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About 60 academic researchers and PhD students from 13 different countries attended. The major focus of the symposium was to provide a forum for the interchange of information on inferences for stochastic processes. Both new and established researchers presented papers and had opportunities for additional interactions. An important component of the program was devoted to inference problems in stochastic geometry. Other related topics included foundational issues, models and applications for dependent data, biostatistics, spatial statistics, medical imaging, wavelets, inference for stochastic differential equations, time series, queueing models and inference, econometrics and finance applications. Owing to the many excellent presentations and the smooth organization, the meeting became a success. Two highlights were the talk on `Shifting paradigms in inference' and the symposium after dinner speech delivered by C.C. Heyde.
Additional information on the scientific program is available from the symposium website: http://www.stat.uga.edu/faculty/symp2000.html, and publication of selected and refereed proceedings articles is planned.
The major environmental theme areas discussed in the Workshop were: Environmental databases, Environmental Modelling, Environment and Sustainability, Ecology, Society and Environment and Pollution in six technical sessions. The stress was on statistical models, methods and innovative computational and inferential tools for design, collection, analysis and monitoring of environmental data. The technical talks explored economic issues, assessment of existing databases, construction of models for future scenarios and examination of statistical aspects of environmental monitoring.
Sixteen scientists from different institutions representing various countries (USA, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Bangladesh and India) with vast experience in collection and handling of environmental data delivered invited talks in the Workshop. Each session had a Plenary Lecture. To promote the impact of the Workshop, about 10 young scientists from different Indian and overseas institutions, with proven motivation to work on different aspects of environmental situation in India, were invited to participate in the Workshop. Further, there were other participants from the supporting and other organisations as well as from our own.
`Environmental Situation in India' was organised in which six eminent scientists from ISI and other organisations took part. The panel came up with certain policy recommendations.
Panel Discussion on Environmental Situation. From right to left: Prof. J.K.Ghosh, Prof. D.K.Bose, Prof. K.C.Malhotra, Dr. A.K.Ghosh, Dr. B.R.Naidu and Dr. B.C.Chowdhury
The Workshop was preceded by two Popular Lectures for school-going children on 8 January 2000, organised in collaboration with Ashoke Hall Group of Schools. The popular lectures were delivered by Professor J.K.Ghosh, a renowned statistician and Dr. A.K.Ghosh, a reputed environmental scientist. Both the lectures sufficiently enthused the students.
The Workshop was supported by the Indian Statistical Institute, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, GOI, Ministry of Environment and Forests, GOI, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, West Bengal Pollution Control Board and Indian National Science Academy.
The Proceedings of the Workshop will be published and the relevant policy recommendations have been sent to the concerned ministry.
An open conference organized by the European Union TMR Network on `Statistical and Computational Methods for the Analysis of Spatial Data' was held at Charlotte Mason College, Ambleside, in the Lake District, U.K., between 17 and 21 September 2000. The meeting consisted of a series of invited talks on key aspects of the activities of the network, contributed talks and an extensive poster session. Invited speakers were: Julian Besag, Laird Breyer, Richard Davis, Merrilee Hurn, Hein Putter, Martin Schlather, Neil Shephard, David Spiegelhalter, Dietrich Stoyan, Richard Tweedie, Rasmus Waagepetersen and Jonathan Wakefied, a number of who have held postdoctoral positions in the network during its existence. Prizes for the best posters were won by Paulo Ribeiro and Leo Knorr-Held. The excellent invited and contributed talks were enjoyed by some 140 delegates, many from within the network, but many also making their first contact with this highly successful European-wide program.
The conference program was designed to reflect on achievements in
the broad themes of the network:
- spatial point processes and stochastic geometry,
- non-linear geostatistical models and methods,
- latent variable models.
- extreme value theory and methods.
The meeting included also many talks on applications and themes not explicitly highlighted in the original network program, such as disease mapping and perfect simulation.
