Washington Statistical Society
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February 2008

Contents:



WSS Audit Report, FY06

The audit of the WSS financial and income tax statements for tax year 2006 (from July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007) has been completed. The statements were found to be in order. The audit committee thanks Treasurer Daniell Toth for his service and cooperation.

As of June 30, 2007, WSS had assets totaling $73,481.34. $17,581.34 was in a checking account and $55,900 was in a fixed term CD connected to the Hansen fund. Total tax year 2006 WSS revenues were $71,985, of which $50,000 was in support of the Hansen fund.

Stuart Scott and Clifton Bailey, WSS Audit Committee

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Nominations Sought for 2008 Gertrude M. Cox Award

The Gertrude M. Cox Award Committee is seeking nominees for the 2008 Gertrude M Cox Award. Established in 2003 through a joint agreement between the Washington Statistical Society (the Washington DC chapter of ASA) and the statistician in early to mid-career (roughly no more than 12 years after terminal degree) who has already made significant contributions to statistical practice. It is presented at the Washington Statistical Society (WSS) Annual Dinner (generally held in June) with the recipient delivering the keynote address at that dinner on a topic of general interest to the WSS membership.

The award is in memory of Gertrude M. Cox (1900-1978), who in the 1950's , when Head of the Department of Experimental Statistics at North Carolina State College, played a key role in establishing Mathematical and Biostatistics Departments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Statistical Division at the newly founded not-for-profit Research Triangle Institute (RTI). She served as president of the ASA in 1957.

This award is made possible by funding from RTI, and the recipient is chosen by a 6 person committee-3 each from RTI and WSS. This year's committee from RTI consists of Nabil El- Khorazaty, Moshe Feder, with Paul Levy (RTI Chair), and from WSS consists of Karol Krotki, Michael P. Cohen (WSS Chair), and Jill Montaquila. It consists of a $1000.00 honorarium, travel expenses to attend the WSS dinner, and a commemorating plaque containing the WSS logo. Past recipients have been Sharon Lohr, Alan Zaslavsky, Tom Belin, Vance Berger, and Francesca Domenici.

Please email your nominations to Michael P. Cohen (mpcohen@juno.com) and Paul S. Levy (levy@rti.org) by Feb 15, 2008.

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2008 Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship

Applications due by April 15, 2008! The Government Statistics Section (GSS) and Social Statistics Section (SSS) of ASA are pleased to announce the availability of a scholarship in memory of Wray Jackson Smith, a founding member of the GSS and long-time contributor to Federal statistics. The Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship (WJSS), co-sponsored with the Washington Statistical Society, the Caucus for Women in Statistics, Harris-Smith Institutes, Mathematica Policy Research, and Synectics for Management Decisions, Inc., is intended to reward promising young statisticians for their diligence, thereby encouraging them to consider a future in government statistics. Everyone is encouraged to seek out promising candidates and to urge them to apply.

Type of Project

The WJSS Award provides funding of $1,000 for use in exploring any of a broad number of opportunities for furthering the development of a career related to government statistics. Applicants are encouraged to be creative in seeking support for a wide variety of uses, including:

  • Tuition, board, and books for courses or short courses
  • Conference attendance
  • Purchase of books, software, data sets, or other supporting materials for research projects related to government statistics.
Activities may relate to any level of government, including Federal, state, and local governmental units. They must be statistical in nature, focusing on data, methodology, analysis, or data presentation. Recent award winners have used the WJSS to fund attendance at the Joint Statistical Meetings, support continued public policy research, and to take short courses to better understand and analyze data for current research.

Application

To apply for a WJSS Award, the following information must be sent to the Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship Committee by April 15, 2008:

  • A completed WJSS Application Form
    (see: http://www.amstat.org/sections/sgovt/) for current year's form and click on the format you want to use)
  • A proposal of activity to be funded
  • Academic transcript (for current/recent students) or job performance reviews for the past 2 years (for non-students) or equivalent proof of superior academic and/or professional performance
  • Two letters of recommendation.

