International statistics conference comes to campus

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The 2016 International Indian Statistical Association (IISA) Conference “Statistical and Data Sciences: A Key to Healthy People, Planet and Prosperity” will be hosted by the Department of Statistics at Oregon State University in  the state-of-the art Learning Innovation Center August 18-21. The conference has attracted 200 statisticians worldwide, including from Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and Egypt, across academia, industry, government and research institutes who will discuss the latest statistical developments and challenges.

Sessions at the conference range from statistical innovation and applications in big data, biomedical sciences, network analysis, high dimensional data, genomics, climate sciences, public health and ecology to probability theory and advances in bayesian techniques, biostatistics and spatial statistics. Panels on career development, women is statistics, and collaboration across organizations offer fresh perspective on such topics of interest. The conference also includes a wine and cheese networking reception, banquet dinner featuring Indian food, and an award ceremony.

Debashis Mondal, assistant professor of statistics at OSU, is the organizer and program committee chair of the conference. This past year, several committees worked collaboratively to plan and execute IISA 2016, including an executive, program, scientific advisory and local organizing committees.

The conference will feature presentations by internationally acclaimed statisticians, such as plenary addresses by Kanti Mardia, an award winning statistician from the University of Leeds and Oxford University, and Xiao-Li Meng, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science and statistics professor at Harvard University.

Keynote talks will be delivered by Katherine Ensor,Vice-President of the American Statistical Association and chair of the Department of Statistics, Debashis Ghosh, chair of the Biostatistics Department at University of Colorado, Kannan Natarajan, senior vice president and global head of biometrics and data management at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and Ajit Tamhane, senior associate dean and professor at Northwestern University.

In addition to the technical talks, the conference will offer sessions on early career development; collaborations across academic, industry and government organizations; and funding opportunities in industry and federal agencies through three panel discussions. Dean Pantula will moderate a panel on career development.

Graduate students from Oregon State and beyond will participate in four pre-conference short courses on applied and statistical software use offered by visiting statisticians from Columbia University, University of California at Los Angeles, Northwestern University and SAS Institute. Students were able to register for the conference and attend the courses at no cost thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The conference’s focus on data sciences and their role in human health and industry is very timely given the deluge of data in our everyday lives. Everything from health records to environmental monitoring, agriculture and online behavior are being measured and captured in clicks, “likes,” tweets and purchases. With this proliferation of data, the ability to analyze large data sets—big data—has caused incredible demand for people trained in the statistical and data sciences.

“Data science is a key area of growth in the College of Science because it is highly relevant, we have an obligation, we have key strengths and there is tremendous opportunity,” said Sastry G. Pantula, dean of the College of Science at OSU.

“I am thrilled that OSU is the place to convene leading statisticians from across academia, industry and government. We will have some of the brightest minds in the field of data science on our campus. It is an incredible honor and opportunity for our university and our community.”

IISA seeks to promote education, research and application of statistics and probability throughout the world with a special emphasis on the Indian subcontinent.

“The conference will provide platform for statisticians to collaborate across diverse areas of interest, foster partnership across various statistical organizations to move forward the evolving field of statistics and nurture the need of young statisticians” said Amarjot Kaur, IISA President and Executive Director of Biostatistics at Merck.

“Many thanks to the Statistics Department and Oregon State University for providing this beautiful venue for the IISA 2016 conference.”

The conference is sponsored and supported by the National Science Foundation, Merck, TEOCO, Cytel, the American Statistical Association, Elsevier, SAS Institute, International Chinese Statistical Association, Korean International Statistical Society and OSU’s College of Science, Ecampus and International Progams.

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