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Symposium on Data Science and Statistics: A Remarkable Success

1 August 2018 No Comment

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    Yasmin H. Said, 2018 SDSS Program Chair

      More than 500 people attended the sold-out 2018 Symposium on Data Science and Statistics in Reston, Virginia, May 16–19.

      The program for this first ASA symposium featured a strong program offering short courses, concurrent sessions, and electronic poster sessions. There also was an exhibit hall and many opportunities for networking. Emery N. Brown gave the keynote address “Uncovering the Mechanisms of General Anesthesia: Where Neuroscience Meets Statistics,” while David Scott, Adalbert Wilhelm, and Jerome Friedman each gave a plenary talk.

      Keynote and Plenary Speakers
      Emery N. Brown is a renowned scholar and member of the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. He is an anesthesiologist-statistician whose experimental research has made important contributions to understanding how anesthetics act in the brain. In his statistics research, he has developed signal processing algorithms to study dynamic processes in neuroscience.

      David Scott is the Noah Harding Professor of Statistics at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He was a founding member of the department of statistics in 1987 and its chair. Scott’s talk focused on Edward Wegman’s influence on the profession and his work in computational statistics and density estimation.

      Adalbert Wilhelm holds a professorship in statistics and is the vice dean of the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany. His talk focused on statistical graphics in data science. He bridged the different visualization aspects from computer science, statistics, and application domains and discussed recent trends.

      Jerome Friedman is a renowned scholar and member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is a professor of statistics at Stanford University and one of the world’s leading researchers in statistics and data mining. Friedman’s talk was titled, “Omnibus Regression: Predicting Probability Distributions with Imperfect Data.”

      Within the invited program were sessions on data science, data visualization, machine learning, computational statistics, computing science, and applications—some standing room only. The short courses, which took place May 16, also were full.

      One of the most popular invited sessions was “Interactive Statistical Graphics: Where Are We Now?” It featured talks by Wayne Oldford (“Exploratory Visualization via Extendible Interactive Graphics”), Catherine Hurley (“Model Exploration via Conditional Visualization”), and Heike Hofmann (“Interactive Web-Graphics Using R”).

      Some other talks garnering packed rooms included the following:

      Daniele Struppa: “Social Networks and Simplicial Complexes”

      Menas C. Kafatos: “Laws of the Universe, Information, and Mind in the Quantum Universe”

      Kirk Borne: “Exploring and Exploiting Interestingness in Data Science”

      Leland Wilkinson: “Automatic Visualization”

      David Banks: “Cherry-Picking Techniques for Complex Data Sets”

      Edward George: “Bayesian Penalty Mixing with the Spike and Slab Lasso”

      To read about all the sessions and talks, visit the online program.

      The banquet talk, “I Never Met a Datum I Didn’t Like,” was given by Barry D. Nussbaum, the 112th president of the American Statistical Association and chief statistician for the US Environmental Protection Agency. At the banquet, the Interface Foundation of North America and ASA awarded a lifetime achievement award to Edward J. Wegman for his seminal contributions to computational statistics, data visualization, and data science. In 1987, he incorporated the Interface Foundation and has been the treasurer for 31 years.

      This symposium is a continuation of the Interface Symposium on Computing Science and Statistics. The first Interface Symposium was held in Reston, Virginia, in 1988.

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