Please send materials to:

Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship Committee
&nsp;   c/o Michael P. Cohen
&nsp;   1615 Q Street NW #T-1
&nsp;   Washington DC 20009-6310 USA

or electronically to: mpcohen@juno.com

Selection Process

The WJSS Committee, consisting of a total of three GSS and SSS members, will review each proposal, based on an established rating scheme, and select the awardee. Each application will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Stage in Career
  • Past Performance
  • Quality of the Proposed Activity
  • Relevance of Activity to Government Statistics
  • Innovation/Ingenuity of the Proposed Project
  • Feasibility of Completion of Activity
  • Two Letters of Recommendation

Announcements of the awardees are made by June 1, 2008. All applicants are notified by e-mail.

Eligibility

The WJSS is targeted at students and persons early in their career in government statistics. Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree or equivalent level of education. Membership in the Government Statistics Section, Social Statistics Section, or in the ASA is not required. For more information, contact Mike Cohen by e-mail: mpcohen@juno.com

Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship Committee

The Committee for 2008 consists of Michael P. Cohen (Chair) [mpcohen@juno.com], Robert A. Kominski [Robert.A.Kominski@census.gov], and Stephen Campbell [Stephen.Campbell@nist.gov]. The Committee members thank Juanita Tamayo Lott for her invaluable advice and assistance.

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Herriot Award Nominations Sought

Nominations are sought for the 2008 Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics. The award is intended to reflect the special characteristics that marked Roger Herriot's career:

  • Dedication to the issues of measurement;
  • Improvements in the efficiency of data collection programs;
    and
  • Improvements and use of statistical data for policy analysis.

The award is not limited to senior members of an organization, nor is it to be considered as a culmination of a long period of service. Individuals at all levels within Federal statistical agencies, other government organizations, nonprofit organizations, the private sector, and the academic community may be nominated on the basis of their contributions.

The recipient of the 2008 Roger Herriot Award will be chosen by a committee comprising representatives of the Social Statistics and Government Statistics Sections of the American Statistical Association, and of the Washington Statistical Society. Roger Herriot was associated with and strongly supportive of these organizations during his career. The award consists of a $1000 honorarium and a framed citation, which will be presented at a ceremony at the Joint Statistical Meetings in August 2008. The Washington Statistical Society will also host a seminar given by the winner on a subject of his or her own choosing.

The previous recipients of the Roger Herriot Award are Joseph Waksberg (Westat), Monroe Sirken (NCHS), Constance Citro (CNStat), Roderick Harrison (Census Bureau), Clyde Tucker (BLS), Thomas Jabine (SSA, EIA, CNStat), Donald Dillman (Washington State University), Jeanne Griffith (OMB, NCES, NSF), Daniel Weinberg (Census Bureau), David Banks (FDA, BTS, NIST), Paula Schneider (Census Bureau), Robert E. Fay III (Census Bureau), Nathaniel Schenker (NCHS), and Nancy Kirkendall (EIA).

Nominations for the 2008 award will be accepted beginning inebruary 2008. Nomination packages should contain:

  • A cover letter from the nominator that should include references to specific examples of the nominee's contributions to innovation in Federal statistics. These contributions can be to methodology, procedure, organization, administration, or other areas of Federal statistics, and need not have been made by or while a Federal employee.
  • Up to six additional letters in support that demonstrate the innovative nature of each contribution.
  • A current vita for the nominee, including contact information.

Both individual and group nominations may be submitted. The committee may consider nominations made for the 2007 award, but it encourages resubmission of those nominations with updated information.

For more information, contact Brian Harris-Kojetin, Chair, 2008 Roger Herriot Award Committee, at 202-395-7314, or bharrisk@omb.eop.gov. Completed packages must be received by April 1, 2008. Electronic submissions in MS-Word or as a "pdf" file are strongly encouraged. Please contact the chair if you need to make arrangements to fax or mail a nomination.

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The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award

On receiving the Roger Herriot Award in June 2001, Jeanne E. Griffith said:

One of the most rewarding aspects (of Federal statistics) for me was the opportunity to promote creative activities and energies among my staff When I have had the blessing to mentor young people in their careers, I have tried to emphasize (that) only they, themselves, can make the most of (the) .chances that life presents.

