The American Institute of Mathematical Sciences, one of eight NSF-funded mathematical institutes, is supporting a new journal on data sciences called Foundations of Data Science, with editors in chief Ajay Jasra, Kody Law, and Vasileios Maroulas. Since I know them reasonably well (!). I have asked the editors for an editorial and they obliged by […]

# Category: Books

## how to annoy a statistician [xkcd redux]

## Lies sleeping [book review]

This is the seventh book in the Rivers of London series, by Ben Aaronovitch, which I have been expecting a long time. Avoiding the teasers like The Furthest Station, which appears primarily as a way to capitalise on readers’ impatience. And maybe due to this long wait or simply fatigue of the writer (or reader?!), […]

## abandon ship [value]!!!

The Abandon Statistical Significance paper we wrote with Blakeley B. McShane, David Gal, Andrew Gelman, and Jennifer L. Tackett has now appeared in a special issue of The American Statistician, “Statistical Inference in the 21st Century: A World Beyond p < 0.05“. A 400 page special issue with 43 papers available on-line and open-source! Food […]

## Dutch summer workshops on Bayesian modeling

Just received an email about two Bayesian workshops in Amsterdam this summer: “Theory and Practice of Bayesian Hypothesis Testing, A JASP Workshop” August 22 – August 23, 2019 “Bayesian Modeling for Cognitive Science, A JAGS and WinBUGS Workshop” August 26 – August 30 both taking place at the University of Amsterdam. And focussed on Bayesian […]

## dominating measure

Yet another question on X validated reminded me of a discussion I had once with Jay Kadane when visiting Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. Namely the fundamentally ill-posed nature of conjugate priors. Indeed, when considering the definition of a conjugate family as being a parameterised family Þ of distributions over the parameter space Θ stable under […]

## asymptotics of synthetic likelihood [a reply from the authors]

[Here is a reply from David, Chris, and Robert on my earlier comments, highlighting some points I had missed or misunderstood.] Dear Christian Thanks for your interest in our synthetic likelihood paper and the thoughtful comments you wrote about it on your blog. We’d like to respond to the comments to avoid some misconceptions. Your […]

## La peste et la vigne [book review]

During my trip to Cambodia, I read the second volume of this fantasy cycle in French. Which I liked almost as much as the first volume since the author continues to explore the mystery of the central character Syffe and its relations with some magical forces at play in his universe. As in most stories […]

## sorcerer to the Crown [book review]

Sorcerer to the Crown is an historical fantasy book by Zen Cho I got into buying by reading a review linking most positively it to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Obviously I should have known better, given that Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell was several years in the making, with both a very convincing reconstitution […]

## a new rule for adaptive importance sampling

Art Owen and Yi Zhou have arXived a short paper on the combination of importance sampling estimators. Which connects somehow with the talk about multiple estimators I gave at ESM last year in Helsinki. And our earlier AMIS combination. The paper however makes two important assumptions to reach optimal weighting, which is inversely proportional to […]

## error bars [reposted]

A definitely brilliant entry on xkcd that reflects upon the infinite regress of producing error evaluations that are based on estimates. A must for the next class when I introduce error bars and confidence intervals!

## Nature tea[dbits]

A very special issue of Nature (7 February 2019, vol. 556, no. 7742). With an outlook section on tea, plus a few research papers (and ads) on my principal beverage. News about the REF, Elsevier’s and Huawei’s woes with the University of California, the dangerous weakening of Title IX by the Trump administration, and a […]

## distributed posteriors

Another presentation by our OxWaSP students introduced me to the notion of distributed posteriors, following a 2018 paper by Botond Szabó and Harry van Zanten. Which corresponds to the construction of posteriors when conducting a divide & conquer strategy. The authors show that an adaptation of the prior to the division of the sample is […]

## how a hiring quota failed [or not]

This week, Nature has a “career news” section dedicated to how hiring quotas [may have] failed for French university hiring. And based solely on a technical report by a Science Po’ Paris researcher. The hiring quota means that every hiring committee for a French public university hiring committee must be made of at least 40% […]

## Le Monde puzzle [#1087]

A board-like Le Monde mathematical puzzle in the digit category: Given a (k,m) binary matrix, what is the maximum number S of entries with only one neighbour equal to one? Solve for k=m=2,…,13, and k=6,m=8. For instance, for k=m=2, the matrix is producing the maximal number 4. I first attempted a brute force random filling […]

## simulation fodder for future exams

Here are two nice exercises for a future simulation exam, seen and solved on X validated.The first one is about simulating a Gibbs sampler associated with the joint target exp{-|x|-|y|-a(y-x|} defined over IR² for a≥0 (or possibly a>-1). The conditionals are identical and non-standard, but a simple bound on the conditional density is the corresponding […]

## Le Monde puzzle [#1085]

A new Le Monde mathematical puzzle in the digit category: Given 13 arbitrary relative integers chosen by Bo, Abigail can select any subset of them to be drifted by plus or minus one by Bo, repeatedly until Abigail reaches the largest possible number N of multiples of 5. What is the minimal possible value of […]

## Le Monde puzzle [#1085]

A new Le Monde mathematical puzzle in the digit category: Given 13 arbitrary relative integers chosen by Bo, Abigail can select any subset of them to be drifted by plus or minus one by Bo, repeatedly until Abigail reaches the largest possible number N of multiples of 5. What is the minimal possible value of […]

## research outreach wants to improve my public image [ltd]

I have received this most bizarre email (links are mine): Dear Dr. Christian Robert, Please excuse the direct nature of this contact, however I would like to speak with you regarding your work on the Accelerating MCMC algorithms study. Research Outreach work in collaboration with research teams assisting with their Public Outreach activity, through means […]

## take a random integer

A weird puzzle from FiveThirtyEight: what is the probability that the product of three random integers is a multiple of 100? Ehrrrr…, what is a random integer?! The solution provided by the Riddler is quite stunning Reading the question charitably (since “random integer” has no specific meaning), there will be an answer if there is […]