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  • 2 Dec 2021 4:41 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The SSA is committed to making the Society, and the discipline of statistics more broadly, welcoming, inclusive, and equitable. The SSA formed an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI) committee in 2021 to help achieve this goal, however not all issues of equity, diversity, or inclusion may be obvious to those on the committee. To help the EDI committee identify EDI issues that the Society can work on, and understand perceptions of the SSA in relation to EDI, the SSA is conducting a short (5 mins), anonymous, survey.

    To share your views, please fill in the survey here before 25 December 2021.

  • 30 Nov 2021 2:30 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Manuel Herrera PhD Senior Research Associate, Institute of Manufacturing, University of Cambridge

    Manuel Herrera who is the 2021 Frank Hansford-Miller Fellow gave the WA Branch November seminar virtually. His stated intention was to show fellow statisticians what it is like to work with engineering problems using statistics and statistical methods.

    As noted by Brenton the seminar fitted in perfectly with the Fellowship since Frank Hansford-Miller was a person who championed Applied Statistics and how it supported the fabric of society and even the politics of the day.

    Manuel expressed pleasure in being able to explain to fellow statisticians the problems that he had faced in engineering where he had been working as long ago as 12 years for instance in looking at water supply systems, initially resolving problems to do with leakages using clustering methods, but also following up with time series methods where he made some useful predictions for demand management and infrastructure operation.

    Different projects included smart boards maintenance and optimal operation of cranes in a port in this case in Felixstowe where there are 31 quay cranes, 82 yard cranes and ships having 20,000 containers with containers roughly around 35 tonnes.

    Trying to ascertain where crane failure and maintenance was needed and time series provided a way through, but it was important to look for anomalies not only in the current asset but also in neighbouring assets.  It was noted that while digitization was becoming normal and there are all the incumbent problems of big data, there is importance of understanding the problems at hand.

    Different problems exist in long-haul internet backbone networks… again using anomaly detection in time series.              Again, we are looking at anomalies in time series not only in the network node, that may represent a router station, but also anomalies in neighbouring network areas for an automated and optimal network operation and control.  There are lots of challenges in a more than ever interconnected world that needs to work towards a high capacity, low latency and high accessibility internet service

    Manuel then introduced a paradigm regarding digital transformation based in 5 ascending steps, Step 1. Digitization of the information, step 2 Organize the information, step 3 Automate processes using digital technologies and information to transform individual institutional operations, step 4 Streamline processes, step 5 Transform the institution which briefly summarized involve Digital transformations.

    Manuel then referred to IoT and 5G solutions and better management of systems.   Here IoT is the internet of things and giving information on many devices leading to big data that needs to be efficiently managed for an optimal decision making and infrastructure (asset) monitoring. Discussion involved how to work with managing data coming from IoT etcetera?   Links further to Blockchains that show their ability to secure information sharing, so we don’t need to know the whole system but maybe a part of the system and neighbouring parts. That will be a key technological tool for further modelling interdependencies, for instance, between multiple urban systems.

    Manuel noted the idea of having a digital twin in asset management and the opportunities offered by that.

    His personal view is that it is not about technology use, if any; it is about the way one can extract maximum information [from the available technology] for a better infrastructure operation and management. 

    Traditional thinking was analysing data in a single analysis, but we are more often now seeing many internet connections and now we may be examining several layers in a dynamic relationship.  Multilayer networks are coming to the fore.  The challenge is to be able to work with traditional time series in a network dynamic.

    Manuel further described predictive analytics blending time series and regression analysis tools to optimization of systems. If we detect anomalies, we can interactively complete optimization of decision making.

    Manuel concluded that we must explain what we are doing and how training the network to go differently in order that decision makers may trust our involvement.

    His personal view was that it is not about methodology use; it is about an approach of proper engineering challenges for a better infrastructure system operation and subsequent management.

    Manuel then explained his viewpoint by looking at a long-haul internet backbone network

    The challenges include anomaly detection (for very long time series). Covid has revealed a new phenomenon in interrupted time series and now the IoT reveals another dimension.

    Manuel fielded several questions and we had insight of a statistician working in engineering.

    Brenton R Clarke


  • 29 Nov 2021 9:20 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    SSA is delighted to announce that in 2022 it will be once more involved in Science & Technology’s (STA) “Science Meets Parliament”. This marks the 22nd time STA has held this flagship event since it was created in 1999. Science Meets Parliament is Australia’s single largest vehicle for deep engagement between the science and technology sector and decision-makers. 

