1 October 2020

Dear {Contact_First_Name},

While COVID-19 has prevented many of us from gathering in person for more than six months now, I’ve been inspired by the way that our Branches and Sections have adapted to online activities. Just this week I’ve been lucky enough to attend the Canberra Branch’s Foreman Lecture, and the WA Branch’s Young Statisticians Workshop; next week I’ll attend the Canberra and NSW Branches’ Slide slam, and on October 20 and 21 the Victorian, Queensland and NSW Branches will be putting on events for World Statistics Day. I also always enjoy getting the chance to visit the state where I grew up by tuning into SA Branch events. There is no way I would have been able to attend so many SSA events in any other year!  I know that many of you have also enjoyed having the chance to attend events from all around Australia – and watch recordings of the events you missed.

Our Branches and Sections are thinking hard about how we can continue to keep their events accessible to all of us. Suggestions for events that you’d like to see are welcome, and I would encourage everyone to browse our event calendar – and check out our event recordings! 

Jessica Kasza
SSA President

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The Bayesian Section of the SSA is pleased to announce the following webinar 

Computing Bayes: Bayesian Computation from 1763 to the 21st Century 

with Gael M. Martin on 11 November 2020 at 4:00PM (AEDT).         

About this webinar:

The Bayesian statistical paradigm uses the language of probability to express uncertainty about the phenomena that generate observed data. Probability distributions thus characterize Bayesian inference, with the rules of probability used to transform prior probability distributions for all unknowns - models, parameters, latent variables - into posterior distributions, subsequent to the observation of data. Conducting Bayesian inference requires the evaluation of integrals in which these probability distributions appear. Bayesian computation is all about evaluating such integrals in the typical case where no analytical solution exists. This paper takes the reader on a chronological tour of Bayesian computation over the past two and a half centuries. Beginning with the one-dimensional integral first confronted by Bayes in 1763, through to recent problems in which the unknowns number in the millions, we place all computational problems into a common framework, and describe all computational methods using a common notation. The aim is to help new researchers in particular - and more generally those interested in adopting a Bayesian approach to empirical work - make sense of the plethora of computational techniques that are now on offer; understand when and why different methods are useful; and see the links that do exist, between them all.

To find out more and to register

The Statistical Society of Australia Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Section and Statistical Consulting Network are pleased to offer the following joint workshops:

Getting started with statistical consultancy - Establishing a client base, an operational model and a team

on 16 October 2020 from 10:00 AM - 13:00 PM AEDT via Zoom.

This workshop is the first part of two half-day workshops on statistical consultancy. This half day workshop is designed to provide participants with an understanding and tips of some of the key considerations involved in setting up and running a statistical consultancy from within a university environment:  covering a range of topics including funding and operational models, reaching and securing clients, building and funding a team. The workshop will feature presentations from statisticians experienced in setting up and running a statistical consultancy, as well as an interactive panel session to allow participants to pick the ‘tried and tested’ brains of our experts!

Find out more and book your place

The second half day of the workshop will cover

Essential skills for statistical consultancy - Project management, timelines and communication

on 22 October 2020 from 10:00 AM - 13:00 PM AEDT via Zoom.

This half day workshop is designed to provide participants with an understanding of some of the key skills involved in biostatistical consultancy, covering a range of topics including how to run consultancy projects from start to finish, managing projects, and communication skills. The course will feature presentations from statisticians experienced in biostatistical consultancy, as well as an interactive panel session to allow participants to pick the brains of our experts!

Find out more and book your place

What role do statistics play in predicting the next American president?

In today’s world Donald Trump seems to constantly be in the daily headlines. Irrespective of our own personal thoughts and feelings we are tempted to look at all candidates for such an election. In doing so we think through the strengths and weaknesses of the personal characteristics of each candidate and their standpoint on the issues relevant for voters. Being able to predict how voters respond to different candidates is vital both for those driving political campaigns and also for business, organizations, and individuals affected by the outcome of elections. If you would like to find out more, don't miss SSA's webinar

Its Alive! Frankenstein for President

with James J. Cochran on 6 October 2020 at 12 pm AEDT via Zoom.

