The 30th Conference on Stochastic Processes and their Applications took place at the University of California at Santa Barbara, June 26-July 1, 2005. This annual international meeting was held under the auspices of the Bernoulli Society and was co-sponsored by the IMS. This was the first SPA meeting featuring two IMS Medallion Speakers, a win-win innovation both for the SPA meetings and for Medallion Lecturers doing their research in probability.
The meeting gathered together about 150 participants from 27 countries, including over 40 graduate students and many young participants. A total of 97 talks were delivered at the meeting, including a Lévy Lecture delivered by Jean Bertoin (Paris VI), two IMS Medallion Lectures presented by Jean-François Le Gall (Paris VI) and Alain-Sol Sznitman (ETH Zürich), 12 SPA invited lectures delivered by distinguished probabilists, and over 80 contributed talks. The papers presented were an interesting mix of theoretical and applied topics, with almost half of the contributing talks in the areas of stochastic analysis, stochastic control, and financial applications. Other major areas discussed included random matrices, stochastic modelling in physics and biology, limit theorems, stochastic networks, extremes and path properties of stochastic processes, time series, long-range dependence and heavy-tails, information theory, filtering and estimation.
Workshop Speakers: Rudiyanto Gunawan, Johan Paulsson, Michael Samoilov, Linda
Petzold, John Fricks, Samuel Kou.
Abstracts of the lectures as well as a photo gallery from the meeting and other details are available at the conference web site at http://www.pstat.ucsb.edu/projects/spa05/.
A satellite workshop on "Stochastic Models in Molecular and System Biology"
took place on Sunday, June 26, organized by Guillaume Bonnet (UC Santa Barbara).
(Please see a separate report on this event below).
Participants enjoyed strolling in downtown Santa Barbara on Monday evening and relaxed during the conference banquet held at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum on Thursday. Wednesday afternoon was devoted to informal interactions and excursions, of which hiking in the Santa Ynez Range and a Santa Ynez Winery tour were the most popular.
The conference is indebted to our financial sponsors: The US National Science Foundation, The USA Army Research Office, IMS, Elsevier Publishing Company, College of Letters and Science (UCSB), Division of Mathematical, Life and Physical Sciences (UCSB), and three UCSB Departments: Economics, Mathematics, and Statistics and Applied Probability. We are also indebted to Sally Vito and her staff of the UCSB Conference Center for doing an outstanding job with the local arrangements.
A satellite one-day workshop on Stochastic Models in Molecular and System
Biology took place on Sunday, June 26, organized by Guillaume Bonnet (UC Santa
The event, featuring six invited talks was a great success gathering more than 55 participants. Although a large majority of the attendees came to Santa Barbara for the SPA meeting, a good fraction of workshop participants arrived specifically for the workshop, and included computer scientists, chemical engineers, and biophysicists, atypical attendees of a stochastic processes meeting.
The speakers and the participants were a mixture of engineers, applied probabilists, and biophysicists. A very important area of research today, and central to systems biology, is the understanding of regulatory networks in individual cells. An opening talk by Linda Petzold (UC Santa Barbara) gave an excellent overview of the state of the art in multiscale numerical simulation methods for models of biochemical reactions. Johan Paulsson (Cambridge) and Rudy Guanawan (UC Santa Barbara) talked about mathematical and engineering methods for the analysis of such models while Michael Samoilov (HHMI/UC Berkeley/LBNL) covered methodological aspects. Applied probabilists, John Fricks (UNC and Penn State) and Samuel Kou (Harvard), presented respectively, an analysis of a model for molecular motion and statistical methods for single molecule experiments.
The principal goal of the workshop was to initiate interest in the
probability community on these challenging biological problems, and build
interdisciplinary interactions. The many informal discussions that took place at
lunch time and during refreshments breaks on the sunny terrace of the Marine
Science Building at UCSB, suggest that there is reason for optimism about the
future of these
Guillaume Bonnet (UCSB)
The 25th European Meeting of Statisticians took place at Blindern, Oslo, from
the 24th to the 28th of July 2005. The conference was organised by The Norwegian
Computing Center (NR) and the University of Oslo (UiO). With 650 participants,
this has been the largest conference for statisticians in Norway and supposedly
the largest EMS ever. At least 30 people from UiO and NR were involved in
planning and carrying out the conference.
Organising such a conference is a huge task, and the work started long before July 2005.
I was first involved in the making of the logo. Here is the story of the logo development process.
