Washington Statistical Society
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October 2005


President's Letter

I am honored to be serving as president of the WSS for the year that began at the end of June. WSS, the largest ASA chapter, also is a very active chapter. With several seminars each month and other special events scattered throughout the year, the opportunities for professional and social interaction with other statisticians in the DC area are many and varied.

I hope to make this a year in which WSS provides even more service to its members. The Board of Directors has added an additional program area, Human Rights, and the program chairs are Wendy Rotz of Ernst and Young and Robie Sangster of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I already have filled some vacant program chair positions, and I have asked the program chairs to organize at least 3 seminars in the coming year. Of course, some sections will easily surpass that goal.

Although we plan to be even more active this year, that does not mean you have to pay more. In fact, for the second year in a row, the Board has reduced dues. As reported in the September newsletter, beginning in January, the dues will be $7 for ASA members and $9 for associate members. This is a $3 reduction and is made possible by the transition to the electronic newsletter.

Another priority this year also was a priority for John Czajka last year attracting new members. To that end, John is working with a committee he appointed to not only attract new members, especially those in our area who recently joined ASA, but also to welcome new WSS members. WSS also wants to reach out to the student community. I plan to follow the Boston chapter's lead and have WSS become an affiliate chapter of Mu Sigma Rho, the national honorary society for statistics. We will work with the local universities to encourage student membership in both Mu Sigma Rho and WSS.

One more thing. Having a steady stream of new volunteers is critical to our continued vitality as the organization that we all know. If you have not volunteered in any capacity previously, I urge you to think about doing so. Or think about giving or organizing a seminar. If you are interested, you can contact me at nctucker@cox.net 202-691-7371.

Let's make this a great year and thank John for a great year last year!

Clyde Tucker

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WSS Audit

The audit of the WSS financial statements for July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004 has been completed. The auditor thanks the Treasurer for this period, Erin Whitworth Dyal, and the current Treasurer, John M. Finamore, for providing copies of the necessary records. The auditor gives very special thanks to John M. Finamore for two invaluable letters providing a detailed reconciliation of the financial accounts for this period.

The auditor also examined the WSS tax returns for fiscal year 2002 (July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003) and for fiscal year 2003 (July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004).

Both treasurers acknowledge that WSS had additional unexplained revenue during fiscal year 2002 in the amount of $4,479.50. This amount is included in the fiscal year 2003 tax return as "other income (bank account reconciliation)." The auditor did not find any further discrepancies.

As of June 30, 2004, the WSS had an account balance of $36,616.42. Of this, $17, 513.16 was in a checking account, and $1,207.56 and $17,895.70 were in two fixed term CDs.

Michael P. Cohen, WSS Financial Auditor

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2005 Science Fair Winners

SS presented awards to 57 Washington area students at five regional science fairs this spring, in the District of Columbia, Fairfax County, Montgomery County, Northern Virginia, and Prince George's County. Since 1986, WSS has been recognizing students whose science fair projects demonstrate excellence in the application of statistical methods. Since 1996, The Gallup Organization has made an annual donation of $1000 for prizes. This year, a total of $600 was divided among 5 first place winners (prizes ranged between $75 and $150) and the balance used to purchase ASA school memberships for the winners' schools. There were 9 second place winners and each received a copy of Statistics: A Guide to the Unknown, third edition, by Tanur, et al. All first and second place winners also receive a one-year subscription to STATS magazine. Others received certificates of honorable mention. The judging was coordinated by Bob Clickner. Thanks to all WSS members who volunteered as judges. They are: Lee Abramson, Jeff Bailey, Dwight Brock*, Gene Burns, Promod Chandhok, Bill Cleveland, Bob Clickner, Michael Cohen*, Mike Fay, Gloria Gridley*, Gene Heyman, Tzu-Cheg Kao, Jurate Landwehr, Ruey-Ping Lu, Lou Mariano, Michael Messner, Fred Olson, Arnold Reznek, John Rogers, Wendy Rotz, Sid Schwartz*, Stuart Scott, Mike Stoto, Glenn White* and Lorie Wijntjes. (* Chief Judge).

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The 2005 Morris Hansen Lecture
November 2, 2005

The fifteenth annual Morris Hansen Lecture will be delivered by Donald B. Rubin of Harvard University. The title of his lecture will be "Causal Inference Through Potential Outcomes: Application to Quality of Life Studies with 'Censoring' Due to Death and to Studies of the Effect of Job-Training Programs on Wages." The discussants will be Graham Kalton of Westat, Inc. and Edward L. Korn of the National Cancer Institute. Carol House of the National Agricultural Statistics Service will give opening remarks, and Trena Ezzati-Rice of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will serve as the Chair. The Hansen Lecture series is sponsored by the Washington Statistical Society, Westat, Inc., and the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Abstract of the lecture: Causal inference is best understood using potential outcomes, which include all post-treatment quantities. The use of potential outcomes to define causal effects is particularly important in more complex settings, i.e., observational studies or randomized experiments with complications such as noncompliance. This lecture deals with the issue of estimating the casual effect of a treatment on a primary outcome that is "censored" by an intermediate outcome, for example, the effect of a drug treatment on Quality of Life (QOL) in a randomized experiment where some of the patients die before their QOL can be assessed. Because both QOL and death are post-randomization quantities, they both should be considered potential outcomes, and the effect of treatment versus control on QOL is only well-defined for the subset of patients who would live under either treatment or control. Another application is to an educational program designed to increase final test scores, which are not defined for those who drop out of school before taking the test. A further application is to studies of the effect of job-training programs on wages, where wages are only defined for those who are employed, and thus the effect of the job-training program on wages is only well-defined for the subset of individuals who would be employed whether or not they were trained. Some empirical results are presented from Zhang, Rubin, and Mealli (2004), which indicate that this framework can lead to new insights because the analysis is not predicated on traditional econometric assumptions.

