Aug 29, 2013

Meeting report: New Researchers Conference

Johanna G. Nešlehová and Aarti Singh report on the 15th IMS New Researchers Conference, jointly sponsored by the IMS and the SSC:

The 15th edition of the IMS New Researchers Conference took place at the Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM) in Montréal, from August 1 to August 3, 2013. Because of its Canadian location, this year’s meeting was co-sponsored by the Statistical Society of Canada. In total, 48 young researchers participated in the conference—20 women and 28 men—from the United States, Canada, France, Switzerland, and Japan.

The first two days of the meeting were tightly packed with talks and posters by the new researchers, and four invited lectures. After a cordial welcome by Hans Künsch and Christian Genest (ISM & CRM), Terry Speed opened the meeting with a thought-provoking address entitled “Mathematical Statistics: How long can and should you stay in it?” The lively discussion that followed got us all warmed up for a packed program of short talks on mathematical statistics, biostatistics, high-dimensional issues, spatio-temporal modeling, survey sampling, and genetics. The short talks were alternated with three invited lectures: on Thursday afternoon, Aurore Delaigle explored classification using censored functional data; on Friday morning, Jeff Rosenthal introduced us to the puzzles of MCMC; Steve Fienberg discussed the intricacies of causes of effects in the afternoon. Both Thursday and Friday were crowned by creative five-minute spotlight talks by poster presenters, followed by poster sessions. On Friday night, we could all finally enjoy a rich dinner and admire the magnificent view from the rooftop restaurant “Le Cercle” of HEC Montréal.

Hans Künsch presents Tweedie Award winner Jingchen Liu

Saturday started with the Tweedie Award Invited Lecture on rare-event analysis for nonlinear functionals of Gaussian random fields, given by this year’s winner Jingchen Liu. Aurore Delaigle and Steve Fienberg then offered advice on publishing, while Terry Speed and Hans Künsch shared their experiences with the mentoring of graduate students. After lunch, Hans Künsch explained why we need scholarly societies like the IMS. Jeff Rosenthal and Larry Wasserman then offered tips on how to face the challenges in teaching probability and statistics. The meeting ended with a longer panel on funding, led by Dave Stephens and various representatives from funding agencies: Nandini Kannan (NSF), Madeleine Bastien (NSERC), Joe McCloskey (NSA), Michelle Dunn (NIH), and Pierre des Lierres (Mitacs).

The meeting was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Centre de recherches mathématiques, the Institut des sciences mathématiques, and the Statistical Society of Canada. We also obtained generous assistance in all administrative matters from the Centre de recherches mathématiques.

More details about the meeting, as well as photographs, can be found at

New Researchers at a poster session


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