1504.0 - Methodological News, Sep 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/09/2008   
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ASB Staff Members Report on Recently Attended Seminars and Courses

COPPS Awardees give seminars in UOW

In July, MDMD staff were invited to attend seminars presented by two past winners of the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) Award. The seminars were hosted by the University of Wollongong's Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology.

Raymond J. Carroll, Professor of Statistics, Nutrition and Toxicology at Texas A&M University, spoke on "Score Tests in Semi-Parametric Models". He explained that, when working with semi-parametric models, performing score tests using the kernel method presents some problems. He explained how these problems can be overcome, and demonstrated, using an example involving the relationships between incidence of cancer, several genes and smoker status, that the use of his method increases the power of significance tests when there is an interaction between the effect of interest and the nuisance effect.

Xiao-Li Meng, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Statistics at Harvard University, spoke on "Statistics Can Lie But Can Also Correct for Lies: Reducing Response Bias in NLAAS via Bayesian Imputation". He presented his recent work, which was aimed at correcting for the effect of a form design hypothesised to encourage respondents to lie. The seminar was followed by a lively discussion, which revolved around the questions "why would you do this, when we have always known, and accepted, that people lie on surveys?" and "is user demand a 'good enough' reason to do methodologically questionable things?".

For more information, please contact Charity Liaw on (02) 62525578 or charity.liaw@abs.gov.au.

AMSI delivers course on Statistics for Resource Management and Environmental Science

The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) ran this year's Australian Graduate Theme Program in Mathematical Sciences at the St Lucia campus of the University of Queensland. Held for two weeks last July, the program offered two advance courses on the theme of 'Statistics for Resource Management and Environmental Science'.

There were two streams of lectures in the course, both presented by distinguished international researchers.

The first stream, "Statistical Tools for Environmental Problems" was presented by Peter Guttorp, Professor of Statistics and director of the Northwest Research Center for Statistics and the Environment, University of Washington. The lectures focussed on the use of spatial analysis techniques. Professor Guttorp supplemented the theory with plenty of examples using data on rainfall, carbon dioxide concentrations and ocean wave heights.

The second stream, "Modelling and Analysis of Event History Data and Applications" was presented by Vijay Nair, who is the Donald A. Darling Professor of Statistics and Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering in University of Michigan. His lectures explained the parametric and non-parametric methods of event history analysis. Professor Nair used many examples from engineering to supplement his talks and demonstrated the applicability to many other sources of data.

Steve Lane, a staff member from the Analytical Services Branch, attended the course and reports that there are many research problems in ASB to which these types of analyses may be applied.

For more information, please contact Steve Lane on (02) 62527833 or steve.lane@abs.gov.au.