About the lecturer: Donald B. Rubin is the John L. Loeb Professor of Statistics and former Chairman of the Department of Statistics at Harvard University, where he has taught for over 20 years. Professor Rubin has over 300 publications, including several books, on a variety of topics, including causal inference, missing data, sample surveys, computational methods, Bayesian statistics, and applications in many areas of social and biomedical science; and he is among the most highly cited mathematical scientists in the world. Among his many honors and awards, he is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a past John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, a member of the International Statistical Institute and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a past Fisher Lecturer at the Joint Statistical Meetings, and a recipient of two of the most prestigious awards available to statisticians: the Samuel S. Wilks Medal of the American Statistical Association and the Emanuel and Carol Parzen Prize for Statistical Innovation. Professor Rubin holds an A.B. degree (psychology) from Princeton University, and M.S. (computer science) and Ph.D. (statistics) degrees from Harvard.

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Second NIU Workshop on Longitudinal Data Analysis
October 20-21, 2005

The Division of Statistics at Northern Illinois University (NIU) is pleased to host the second workshop (the first was held in November, 1997) with the theme of "Recent Developments in Longitudinal Data Analysis With Emphasis on Missing Data."

As before, it will be led and taught by Dr. Edward F. Vonesh of Baxter Healthcare Corporation, who is a leading researcher in the area with over twenty five years of experience in the healthcare industry.

The number of participants is limited to forty. For more details on the scientific content, registration, accommodation and other logistics, please see http://www.niu.edu/CLASEP.

For any remaining questions or concerns, please contact Mohsen Pourahmadi at pourahm@math.niu.edu or (815) 753-6829.

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SIGSTAT Topics for October 2005 to March 2006


October 19, 2005: MATLAB

MATLAB is a high-level language and interactive environment that enables you to perform computationally intensive tasks faster than with traditional programming languages such as C, C++, and FORTRAN. MATLAB is used extensively throughout many fields.

Shawn Bucholtz will give a discussion of the use of MATLAB for econometric analysis, focusing specifically on Spatial Econometric models. He will discuss various MATLAB toolboxes, including those available to ERS researchers, and his thoughts on the MATLAB user community. He will give a brief overview of the MATLAB Distributed Computing Engine and Toolbox.

November 9, 2005: SAS PROC POWER

The new POWER procedure performs prospective power and sample size analyses for a variety of goals, such as the following: determining the sample size required to get a significant result with adequate probability (power); characterizing the power of a study to detect a meaningful effect; and conducting what-if analyses to assess sensitivity of the power or required sample size to other factors. Linda Atkinson will be the speaker.

December 14, 2005: SAS PROC MDC

The MDC (Multinomial Discrete Choice) procedure analyzes models where the choice set consists of multiple alternatives. The procedure supports conditional logit, mixed logit, heteroskedastic extreme value, nested logit, and multinomial probit models. Charlie Hallahan will be the speaker.

January 11, 2006: SAS PROC QUANTREG

The QUANTREG procedure models the effects of covariates on the conditional quantiles of a response variable by means of a quantile regression. Ordinary least-squares (OLS) regression models the relationship between one or more covariates X and the conditional mean of the response variable Y given X=x. Quantile regression extends the regression model to conditional quantiles of the response variable, such as the median or 90th percentile. Charlie Hallahan will be the speaker.

February 8, 2006: SAS PROC ENTROPY< The ENTROPY procedure implements a parametric method of linear estimation based on Generalized Maximum entropy. The ENTROPY procedure is suitable when there are outliers in the data and robustness is required, or when the model is ill-posed or undetermined for the observed data, or for regressions involving small data sets. Charlie Hallahan will be the speaker.

March 8, 2006: SAS PROC GLIMMIX

The GLIMMIX procedure fits statistical models to data with correlations or nonconstant variability and where the response is not necessarily normally distributed. These models are known as generalized linear mixed models (GLMM). The GLMMs, like linear mixed models, assume normal (Gaussian) random effects. Conditional on these random effects, data can have any distribution in the exponential family. In the absence of random effects, the GLIMMIX procedure fits generalized linear models (fit by the GENMOD procedure). Charlie Hallahan will be the speaker.

SIGSTAT is the Special Interest Group in Statistics for the CPCUG, the Capital PC User Group, and WINFORMS, the Washington Institute for Operations Research Service and Management Science.

All meetings are in Room S3031 (Food Safety and Nutrition Room), 1800 M St, NW from 12:30 to 1:30. Enter the South Tower and take the elevator to the 3rd floor to check in at the guard's desk.

First-time attendees should contact Charlie Hallahan, 202-694-5051, hallahan@ers.usda.gov and leave their name. Directions to the building and many links of statistical interest can be found at the SIGSTAT website, www.cpcug.org/user/sigstat/

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Email Delivery

If you did not receive this issue electronically and you have not notified us that you wish to receive the newsletter in hardcopy, please send your preferred email address to svm@mitre.org and indicate that this is your address for the WSS newsletter. To continue to receive the newsletter in hard copy, contact the WSS secretary at courtney.nreiser@census.gov or (301) 763-4142.

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the December issue of the WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than October 25, 2005. E-mail items to Michael Feil at michael.feil@usda.gov.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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