James will explore some of the issues involved in predicting electoral outcomes. He  has both: a strong track record in business analytics and also has an engaging sense of humour about the topic (there are times when we look at world politics, and all we can do is laugh).

Mark Griffin
Chair, SSA Business Analytics Section

Statistical Consulting Network 2020 Meeting – Abstract submission deadline extended!

We have just extended the abstract submission deadline until 14 October, so get your abstract in and be part of the

Statistical Consulting Network 2020 Meeting

held on 7 - 9 December 2020 from 11am-2pm AEDT(each day).

The Statistical Consulting Network 2020 Meeting is a virtual event where statistical consultants can connect, present their ideas, discuss best practice, and more!  The event will feature:

  • A keynote talk by Doug Zahn (Florida State)
  • Contributed talks
  • Lunchtime discussions on topical issues in consulting
  • A virtual display hall to view contributed speed talks and posters 
Be part of this event - find out more

Participate in a research study examining Statistical Quality in Health and Biomedical Research. 

Dear colleagues

My name is Lee Jones from the School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and I’m doing a PhD examining Statistical Quality in Health and Biomedical Research. 

I would like to invite statisticians (including those in data science and data analysis roles) to participate in a study reviewing published journal articles focusing on linear regression assumptions. Each statistician will be asked to review five published articles via a short survey, which should take approximately 30 minutes per paper to complete. Eligibility for this study is employment (current or past) in a statistical role (e.g. statistician, data scientist). 

Please view the Participant Information Sheet and Consent Form for further details, study information can be accessed through the following link

If you are interested in participating,  please email the completed consent form or if have any questions,  contact the research team at Consider adding to your safe sender list to avoid further emails going to the junk mail folder.

Please note that this study has been approved by the QUT Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number 2000000458).

Many thanks for your consideration of this request.

Lee Jones

News from the Bayesian Section
There are two online seminar series that might be of interest to members. The Bayesian Nonparametric (BNP) section of ISBA has launched a new monthly webinar series.

The next talk is by Yanxun Xu on the topic "A Bayesian Nonparametric Approach for Inferring Drug Combination Effects on Mental Health in People with HIV" and will be held on October 7. The One World Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) seminar series is held fortnightly.

David Frazier of Monash University will be presenting a talk on October 15.

On behalf of the executive committee, Bayesian Section of SSA

Statistics in the Capital: Knibbs Lecture with Ray Carroll and Alan Welsh

Save the date! SSA Canberra invites you to attend this year's Knibbs lecture, which will be presented by Prof. Ray Carroll (Texax A&M). The lecture will also celebrate the 60th birthday of Prof. Alan Welsh (ANU), and his contributions to statistics.  

Date and time:  Tuesday 24th November; 12:30pm-1:45pm AEDT.   

More details will be announced closer to the date of the event. In the meantime, please RSVP for the event  to save the date!
RSVP here

ACEMS Virtual Public Lecture Series - 7 & 14 October

When mathematics becomes art … the unexpected beauty of self-evolving mathematical functions

Professor Kate Smith-Miles

Wednesday 7 October, 12pm-1pm AEDT

Negentropy Triptych is an unexpected outcome of a mathematics research project, titled “Stress-testing algorithms: generating new test instances to elicit insights", funded by an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship. In this lecture, Kate will describe how her research quest to generate mathematical functions that are challenging and “stress-test” optimisation algorithms has led to a large collection of intricate and beautiful 2D images, contour plots of mathematical functions that have been mathematically generated to create challenging landscapes. The mathematics used to generate the 306 intricate functions underpinning Negentropy Triptych will be lightly explained, and the resulting beautiful landscapes will be explored.

Register here to receive zoom webinar link

Just how much water is down there, and will it last?