Choice of logo and general planning. The logo was designed in 2003. Inspired by our proud (?) Viking traditions, Bård Storvik and myself made the following sketches:
At the top left, we see the Viking boat we designed initially. Notice the sigma squared, representing variance. As EMS boss Arnoldo Frigessi put it during the conference: ”No variance, no job!” After the gentle touch of a designer, this was one of the proposals:
We were quite happy with this, but a certain Norwegian-Italian was not. The rune ship became our salvation, and the final solution was (quite nice in retrospect):
In addition to logo construction, the organisers had to plan housing, web pages, find sponsors, and what were the participants going to eat? The technical stuff had to work, we had to advertise for the conference, etc. etc. A press release (in Norwegian) just before the conference caught the interest of the Norwegian Research Council’s web page, two radio stations interviewed Arnoldo (with varying success , to be honest) and the (Christian) newspaper Vårt Land printed a very short article from the Norwegian state news agency NTB!
Finally, the first (Sun)day of the conference came, with some small problems (of course). Some of the speakers turned up rather late with their USB pen presentations, some had rotated their entire presentation 180 degrees, displaying one page from a particular pdf file on the screen took three minutes (even though “this worked just fine back home”), the wireless microphones behaved for some reason best when the speaker’s neck was positioned in an uncomfortable angle, the laser beamers turned themselves off after ten minutes of inactivity to save power, the largest auditorium seemed to have a limited amount of air, barely enough for the large audience, etc.
Despite all this, such things do happen, and we imagine that we handled the problems quite well. To force everyone to deliver their presentation long before their talk and to forbid the use of personal pc-s were particularly clever moves. Besides, the lunch was very tasteful (thanks to Havana Hotel Catering) and the weather was surprisingly fine (thanks to?). In fact, the lunch was so tasteful that a participant of a summer school (not at all related to the EMS) took one's fill. He even tried to enter the conference dinner (at Holmenkollen Park Hotell), but was bluntly rejected by the previously mentioned Norwegian-Italian.
Excursions filled half of Tuesday. There were many options; a trip to see all Oslo could offer (in a couple of hours), a trip on the sea, a walking trip in nordmarka (the apparently exotic forest surrounding Oslo) and a walking trip in downtown Oslo. In the evening, all 650 were invited to the City Hall (Oslo Rådhus), where the vice mayor of Oslo, Svenn Kristiansen (representing the populistic Progress party) was our host. Mr. Kristiansen held a memorable speech in a language resembling a mixture of Norwegian and English. He pronounced some English words right. We wonder if any of the foreigners understood anything. On the other hand, they drank a lot of champagne and ate (even more?) finger food. It is perhaps more correct to say that they ate very fast, until there was no food left. The City Hall offered not only food and drink, but also a guided tour in the very nice building, with the Munch Room and the hall of the City Council, and the guides were fortunately much better prepared than the vice mayor.
Thursday afternoon was the end of the conference. We have the impression that the participants were quite pleased with the program and the exotic town of Oslo. The organising committee was invited to Arnoldo’s (and Ingrid’s!) grand apartment, where we all agreed that we will never again organise such a large conference. But it has been fun indeed!
The Scientific Committee of the 25th EMS in Oslo, 2005
Anders Løland ( Anders.Loland@nr.no )
This year, the first "Young Statisticians Training Camp", StatCamp, took
place from July 18th, lasting for 5 days. StatCamp was part of a series of
summer schools in pure and applied mathematics, funded by the EU – Marie Curie
Actions and coordinated by the European Mathematical Society. Was this the start
of a tradition?
85 participants, from 29 different countries and 26 nationalities, plus 16 speakers, formed the group of Statcampers. All participants received some level of funding, from full-funding, covering travel, accommodation and expenses, to a stipend.
On Monday there was a reception and two kick-off talks on general/philosophical issues on science and Statistics. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday were long and intense days. Activities run from 9 am to after 9 pm. The talks ranged over the topics of approximating data, coupling, diffusions, foundations of Statistics, hierarchical Bayesian modeling, Markov chains, MCMC, microarray data, particle filtering, semiparametric models, spatial dependence, and survival and event history analysis.
A scientist should not only be involved in learning and creation but also in communication. Participants presented their research interests either in a mini-talk or a poster. The talks lasted only 4 and a half minutes each. If you are wondering what one can say in such a short time, the answer is “lots, if you prepare well”. All presenters showed good skills, effectively conveying information about their work. As a way of promoting the direct contact between the participants and the speakers, the activity “Interview a Statistician” took place on Thursday. Some of the speakers were interviewed by groups of participants. The activity was filmed and it was interesting and lots of fun.