    This event includes inspiring speakers, high-quality professional development, meetings between scientists and Parliamentarians, a National Press Club address, and a National Gala Dinner to nurture relationships between science and technology and policymakers. 

    Like this year’s event, it will be held in a mostly virtual format, allowing it to be both COVID-safe. 

    The conference and training will be delivered online from 28 February to 4 March. An in-person National Press Club address by STA President Professor Mark Hutchinson is planned for 2 March in Canberra. The national gala dinner to bring together STEM leaders and Parliamentarians will be held concurrently in capital cities across Australia on Thursday, 2 June.

    Click here to see the preliminary program.

    SSA will sponsor up to two members to attend STA’s signature event. Early career statisticians are particularly encouraged to apply. Please email your expression of interest, explaining your reasons why you think this event could be of benefit to you, and your CV to eo@statsoc.org.au before 10 December 2021.

    In addition, 2021 STA are offering the opportunity to apply for scholarships to attend Science meets Parliament:

    • First Nations scholarship for Aboriginal or Torres Strait applicants
    • LGBTIQA+ scholarship for members of the LGBTIQA+ community
    • Rural and regional scholarship for delegates in the regions
    • Technology scholarships for people working in the technology sector.

    Applications close 4 February 2022. More information on these scholarships can be found here. Any questions about this additional opportunity should be taken up directly with Science and Technology Australia. 

    Marie-Louise Rankin
    SSA Executive Officer

  • 19 Nov 2021 2:30 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    It’s on! Registrations are now open for Science meets Parliament 2022 – with a truly stellar program. Global science superstar Brian Cox will headline the event in conversation with another scicomm superstar, Wiradjuri astrophysicist Kirsten Banks. We will have further announcements in coming weeks about more of the superb sessions and brilliant speakers ahead. Book now to secure the early bird rate – only available until December 20.

    STA has unveiled the science and technology sector’s 2022 election priorities. Setting the policy agenda, this blueprint was the product of STA’s annual Presidents and CEOs leadership dialogue. We’ve highlighted our push for deeper investment in R&D and a new Research Translation Fund in my comments in widespread media coverage. STA President Jeremy Brownlie also noted in the Australian Financial Review that deeper R&D investments are needed to enable science and technology to drive Australia’s climate transition.
     
    We were honoured to give evidence to the Senate inquiry on manufacturing last week, noting STA’s proposals for a Research Translation Fund, bench-to-boardroom scientists, and extending the patent box to clean energy technologies. STA Policy Chair Sharath Sriram joined our President and me to give testimony. We were delighted to see Sharath recognised as a finalist for the AFR’s emerging leaders in higher education award – check out his opinion piece here. We also welcomed this week’s announcement of $111 million in quantum technologies.

    This is our last STA Member Update before Jeremy Brownlie hands the STA Presidency to Mark Hutchinson. On behalf of the whole STA community, we thank Jeremy for his tireless leadership of this organisation and the sector – and his remarkable 11 years of service on STA’s Board. We have been blessed to have a leader of his vision, skill, kindness and grace in the Presidency in the extraordinary years of a global pandemic. We will have more to say on this at the AGM.

    Finally, if you haven’t already, please register ASAP to attend the virtual AGM – or register a delegate to represent your organisation. We need a strong turnout to ensure quorum. 

    Until next time, 

    Misha Schubert 
    CEO, Science & Technology Australia 


  • 11 Nov 2021 2:22 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The SSA Environmental Statistics section proudly announces a new annual student prize for best student paper in environmental statistics.  To be eligible a student must be:

    • An author of a paper that has been accepted in the previous 12 months, having made a substantial contribution to the work
    • A student at the end of semester 1 this year (June 30 2021)
    • A current member of the SSA and the Environmental Statistics Section

    The winner will receive $500 and will be asked to present in an invited session at the next annual stats conference (in 2023). 

    Please submit your nominations to eo@statsoc.org.au, with Tjanpi Award submission in the header, by 5 PM ADST Thursday 2 December 2021, including:

    Full name, institution

    Paper, as one pdf file.

    Letter of support from supervisor or other academic at the institution, confirming student status of applicant and describing the student's role in the paper.

