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People, Ideas Come Together at Risk Analysis Symposium

1 August 2018 No Comment
Alexandra Kapatou

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      The idea to organize a symposium in honor of Bernard Harris, the first chair of the ASA Section on Risk Analysis, arose a couple of years ago when Susan Harris, Bernard’s widow, presented the section with a gift. The gift indicated it was meant to cover expenses of invited speakers from interdisciplinary areas, like Bernard. What is risk analysis, if not an interdisciplinary area, after all? We imagined an intimate, small conference, where a few invited speakers would have plenty of time to present their research and the audience would have enough time to ask questions and give feedback. It took place May 10–11 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

      The speakers, in order of presentation, included the following:

      • Michael Pennell of The Ohio State University and chair of the Risk Analysis Section gave the opening remarks.
      • Stan Sclove of the University of Illinois at Chicago told us about the life and work of Bernard Harris.
      • Edward Melnick from NYU Stern School of Business began the technical part of the symposium by presenting the foundations of risk assessment.
      • Richard Smith, from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and associate director of the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI), presented his research on risk of extreme weather events in a changing climate.
      • R. Dale Hall from the Society of Actuaries presented segmentation and decomposition techniques in actuarial risk analysis using predictive analytics.
      • John Wambaugh of the US Environmental Protection Agency presented informatics tools for chemical safety.

      Symposium Organizing Committee Members
      Michael Pennell, The Ohio State University
      Matthew Wheeler, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
      Susan Simmons, North Carolina State University
      Alexandra Kapatou, American University
      Maria Barouti, American University
      Qian Li, FDA Center for Tobacco Products
      Piaomu Liu, Bentley University
      Mary Louie, New York Life Insurance
      Edsel Peña, University of South Carolina
      Chris Sroka, New Mexico State University
      Wensong Wu, Florida International University

      The talks were followed with poster presentations by graduate students Taeho Kim and Shiwen Shen from the University of South Carolina and Jun Shepard from Duke University. The first day of the symposium closed with a mixer.

      On the second day, Clarice Weinberg from the Biostatistics and Computational Biology Branch of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, answered the question: “Can we develop a way to find the multi-SNP contributors to disease risk?”

      David Banks, from Duke University and director of SAMSI, presented methods of adversarial risk analysis. Ilyan Iliev of the University of Southern Mississippi discussed terrorism and social media. Rita Fuller from New York Life Insurance Company gave a talk for the benefit of students on preparing for a job interview in data science. Finally, Matthew Wheeler, from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and past chair of the Risk Analysis Section, gave closing remarks by presenting inspired ideas that put together different areas of risk analysis.

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