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Monthly Archives: May 2017

ANNOUNCEMENT – YSS Bulletin #5 released!


Events… Opportunities… Support… Networking…

We’ve just released Issue #5 of the YSS Bulletin – a quick two-minute summary of what the Young Statisticians Section are currently doing!

The deadline for the 2017 Statistical Excellence Award for Early Career Writing  organised jointly with Significance magazine is fast approaching! There’s still time to get your entry in by the 29th May. This year’s Statistical Showcase will take place on Friday 30th June with a morning training session provided on R/R Shiny.

Check out the Bulletin to find out more.


ANNOUNCEMENT – Review of “Celebrating 20 Years of CRAN and R supporting statistics” – 25th April 2017

The “Celebrating 20 Years of CRAN and R supporting statistics” event was jointly hosted by the Glasgow Local group and the Young Statisticians Section of the Royal Statistical Society. The event consisted of speakers Dr. Charis Chanialidis, Dr. Mike Spencer and Dr. Colin Gillespie presenting and celebrating the history of CRAN and R software and the multitude of benefits and applications of this statistical tool. The event was co-hosted by Johnathan Love and Kate Pyper and had approximately 50 attendees that attended in person and approximately 50 attendees that joined in on the event, via livestream.

Dr. Charis Chanialidis of the University of Glasgow presented his thoughts about data visualisation and statistical modelling in Shiny, a package from RStudio that provides a web framework for building web applications (apps). In his talk, Dr. Chanialidis highlighted that this package is gaining in popularity and R users can turn statistical analyses into useful and interactive web applications and this was accompanied with a live demonstration using several Shiny apps. One significant point that was highlighted was the fact that Shiny apps can prove to be a useful tool for engaging with non-statisticians and/or the general public.

Afterwards, Dr. Mike Spencer of Scotland’s Rural College, presented his work on predicting snowmelt using R software. Dr. Spencer highlighted how snowmelt contributes to flood risk and gave a brief history of how some of the largest floods, such as the second largest recorded flood event on the River Thames after the winter of 1947, were attributable to snowmelt. In his talk, he demonstrated how he was able to utilise R to model the risks of snowmelt to reservoirs in Scotland, via extreme value analysis. Highlights that Dr. Spencer touched upon include being able to run R as a platform within other software (e.g. GRASS, GIS), and the production of spatial maps that one is able to produce using R software.

Finally, Dr. Colin Gillespie of Newcastle University and jumping rivers, presented a history and the development of CRAN and R software over the past 20 years. In his talk, Dr. Gillespie explained what CRAN is and the requirements involved in producing packages to be installed in R software. One of the main highlights from Dr. Gillespie was how the development of packages has grown tremendously over the past 20 years, such that the number of packages available to be installed in R/RStudio software has surpassed 10,000 as of the 24th April 2017.

Overall, this was a well turned out event by those who could attend in person to the University of Strathclyde and across the country, via livestream, and a rare celebration of CRAN and R software.

ANNOUNCEMENT – 40th Research Students’ Conference in Probability and Statistics held in Durham

The 40th research students’ conference (RSC) in probability and statistics took place from April 18th to April 21st 2017 in the Calman Learning Centre, Durham University.  The RSC is a large annual conference that is organised by PhD students for PhD students in any field relating to probability or statistics.  Being a student conference, the RSC provides delegates with a friendly and relaxed environment to discuss research and exchange ideas.

This year was the second time RSC has been in Durham (with the first time being back in 2007), and it was a triumphant success.  68 delegates attended the conference from a large number of universities across the UK and Ireland.  Almost every delegate gave a talk or poster presentation at the conference, with a wide range of topics covering many aspects of probability as well as both frequentist and Bayesian methods being covered, for example medical statistics, statistical modelling, non-parametric inference and stochastic processes to name but a few.  We had four distinguished guest speakers giving plenary talks: Professor Denise Lievesley (Principal of Green Templeton college, University of Oxford), Professor Nicholas Bingham (Imperial College, London), Professor Michael Goldstein (Durham University) and Dr. Peter Avery (Newcastle University).  These talks were very inspiring, covering both the speakers’ fascinating careers as wells fundamental research areas of probability and statistics.

In addition to the academic aspect of the conference, a number of social events were organised to bring the postgraduate community together to establish friendships and showcase the beauty of the historic city of Durham.  A combined posters and sponsors event allowed delegates to present their posters and sponsors, from both research and industrial backgrounds local and national without whom the conference would not have be possible, to advertise their companies.  Other events included a trip to the cathedral, a tour of Durham castle and a fun-filled mathematically themed quiz, with the whole week culminating in a conference dinner and ceilidh in the great hall of Durham castle – a truly magical experience that the delegates will be unlikely to forget!

RSC 2017 was a great success, with feedback from delegates being very positive and indicated their appreciation of such a smooth flowing, informative and fun conference.  RSC 2017 has hopefully left all those present with newly established research ideas and newly established friendships, along with fantastic memories.  Focus now already turns towards next year’s gathering in Sheffield which promises to be equally entertaining and informative.