     

     

    Central Australian landscape dominated by Tjanpi, photo by Sara Winter

    Tjanpi is the Pitjantjatjara word for Triodia, a spiny tussock-forming grass that dominates the vegetation across more than 20% of Australia’s land mass.  It is a long-lived plant that makes deep roots and can withstand the hardiest of conditions.  It can grow over decades into characteristic ring formations three metres in diameter.  As a source of food and shelter, Tjanpi is fundamental to life in some of Australia’s most extreme conditions, being central to highly diverse ecosystems dominated by termites and ants, as well as reptiles, birds and small mammals.  It has also been traditionally used by Indigenous people for a range of purposes, including building shelters, making an adhesive resin, basket weaving, fishing and using its seeds as a food source.  

    Tjanpi is an analogy for the Environmental Statistics student award – because the development and application of appropriate statistical techniques is fundamental to good environmental research, and our hope is that the recipient of this award will grow over the coming decades to become central to a diverse range of interesting research endeavours!


  • 8 Nov 2021 12:09 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Are you an early or mid-career statistician looking for support to grow and develop your career? Or, are you a more experienced statistician looking to share your skills and experience with a new generation of statisticians? If either of these sound like you then this program may be for you!

    The Statistical Society of Australia is excited to invite you to be a part of the 2022 mentoring program for all members of the Society. We are looking for up to 20 mentor-mentee pairs to take part in the 6-month mentoring program.

    Our aim

    This program will connect early and mid-career statisticians to experienced mentors to provide them with career guidance and to share their experiences to help them achieve their professional goals.

    Mentees

    We are looking to recruit early to mid-career statisticians to take part in the mentoring program. To be eligible to participate, you must be either a student or within the first ten years of a career in statistics, a member of the SSA, and be willing to commit to participating in the program over a 6-month period.

    Mentors

    We are looking to recruit mentors who have at least five years’ experience working as a statistician. Note that mentors will be paired with mentees with less experience working in statistics (i.e., those with less than five years’ experience will not be paired with mentees with more than five years’ experience). To be eligible to participate, you must be a member of the SSA and be willing to commit to participating in the program over a 6-month period. Prior mentorship experience would be beneficial but is not a requirement for participation.

    Program details

    The SSA Mentoring Committee will match mentors to mentees and contact the mentee to seek approval to introduce them to the proposed mentor. Each mentor will only be assigned one mentee. Mentees are responsible for arranging the initial meeting and establishing ongoing meetings with their mentor. Ideally, mentors and mentees should aim to meet at least monthly for one hour during the program, with a minimum of four meetings over six months. There is no requirement that mentors and mentees live in the same city; meetings do not have to be face-to-face and may be held via phone or Zoom as necessary. A member of the Mentoring Committee will be in touch throughout the program to learn how things are progressing and to help resolve any issues that arise. There is no expectation that the relationship continue beyond the 6-month program. However, we would be delighted if mentor-mentee pairs continue to keep in touch!

    In addition to the paired mentoring, mentees and mentors will have access mentor/mentee training, to be held virtually in February prior to the program’s commencement, and be given the opportunity to participate in a peer mentoring group of up to five participants to share experiences and build greater connections within the SSA community.

    Further details about the program will be provided before the program commences.

    Interested?

    To register your interest in participating in the mentoring program, please complete the form by Sunday 12th December:  Successful applicants will be notified by the 31st January 2022, with training via Zoom between 11am and 3pm AEDT on the 23rd and 24th of February. The program will run from March to August 2022.

    If you have any questions about the mentoring program, please email Karen Lamb, SSA Mentoring Program Committee Chair.


  • 5 Nov 2021 3:57 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)


     

    Dear Marie-Louise,

    What an inspiration. Seeing the profound contributions to humanity made by the winners of the 2021 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science was cause for such pride. How fitting to see the top prize go to evolutionary biologist Professor Eddie Holmes - the Sydney University scientist who shared the genome sequence of the COVID-19 virus freely online so the world could develop tests and vaccines. It was a game changing moment in the pandemic.

    The eyes of the world have been on the COP26 climate summit this week. "It will be our scientists, our technologists, our engineers, our entrepreneurs, our industrialists and our financiers that will actually chart the path to net zero - and it is up to us as leaders of government to back them in,” the Prime Minister told the gathering.

    Science & Technology Australia is about to release our STEM sector election priorities statement. This major piece of work will frame our shared advocacy heading into an election year. Thanks to all who joined the leadership dialogue at STA’s annual President and CEO Forum to shape the framework.

