Archive for sponsors

why I cannot stand committees’ email debates…

Posted in Statistics, University life with tags , , , , on July 19, 2013 by xi'an

I generally dislike committee work for the amount of useless [or low signal-to-noise] email it induces. In a conference committee I am was part of, a debate started on whether or not we should accept sponsorship from a corporate sponsor and nominate a speaker for the associated lecture (named after a prestigious scientist, not after the sponsor). Some members of the committee went viral about this and inundated us with requests for action and for taking position, to such a level that I eventually reacted with the following email to the initiator of the virus:

Dear Zeno of Elea,

While I stayed away from a debate I was not in the least interested in, the latest emails were so aggressive and borderline insulting that I felt compelled to rise to the bait and to add to an already high level of static noise. When I was asked to join this committee, it was to nominate plenary speakers for a conference, not to debate about the sorry state of the World, nor to hear about your quibble on whether or not accepting sponsor money from one corporate source or another is evil.

On a general basis, I am not interested in being forced into debates in this low-content high-noise format and I cannot stand the invasion of my mailbox by a flow of emails that has turned viral. I hope this point contributes to enlighten you as to why some members of the committee did not reply to earlier emails or to the call for a doodle vote. I am simply not interested. And I do not think any of this gesticulation will have any impact on the sorry state of the World. So please leave me out of this debate.

My incensed reaction is not about the sponsorship issue (which I think is terribly trivial) but (a) about the holier-than-thou attitude that considers that everyone should take a stand, chose one side (with an obvious choice), and be ashamed of one’s lack of involvment, and (b) about using collective emails to enforce this strategy. I am a strong believer in Arrow’s theorem and email debates are adding another magnitude of impossibility to committee decisions.

MCMSki IV, Jan. 6-8, 2014, Chamonix (news #4)

Posted in Mountains, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2013 by xi'an

More news about MCMSki IV! Remember, the call is still open for contributed sessions for a few more weeks, till March. 20 to be precise (make sure to contact me at if you are considering putting one session together). To all those who already submitted a session, thanks a lot, please stay tuned, and we will contact you very soon after March 20!

One exciting item is that there will be a satellite workshop on January 9, on Bayesian non-parametrics and semi-parametrics, organised by Judith Rousseau. BNPski, anyone?!  Details are not yet available, but anyone registered for MCMSki IV and interested should be free to attend this workshop, free of charges. (It will take place at the conference centre as well.)

Another item is that we managed to get a cheaper offer for the ski race, reaching an entry prize of 10 euros. Or less if we manage to find this sponsor… Not that bad when considering the high probability competitors have to win a pair of skis!!!

Last item for today: the list and rate of hotels available thru the conference centre is as follows

  • ALPINA*** : Single Room 136€ & Twin or Double Room 106€ /pers
  • PRIEURE*** : Single Room 136€ & Twin or Double Room 106€ /pers
  • LOUVRE** : Single Room 85 € & Twin or Double Room 64€ /pers
  • POINTE ISABELLE** : Single Room 81,90€ & Twin or Double Room 59,90€ /perss

However, many other options are available in the vicinity, from hotels to B&B, to rental apartments and chalets, with a wide range of prices if you pre-book early (like now!) See the links on our webpage.

MCMSki IV, Jan. 6-8 (9?), 2014, Chamonix (news #3)

Posted in Mountains, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2013 by xi'an

In case you have not been constantly tracking the changes on the MCMSki IV webpage, here are some news: the number of invited and accepted contributed sessions in the program had considerably increased, to the point of almost filling two parallel sessions for the whole duration of the meeting. This includes an exciting round-table on MCMC software animated by Luke Bornn. We are actually discussing how to handle the incoming proposals, from adding one more track/room to the program to adding an extra morning (the morning after!) to the meeting—with the argument that participants will anyway leave on the 9th of January at the earliest—to sadly rejecting some of the proposed contributed sessions…. Nonetheless, the call is still open for contributed sessions for a few more weeks, till March. 20 to be precise (make sure to contact me at if you are considering putting one session together).

The registration page is not yet complete (we are still discussing the rates for the Richard Tweedie ski race, and managed to get them down to 10€ per person so far so we may not have to cancel this race, especially given the exciting (almost certain!) promise of a pair of brand new skis for the winners!, and more we can find benevolent sponsors…). Once again the conference fees will range from 100€ for PhD students to 210€ for participants not members of ISBA or of IMS. The additional fees for the banquet have also been lowered to 30 euros.

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