Professor Louise Ryan, University of Technology Sydney

Wednesday 14 October, 12pm-1pm AEDT

Water is a precious resource - under increasing global pressure and vulnerability due to rising populations and changing climate patterns. Modelling can offer critical insights into the nature and sustainability of this resource so that effective and equitable decisions can be made regarding its usage. In this lecture, Louise presents various approaches to modelling underground aquifers, which are a significant water source for many parts of Australia. While she will briefly review the classical process-based approaches based on hydro-geological theory, her focus will be more data-driven approaches including dynamic regression modelling that draw on the theory of time series, as well as machine learning approaches such as neural network models and their extensions to the time series domain. Louise will be joined by Dr Stephanie Clark, post-doctoral fellow at the University of Technology Sydney. The presentation draws on work done in collaboration with Professor Rob Hyndman and Mr Mitchell O’Hara-Wild, Monash University and Dr Dan Pagendam, CSIRO.

Register here to receive zoom webinar link

Call for Short Course Proposals – ISI WSC 2021

The ISI Short Course Committee for ISI WSC 2021 (SCC) is inviting members of the ISI and its Associations to submit proposals to deliver online short courses.

The SCC is developing an online short course programme to be delivered over the summer months of June and July 2021 surrounding the 63rd ISI World Statistics Congress 2021 (WSC). The short courses will be scheduled in a 3 hour session each day at a time chosen to accommodate learners in many time zones. A short course can be scheduled for 1 day (3 hours total), 2 days (6 hours total) or 3 days (9 hours total).

Find out more

The SSA is looking for short course presenters

Would you like to present a short course or workshop on topics in statistics, data science, or related areas? If so, we would like to hear from you.

The SSA’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Committee is inviting expressions of interest (EOI) from presenters interested in providing online workshops or courses for the Society. These courses are normally face-to-face, but because of the COVID-19 outbreak and social distancing restrictions, SSA has decided to host its courses and workshops online via Zoom or other platforms. The courses, in the form of short lectures and/or workshops, can be delivered over multiple sessions or days.

Learn more

Explore Current Research and Developments

In 2020, AMSI BioInfoSummer is going virtual! Hosted by The Australian National University (ANU), attendees will participate online over the four-day program to develop their bioinformatics skills, national networks and employability.

Join with other advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students, researchers and professionals from the mathematics, statistics, medical sciences and information technology disciplines to explore bioinformatics under the following themes:

·         Single cell / transcriptomics

·         RNA biology

·         Long read sequencing

·         Biomedical optimisation / data science

Find out more

CALL FOR PAPERS - Statistics, Politics and Policy (Vol. 2021 No. 1 and 2)

Topic: Research on the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) Pandemic

Please see the detailed call for papers here

Previously advertised - places still available!

Social Event: Slide Slam, SSA-Style! 

Interested in a relaxed evening of social fun and non-statistics mayhem with fellow SSA members?

SSA NSW + Canberra are hosting a joint social event on 7 October where we have invited some of the best statisticians/data scientists around Australia to present a set of lightning talks. The catch? It won't be on statistics, in fact, they won't even know what topic they will be presenting on until shortly beforehand! Think of it like poetry-slam but with slides (slide slam!), or for those who remember, the show "Thank God you're here.

Some of the awesome speakers we have lined up: Janan Arslan (Melb), Alan Huang (UQ), Jessica Kazsa (Monash), Hien Nguyen (La Trobe), Jake Olivier (UNSW), Alice Richardson (ANU), Louise Ryan (UTS), Georgy Sofronov (MQ). 

Find out more

Belz Lecture and World Statistics Day - 20 October 2020, 5.30-7:00pm AEDT

The Vic Branch is delighted to announce details of the Victorian Branch's premier annual event, the Belz Lecture. 

This year's Belz Lecture is extra special because we will also be celebrating World Statistics Day 2020, an initiative from the United Nations Statistical Division with the goal of celebrating and promoting official statistics to policymakers and the general public. The theme of this year's World Statistics Day is "Connecting the world with data we can trust".

The Belz Lecturer for this year, Deputy Australian Statistician Teresa Dickinson, will explore this theme in her lecture titled “To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved”: a maxim for official statistics?

For more information and to register, please click below.

Click here

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