The synergy between participants worked very well. Reportedly, despite the intensity and demands of StatCamp, there was partying going on in the night, either at the Student Village at Kringsjå, or in town. Thursday afternoon and evening was the official time for entertainment. The rain stopped just before a walking tour of the town, which finished at a restaurant in Aker Brygge, where a fish soup dinner was served. During the dinner, two rainbows appeared in front of the restaurant, for the delight of attendants.
The feedback I have received rated the meeting as “amazing”, “wonderful”,
“excellent”, etc. Participants went back home reporting having enriched their
statistical knowledge and having made new friends and contacts. We, the
organisers of StatCamp, feel that the main objectives of the meeting were met.
The “secret” ingredients for the success, in my opinion, were: the generous funding of the EU and the Norwegian Research Council, the excellent academic level of speakers and participants, the hard work and imagination of organisers and volunteers (from the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Computing Center, the two host institutions) involved at many different levels, and, I must say, the excellent catering services which were hired. Everyone agreed that the food was great and generous. Good food makes happy people.
Norwegian Computing Center ( Sonia.Mazzi@nr.no )
Thanks to support from the Norwegian Research Council (NFR) and Scandinavian Airlines, Ying Bao, PhD student at the Institute of Applied Mathematics of the Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, was invited to participate to the 25th EMS and StatCamp. She contributes to BNews with a report on her experience.
This summer, I was funded by NFR to attend StatCamp and EMS2005 in Oslo. It is the first time I go abroad from China and the first time I give a talk in an international conference, so the experience is very memorable.
Ying Bao, with a colleague StatCamper, in a moment of relaxation
My research is about Random Graph and Complex Networks. I presented my and Prof. Yong Liu’s latest result at the meeting. Several researchers were interested in this presentation. They discussed with me and gave me some advices after my talk.
At the meeting I learned about many new directions in statistics and probability. In particular I was interested in two sessions, on random matrices and on random walks and Lévy processes. In general I listened to most special invited lectures. Furthermore, I discussed with the authors of some posters. All this gives me new knowledge and inspiration.
During StatCamp and EMS, my strongest feeling was that the participants were very ardent for science. The speakers made careful preparation for their lectures, and the participants discussed intensively the lectures and their own research during the coffee breaks. The European young statisticians cared very much about the progress and organization for the young researchers; they proposed many good ideas and important suggestions to members of the executive committee of the Bernoulli Society.
I feel very lucky that I could attend the excellent and very successful StatCamp and EMS2005. So I greatly appreciate Bernoulli Society and Professor Arnoldo Frigessi for funding and inviting me. And I feel that European students had much more opportunities to go abroad for studying and attending meetings than Chinese students, so I hope that Bernoulli Society and other scientific societies will fund more Chinese students to attend International scientific activities, which will do much help for the growing of the Chinese young researchers.
Institute of Applied Mathematics,
Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science,
Chinese Academy of Science,
Beijing, 100080, China.
Like for most of the participants, the StatCamp was a great experience for
me. I think there is just little to add to what is already mentioned elsewhere
in this issue.
After the StatCamp, during the EMS, there was a meeting with most of the StatCamp participants, and we discussed how we could stay in touch. Something we all agreed on, was that a website and a mailing list would be very helpful. After the conference Phillip Pluch created the 'Young-Bernoulli' mailing list. To subscribe you can go to http://lists.uni-klu.ac.at/mailman/listinfo/young-bernoulli . More recently, I created a forum; see http://www.few.vu.nl/~kruijer/forum/.
Together with some other StatCamp participants I have been collecting information for the website. The website is still under construction, but will be operating very soon.
Contributions are still very welcome!
For the latest developments, check my homepage
or announcements on the mailing list.
PhD-student at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Several training camps and young researchers meetings where organised by the Bernoulli Society over the last years, just want to remember the SemStats in Munich or Warwick where a training on a specific field in stochastic was done. This summer before the EMS started there was a new initiative of a training camp for young researchers, PhD students based on the idea to train in several topics of the conference - which was in my view a full success and each of us who were participating or better enjoying the weeks in Oslo learned a lot, and even what is also important we got in contact with new friends from other universities or science departments in different fields.
After such a meeting there should be something else - a way to stay in contact, a way of network of colleagues in the different fields of stochastic. For that reason we were making a mailing list as a starting point and are still building on a web page. The aim of this mailing list (look at http://lists.uni-klu.ac.at/mailman/listinfo/young-bernoulli ) should be the following: a discussion forum, announcement of conferences, announcement of open job positions, a way to inform each of us very fast. At the time we have over 300 persons in the mailing list, all over the world and it is working and it is used.