Despite less than perfect weather, delegates were able to enjoy a series of organised walks and excursions in beautiful surroundings. The final evening of the meeting consisted of an excellent conference dinner and ceilidh.
Approximately 300 years ago, Jakob Bernoulli realised that randomness and uncertainty are maybe the most important aspects of our world and should be an object of scientific analysis. He was writing in Basel his famous master piece Ars Conjectandi, when the German Count Philipp Gaston Wolf von Wolfsthal decided to have one of his old castles in the small village of Zeilitzheim in Lower Franconia to be replaced by a more representative one. Under the advice of the well-known Court Architect Antonio Petrini from Würzburg, the new baroque castle was build within only four years, which proves that building a castle is less difficult than building a new science (Jakob Bernoulli could not complete his theory even after 25 years of work, till his death in 1705). The same year, when finally Jakob's masterpiece Ars Conjectandi was published in 1713, the only son of Count Wolf von Wolfsthal died all of a sudden in Vienna. Later nobody was really interested in the castle and finally the building was in a dilapidated condition. Presently, Schloß Zeilitzheim is owned by the Family von Halem. The family spent the last 20 years restoring the castle, an idealistic and highly satisfying undertaking based on the love for the old building and its heritage.
The symposium was organised in a similar spirit. Respect for science and for the heritage of Jakob Bernoulli were motives to start this undertaking. The realisation that a well operating science is beneficiary, but a malfunctioning science constitutes a danger for science and society were another strong motive for this attempt to start the "stochastic restoration", as Monica Dumitrescu calls it. The three days of the symposium had different topics and mottos. There were three lectures each day and plenty of time to reflect and to discuss the lectures in order to come to new insight and make decisions.
The first day had the topic `Development and Present State of Stochastics' and the motto `Having Competence!' with the papers: Samuel Kotz (Washington): Personal Reflections on the History and State of Statistical Science. Ulrich Herkenrath (Duisburg): Stochastics: The Science of Modelling, Measuring and Mastering Randomness and Uncertainty. Vladimir Kalashnikov, (Moscow): Quantification in Stochastics and the Stability Concept. The second day had the topic `Applications of Stochastics' and the motto `Claiming Competence!' with the papers: Jürg Kohlas (Fribourg): Reliability of Arguments. Cristian Calude (Auckland): Who is Afraid of Randomness? Takeyuki Hida (Nagoya): White Noise Theory and Physics. The third day topic was `Stochastics as an Independent Science' and its motto `Proving Competence!' with the papers: Monica Dumitrescu (Bucharest): The Curriculum Issue: Where, When and How Can We Teach Stochastics? Elart von Collani (Würzburg): Theoretical Stochastics. Elart von Collani (Würzburg): Empirical Stochastics.
The Symposium aimed at defining the Science Stochastics and describing its present state, at identifying its role towards other branches of science and towards society, and at outlining necessary requirements for a professional education and an effective performance. During the first day the different approaches, controversies and breakthrough in statistics were looked at from the viewpoint of a unified science stochastics. The role of mathematics as scientific language, but also as "golden cage" for stochastics was outlined, and the irresponsible use of asymptotics without analytical validation was illustrated by examples and methods were presented to avoid these shortcomings. The second day illustrated the universal benefits of stochastics in mastering old and future problems in any branch of science and society. The examples used referred to modern information technology, to mathematics and quantum physics. It became clear that exploiting the great potential of stochastics assumes fundamental changes in the fields of application and in stochastics itself. The third day was devoted to the necessary changes in stochastics. The future organisation and development of stochastics in education, research and application were treated in detail. The present shortcomings were listed and the ways to overcome them outlined. The above stated aims of the symposium have been as much reached as one could expect during a three-days symposium. The results, put into a final form, will be presented to the public in the nearest future for discussion and further actions. Anybody dealing with or being interested in stochastics is called to co-operate for a stochastic restoration.
Elart von Collani
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