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Speakers Program Offered

1 December 2009 819 views No Comment
Alyson Wilson, SDNS Speaker Committee Chair

Have you ever wondered what kind of statistical research helps keep the nation safe from biological attacks or helps officials understand terrorist networks? Are you interested in learning what a defense statistician’s job is like and what kind of problems they face? The ASA Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security (SDNS) has a speakers program that allows experienced researchers to answer these and other questions. Statisticians working in defense and security are available to speak at your college or university and describe their work while sharing their enthusiasm for this field.

The SDNS speakers program aims to foster communication between statisticians and familiarize students with the role of statisticians in defense and national security. Speakers discuss topics such as biosurveillance, cyber defense, military force structure, distributed sensor networks, reliability, and experimental design.

Distinguished Achievement Award
Each year, the Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security presents the Distinguished Achievement Award to a member of the statistical community. The next presentation of the award will be at the 2010 Joint Statistical Meetings in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The purpose of the award is to recognize an outstanding accomplishment or a record of sustained contributions at the intersection of the statistical profession and national defense or national security.

    A nomination should include a short description of the basis for the award, contact information for both the nominator and nominee, and suggested text for the certificate. A maximum of five seconding letters submitted in PDF format are welcome. This recognition does not include a financial award. Please be aware that unsuccessful nominations from previous years are not, and will not be, carried forward to the next year; therefore, new nomination packages should be prepared for previous nominees. For more information or to send an electronic nomination, email Myron Katzoff at mjk5@cdc.gov. The deadline for nominations is March 15.

      Students and faculty acquire access to experts in a field to which they might otherwise have little exposure, and academic statisticians gain insight into current statistical issues in defense and security. Throughout their interaction, students and faculty are introduced to a new point of contact that can lead to internships, employment, and other career opportunities.

      The initial funding for the speakers program was provided through a 2008 ASA member initiative that sponsored three talks. Shane Reese of Brigham Young University spoke at Iowa State University (ISU), proposing a flexible class of models and an adaptive design approach to better assess chemical and biological threat detection systems. Reese also guest lectured during ISU’s graduate Bayesian analysis course, discussing some of his research on Bayesian inference in hierarchical models.

      Alyson Wilson of ISU spoke at Texas A&M University (TAMU) about the use of Bayesian networks in system reliability assessment and the development of reliability assurance test plans. Her lecture was recorded as part of TAMU’s online learning seminar series.

      David Marchette of the Naval Surface Warfare Center and The Johns Hopkins University spoke at Nova Southeastern University about a number of statistical methodologies for computer intrusion detection and proposed a framework that incorporated everything from the analysis of raw packet flows to the analysis of user behavior. His talk was included as part of Nova Southeastern’s math awareness month.

      If you are interested in having an SDNS speaker visit your university, visit the section’s web site. Choose a speaker and contact the SDNS speaker committee chair, Alyson Wilson, at agw@iastate.edu with a proposal. If your proposal is selected, SDNS will supply up to $500 for expenses related to the visit.

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