2004 VIGRE Graduate Student Travel Fund Recipients

Victor Panaretos

Under the VIGRE grant, I was able to attend the 27th Annual Conference of Research Students in Probability and Statistics, organized by the research students of the Department of Probability and Statistics, University of Sheffield, from the 19th to the 22nd April 2004. The conference is an annual event, taking place at a British university, designed to give postgraduate statisticians an appropriate forum to present their research. Participants are typically PhD students, or postdoctoral researchers. Most participants originate from British Universities, although many are from other European universities. Interestingly, I was the only participant from a U.S. university. I happened to be in England, visiting the University of Oxford around the time of the conference, so I decided to attend it in order to get a feeling of the focus of research in Probability of Statistics in Britain. At the conference, I chaired a session on statistical and probabilistic modeling in medical research. The majority of talks had to do with applications in biology and medicine (biostatistics, statistical genetics, clinical trials e.t.c.). I was especially interested in some talks on the statistical theory of shape, a field introduced by D.G. Kendall in a paper of his in 1977. In all, I had the chance to attend certain stimulating presentations, view where statistical research in Britain is centered around, and last, but certainly not least, socialize. I met many of my future colleagues there, most importantly those with similar research interests to mine. Some of those I had met the previous year, while chairing a session on the EM algorithm at a similar meeting held at Cambridge. Building a network of colleagues around the world is, I believe, something crucial for one’s academic career. Victor Panaretos, June 23, 2004