    We are pleased to announce a webinar for STA members to deepen your knowledge of intellectual property. Presented by staff from IP Australia, the session will be a practical guide to understanding IP rights and how to secure them. At the event registration page you can also shape the content of this session by choosing the top topics you want the presenters to cover in detail.  

    We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible online for the 2021 STA AGM on November 25. The meeting notice and agenda went out yesterday. Please register now if you are the delegate for your member organisation.

    Until next time, 

    Misha Schubert 
    CEO, Science & Technology Australia 

    NEW REPORTS AND POLICY CHANGES OF INTEREST TO STA MEMBERS

    Reports of interest:

    Opportunities for submissions:

    Further information: STA Director of Policy and Advocacy Sarah Tynan - sarah.tynan@sta.org.au


  • 22 Oct 2021 3:12 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Congratulations to Bob Xia and Sarthak Das

    The Australian Pharmaceutical Biostatistics Group (APBG) are pleased to announce the winners of the APBG Statistics and Data Science Collaboration scholarship. We would like to congratulate Bob Xia (Statistician) and Sarthak Das (Data Scientist) for being selected for this award. Thank you also to all the candidates for their applications, which were of a very high standard.

    Bob and Sarthak will work together on a large simulated dataset provided by the APBG to find an algorithm that best fits the data. They will explore the different approaches biostatisticians and data scientists have of answering important clinical questions. We look forward to hearing from them at an upcoming APBG meeting. 

    This scholarship opportunity was provided by APBG, in partnership with the SSA.  The Australian Pharmaceutical Biostatistics Group is a not-for-profit association of pharmaceutical industry statisticians in Australia, whose mission is to ensure high statistical standards within Australia to assist in the decision processes which provide safe, efficacious and cost-effective health care products produced in a regulated environment for the health and quality of life of people. For more information on the scholarship, please see the original posting.


  • 20 Oct 2021 8:45 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Congratulations to our SSA Fellowship Funding Award Recipients!

    The SSA extends our congratulations to our latest SSA Fellowship Funding Award Recipients:

    • Clara Grazian, UNSW
    • David Gunawan, University of Wollongong
    • Lauren Kennedy, Monash
    • Houying Zhu, Macquarie University
    • Tao Zou, ANU

    These early career statistical researchers are currently hard at work on their ARC DECRA Fellowship applications. Those whose DECRA applications are successful will receive $3000 to complement their fellowship activities. We wish them, and all of our members applying for DECRAs and Future Fellowships, all the best in the preparation of their applications. A round to support our members applying for NHMRC Investigator Grants (at the Emerging Leadership level) will be opened early in 2022.

    Jessica Kasza
    SSA President

  • 14 Oct 2021 2:14 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Sieves help us cook pasta and rice, whilst bootstraps come in handy when donning a pair of boots. The September 2021 seminar to the New South Wales branch had nothing to do with cooking or dressing. However, statistics has borrowed these terms quite heavily and Professor Han Lin Shang of Macquarie University's Department of Actuarial Studies and Business Analytics explained how statistical sieves and statistical bootstraps aid the analysis of functional time series data.

    The main parameter of interest throughout the talk was the memory parameter when the time series exhibited long-range dependence. A central question is obtaining confidence intervals for this parameter and a recent Journal of the American Statistical Association paper by the author and two co-authors addressed this problem.

    The rise of functional time series data is due to ongoing improvements in technology, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging for measuring brain function. Han Lin described functional data in stochastic process terms and how functional time series arise when the time series index is a continuous time variable. Despite the continuum aspect of the framework, in practice the measurements are at discrete time points. Professor Shang explained the difference between dense and sparse functional data - with the former having high sampling frequency. Various theoretical constructs such as continuous time covariance functions, Mercer's representation, Karhunen-Loeve expansion and functional auto-regressive integrated moving average models were explained as being useful for analysis of functional time series data.

    Then speaker Shang discussed long-memory processes and formally introduced the memory parameter. Various estimators were described and, based on the speaker's 2020 simulation study, methodology by time series researchers Peng and Whittle were recommended. After that, the branch was told how sieve bootstrapping can be used to obtain confidence intervals for the memory parameter. Simulation results showed good performance of Professor Shang's new methodology.

    At the end of the presentation it was pointed out that the sieve bootstrap approach can be applied to any memory parameter, whilst asymptotic confidence intervals are only possible for a selected range of memory estimators.

    Matt Wand, University of Technology Sydney

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