Dean Pantula addresses international statistics conference in Dhaka

College of Science Dean Sastry G. Pantula was a special guest and keynote speaker at the 2nd International Conference on the Theory and Application of Statistics, which was organized by the Dhaka University Statistics Department Alumni Association (DUSDAA) and began on Sunday, the 65th anniversary of the department’s founding. The Department of Statistics at the University of Dhaka is one of the oldest of its kind in the world and was founded by the late National Professor Qazi Motahar Husain, the first academic statistician of East Bengal (now Bangladesh) and founder of the Institute of Statistical Research and Training in 1964.

Held December 27-29, the conference aims to bring statisticians together from around the world to explore new frontiers of developments of statistical theory and applications in teaching, research, and the use of statistics in government and non-government policy making with special focus on developing countries, such as Bangladesh.

Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Dr. AAMS Arefin Siddique kicked off the three-day conference, calling for the need to upgrade the quality of statistics and statistical analysis to ensure transparency, accountability, credibility and morality. He called for statisticians to work together to fulfill the dream of making Bangladesh a country free from poverty, hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy and fundamentalism.

Dean Pantula with students and colleagues in statistics at Dhaka University in Bangladesh.

Dean Pantula with students and colleagues in statistics at Dhaka University in Bangladesh.

The President of DUSDAA Kazi Saleh Ahmed presided over the inaugural session. President of American Statistical Association Jessica Utts, chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Irvine, and Dean Pantula addressed the conference as special guests. M. Ataharul Islam, chairman of the Conference Convening Committee, delivered opening remarks.

Dean Pantula greeted the international audience with “As-salaam alaikum, Namoshkar, and good morning” and offered welcome remarks, thanking everyone for the warm hospitality during his first visit to Dhaka and Bangladesh. Pantula expressed his excitement about being part of the conference to celebrating the statistics profession and to discuss how statistics is important for populations and the development of countries worldwide.

“Statistics, especially official statistics, are how a country or a government or a city like Dhaka knows what it needs,” said Pantula. “It is a great time to be a statistician or a data scientist.  We are flooded with data: it is your job, my job or any statistician’s job to use our training to help convert data to useful knowledge and help solve major societal issues related to climate, quality of life, poverty and terrorism.”

Dean Pantula is presenting a session on Big Data that highlights the incredible growth of data, the important role the field of statistics plays in our data-centric world and the tremendous opportunities big data offers.

Spanning three- days with multiple parallel sessions, the conference offers keynote speeches, plenary sessions and invited and contributed paper sessions from diverse topics. Many successful DUSDAA alumni will give talks, including professor Abdus Wahed, who is a biostatistics professor and Director of the Ph.D. Graduate Program in the School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh.

The conference features a Student Poster Competition with three awards for the best posters as well as a Young Researchers Award that offers three awards for young researchers.

The event has received national press coverage in Bangladesh from the Daily Sun and the Financial Express.

Students pose for selfies with Dean Pantula.

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