Statisticians gather in numbers at International Conference, Apr 2005

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Statisticians gather in numbers at International Conference

Darling Harbour will be awash with numbers next week as almost 1,900 international statisticians gather to talk about how they can improve the practice of statistics and help to solve many of the world's problems in the process.

The 55th Session of the International Statistical Institute (ISI) will feature theme days on Statistics and Finance, Genomics Data and Environmental Statistics. The Session runs from Tuesday 5 April to Tuesday 12 April.

The Chairman of the Session's Organising Committee, Mr Dennis Trewin, who is the Australian Statistician, said the session will provide Australian statisticians and those connected to that field of study with a marvellous opportunity to hear of new ideas and to renew their professional network.

"Whether we know it or not, statistics have an effect on our day-to-day lives," said Mr Trewin.

"The water we drink, the food we eat, the buildings we live in, our transport, our health and our finances, are all intimately tied to statistics, a scientific profession that has its base in mathematics."

Mr Trewin said that the twin aims of the conference were to help build an awareness of statistics as an exciting profession amongst young Australians and to allow cross pollination of statistical research at the professional level.

"We have more than 100 young statisticians attending the Session and they will be taking a ringside seat in all the key presentations," said Mr Trewin.

"We need to encourage people to develop their statistical skills if Australia is to maintain its high ranking in the statistical world."

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is hosting the event which is part of the Bureau's Centenary Celebration program. The session is supported by SAS as the Premier Sponsor. CSIRO, Space Time Research are Major Sponsors. IBM and ValueMetrics Australia are also sponsors. AusAID has funded the participation of some statisticians from developing countries.

To assist media's coverage of the event, the ISI Media Highlights Summary is attached.
The detailed program is at
Media releases are at


Media are invited to attend these headline sessions or any others that they may wish to cover. There are about 1000 topics on all aspects of statistics from around the world. Many of them would have appeal to specialist writers. Not since 1967, when the Session was last hosted in Australia, has there been a concentration of statisticians in one place like this. If you wish to come, please free to call me or send me an email. If you turn up at the conference please register at the reception desk on arrival.
TV and radio please note: There will be splitter boxes ONLY in Harbourside Auditoriums 1 and 2.

Steve Dangaard
Director ABS Media and Public Affairs
PR Manager for ISI Conference. Tel: 0418 481 757
Email: Steve.
Detailed media releases at and detailed program at

Tuesday 5 April - Opening day
Opening Ceremony (Main Auditorium, Darling Harbour Convention Centre)
The opening speech will be delivered by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Hon. Chris Pearce MP. The ceremony will also include speeches by the President of the International Statistical Institute, Stephen Stigler; and the Chairman of the National Organising Committee and Australian Statistician, Dennis Trewin.

Wednesday 6 April - Environmental statistics theme day
Statistics, environmental health and environmental risk assessment
(Harbourside Auditorium 2)
This session will include the following presentations: The beginning of some exploratory environmental risk analysis; Quantifying uncertainty for environmental risk assessment; and Measuring pesticides, lead, allergens and other hazards in homes.
Statistical indicators measuring and influencing a nation's progress
(Skyline Room 2)
This session will include the following presentations: The construction of indicators; Measuring national progress; Measures of Australian Progress; National Progress Indicators - Sharpening the policy debate; and Growing Victoria together: when policy meet indicators.
Safeguarding the food chain
(Harbourside Auditorium 2)
This sessions will include the following presentations: Assessing the dietary intake of arsenic by villagers in Bangladesh; Linking stressor and response relationships in fish; The monitoring of agricultural pests and changes in aquatic life in agriculture; and Recent changes in the great lakes ecosystem.
Beyond Kyoto - the science, policy and impacts of climate change
(Harbourside Auditorium 2)
This session will include the following presentations: Climate change: facts? opinions? dilemmas?; Inferring climate from climate models; and Inferring human influence on climate.

Thursday 7 April
Statistics in Australia: growth and influence
(Harbourside Auditorium 1)
This session will include the following presentations: Australian official statistics, 1822-1945; Statistical research for science and industry - CSIRO; The influence on the ANU on Statistics in Australia; and Statistics in the State Universities.
ISI President's Invited Paper Meeting
(Harbourside Auditorium 2)
This session will include the following presentations: Uses and abuses of statistics in policy making (by Lord Robert May, President of the Royal Society of London); Ethics, confidentiality and data dissemination; and Statistics and the law.

Friday 8 April - Finance Statistics Theme Day
Cost, quality and relevance of financial statistics
(Harbourside Auditorium 2)
This session will include the following presentations: Future challenges for compiling balance of payment and international investment position; and Cost, quality and relevance of the BIS international financial services.
Statistics for life: what are the statistical ideas or skills that matter most and why?
(Harbourside Auditorium 1)
This session will include an expert panel and floor discussion.
Keynote address: "The changing statistical needs of Central Banks", Glenn Stevens, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia
(Harbourside Auditorium 2)
Using history to enhance the teaching of statistics
(Harbourside Meeting Room 3)
This session will include the following presentations: Taking fear out of data analysis; Probability and statistics ideas in the classroom; and Teaching probability via its history.

Saturday 9 April
Statistics on real estate prices: the need for a strategic approach.
(Harbourside Meeting Room 2)
Heading for official property price statistics in Germany - development of a house price index.
(Harbourside Meeting Room 2)
Access to micro data while securing confidentiality protection
(Pyrmont Room 2)
This session will include the following presentations: Advances in generations of synthetic microdata; Analysis of unit record heath data without violating privacy; and Homeland insecurity: data mining, terrorism detection and confidentiality.
Risk models and their interpretation
(Harbourside Auditorium 1)
This session will include the following presentations: Estimated risk of West Nile Virus associated transfusion transmission in Quebec; The prediction of transfusion associated AIDS cases; and Precautionary principal in the regulatory framework for blood safety.

Monday 11 April
Keynote address: Econometrics - A subset of statistics, by Nobel Laureate, Sir Clive Granger
(Harbourside Auditorium 2)
SAS®9 Software - Providing the Foundation for Analytic Intelligence, By Dr John Brocklebank, Senior Research and Development Director, SAS Institute Inc
(Harbourside Auditorium 2)

Tuesday 12 April - Genomics Theme Day
Interpretation of genomic data
(Harbourside Auditorium 2)
This session will include the following presentations: Composite likelihood estimation applied to Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP); and Mapping mouse genes for blood phenotypes arising from mutation screens.
Statistics for medical diagnosis
(Harbourside Auditorium 1)
This session will include the following presentations: Estimating the ROC curve of a diagnostic procedure when negative results are unverified; Analysis of high-throughput proteomic data for diagnostic cancer-biomarker discovery; and ROC curve analysis and medical decisions.
Long term health effects of exposure
(Pyrmont Room 1)
This session will include the following presentations: Describing age-time patterns in A-Bomb survivor cancer risks; Cancer mortality risk among workers at the Russian Nuclear complex Mayak; and Thyroid cancer in Belarus and Ukraine after the Chernobyl accident.
Privacy and statistical research in health, Professor Fiona Stanley, 2003 Australian of the Year. (Harbourside Meeting Room 1)
The session will include an experts panel discussion.