actual killer on whose murders the film is based got arrested and convinced, based on DNA data, after the film came out.)

IMS-Bernoulli congress delayed [WC2020]

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2020 by xi'an

Just received the sad news that the 10th World Congress in Probability and Statistics (WC2020), jointly organized by the Bernoulli Society and IMS, in Seoul, 17-21 August 2020, must be delayed till next year. I expect the same to happen for JSM 2020 in Philly.