On the web page, which should be a part of the Bernoulli web, we are trying to combine the same idea. Also the plan is that everybody in the list is responsible for the list - in that sense, that if there is a meeting, workshop or conference at his place, he or she should inform, try to organise special lectures for young researchers as a kind of training, maybe reduced fees and so on. All in all this should maybe be a starting point for a big network of young researchers and a good sign for the future, the world wide future of statistics and probability theory. We hope that lots are supporting our idea, inform their students about this idea and help us working.
PhD Student, University of Klagenfurt
Goals: Bring together young statisticians and probabilists from Europe (and
• prepare for the EMS next week;
• learn new methodologies in statistics and probability;
• make direct contacts with leading statisticians;
• build a network of colleagues and friends, for the future;
• discover different traditions of learning and producing statistics;
• get inspired by statistics and probability you did not know;
• find new motivations for your research and profession;
• learn to think critically about science in this global world;
• meet other cultures and traditions;
• have a great time!
Participants citizenship: Austria, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom.
55% of the participants were girls, 45% boys! Excellent. We take gender issues seriously.
Interview exercise: About 60 participants were divided into 6 groups. Each
group prepared a 20 minutes interview with one of the invited statisticians (Aad
van der Vaart, Nils Lid Hjort, Wilfrid S. Kendall, Laurie Davies, Hans Künsch,
Gareth Roberts). Two interviewers per group carried out the interview. The
interview was video recorded by a professional filmmaker.
The film is available on request ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
• Science between freedom and responsibility (Jens Erik Fenstad);
• Science and Simplicity of Statistical Models (Inge Helland);
• A tour of journals in statistics and probability (Hansruedi Künsch);
• Philosophical issues of statistics (Ernst Wit);
• From non-alignment and isolationism to glo-bal activism. An overview of independent Norway's foreign policy, 1905-2005 (Helge Pharo).
BS Scientific Secretary
The 9th Brazilian School of Probability was in Maresias, an incredible
beautiful beach close to Sao Paulo City. Despite the attraction of the beach and
the sun, more than a hundred participants assisted enthusiastically to courses
by Imre Cziszar and Gianni Jona
Lasinio and the talks of Miguel Abadi, Federico Camia, Pierre Collet, Juan Antonio Cuesta Albertos, Thierry de la Rue, Nancy Garcia, Chuck Newman and Sandro Vaienti.
Chair, Latin America Regional Committee
In this workshop, various topics in Interacting Stochastic Systems have been
(1) Meta-stability. In the workshop, there have been two talks on meta-stability by Scoppola and by Nardi, describing recent work on meta-stability when the dynamics is conserved, and the temperature is low.
(2) Interacting random walks. The basic model of simple random walk (SRW) and or Brownian motion has a lot of exciting and interesting variations, and some of these have been described in the workshop. Both König and Toninelli have spoken about polymer problems, while Rolles discussed recent work with Merkl on linearly edge-reinforced random walks. Further contribu-tions have been around random walk in random environment (Bolthausen).
(3) Interacting and branching diffusion. Greven discussed recent results on interacting and branching diffusions on the hierarchical group. Slade has described the recent results relation of oriented percolation to super-Brownian motion. Gärtner described recent work on the Parabolic Anderson Model.
(4) Spin glasses. Kourkova and Van Enter have given lectures on spin glasses, which are models for disordered magnetic systems. Bovier described the related issue of aging.
Further contributions were given by Olivieri, M. van den Berg, Gantert and Steif.
Subsequently to the workshop, the “Stochastic afternoon” was organised. During this afternoon, both directors stepping down, Frank den Hollander and Henry Wynn, and the new director, Onno Boxma, gave a state of the art lecture on the research within their research areas, with the following titles: "Challenges in mathematical statistical physics", “Algebraic statistics, the new interface” and "A few views on queues". Presentations of the lectures can be found on http://www.eurandom.tue.nl/workshops/2005/ISS/stochasticsafternoon_23sept.htm , by clicking on the titles.
The 33rd Colloquium of the Argentinean Statistical Society was in Villa Giardino, a beautiful town at South of Cordoba city in the middle of lakes and hills. More than 350 participants assisted at conferences and mini courses. Some of the speakers: Peter McCullagh (Chicago), Bryan Manly (New Zealand), Adriano Decarli (Milán), Graciela Boente (Buenos Aires) Rafael Perez-Ocon (España).
Chair, Latin America Regional Committee