Dr. Griffith died in August 2001 after working for more than 25 years in the Federal statistical system. Throughout her career, and especially in her latter senior management positions at the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Science Foundation, one of Jeanne's highest priorities was to mentor and encourage younger staff at all levels to learn, to grow, and to recognize and seize career opportunities as they came along.

The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award has been established to encourage mentoring of younger staff in the Federal statistical system. It is presented annually, beginning in 2003, to a supervisor who is nominated by co-workers and supervisors, and chosen by the Award Selection Committee.

The award is co-sponsored by the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy, the Council for Excellence in Government, the Washington Statistical Society, the Social Statistics and Government Statistics Sections of the American Statistical Association, and the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics.

Nominations for 2008 will be accepted beginning in January 2008. The last date for submission of nominations is March 28, 2008, and the Award Committee will make its determination of the award winner by May 9, 2008. The award will consist of a $1,000 honorarium and a citation, which will be presented at a ceremony arranged by the co-sponsors in June 2008.

The winning mentor will be selected for his or her efforts in supporting the work and developing the careers of younger staff. Examples of typical mentoring activities include:

  • Advising junior staff to help them create career opportunities, networking skills, and contacts for growth and development;

  • Counseling junior staff and providing resources to help develop their technical writing, analysis, presentation and organizational skills and knowledge;

  • Encouraging junior staff growth and career development through attendance and oral presentations at meetings with higher level officials, staffs of other agencies, professional associations, training courses, and conferences;

  • Motivating junior staff and building self confidence through feedback on their efforts, being a listener when that is needed, and creating a caring and supportive environment;

  • Serving as a role model for junior staff through professional expertise, information and insights, balancing collegial and personal roles, and including everyone across rank, race, ethnicity, and seniority.

For further information on the award, contact Ed Spar, Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS) by phone: 703-836-0404; fax: 703-836-0406; or by e-mail at copafs@aol.com. The nomination cover sheet and guidelines form-or a photocopy of it-should be attached to a nomination memorandum or letter. Forms can be obtained by contacting Ed Spar, or by downloading from the COPAFS website at http://www.copafs.org. All nominations should be returned to the Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award Committee, c/o COPAFS, 2121 Eisenhower Avenue, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314 no later than March 28, 2008.

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Nominations Sought for 2008 Julius Shiskin Award

Nominations are invited for the annual Julius Shiskin Memorial Award for Economic Statistics. The Award is given in recognition of unusually original and important contributions in the development of economic statistics or in the use of statistics in interpreting the economy. Contributions are recognized for statistical research, development of statistical tools, application of information technology techniques, use of economic statistical programs, management of statistical programs, or developing public understanding of measurement issues. The Award was established in 1980 by the Washington Statistical Society (WSS) and is now cosponsored by the WSS, the National Association for Business Economics, and the Business and Economics Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association (ASA). The 2007 award recipient was Arthur Kennickell, Senior Economist and Head of the Microeconomic Surveys Unit at the Federal Reserve Board, for his leadership of the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances and his achievements as an international expert on the design and implementation of household economic surveys.

Because the program was initiated many years ago, it is little wonder that statisticians and economists often ask, "Who was Julius Shiskin?" At the time of his death in 1978, "Julie" was the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and earlier served as the Chief Statistician at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Chief Economic Statistician and Assistant Director of the Census Bureau. Throughout his career, he was known as an innovator. At Census he was instrumental in developing an electronic computer method for seasonal adjustment. In 1961, he published Signals of Recession and Recovery, which laid the groundwork for the calculation of monthly economic indicators, and he developed the monthly Census report Business Conditions Digest to disseminate them to the public. In 1969, he was appointed Chief Statistician at OMB where he developed the policies and procedures that govern the release of key economic indicators (Statistical Policy Directive Number 3), and originated a Social Indicators report. In 1973, he was selected to head BLS where he was instrumental in preserving the integrity and independence of the BLS labor force data and directed the most comprehensive revision in the history of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which included a new CPI for all urban consumers.

Nominations for the 2008 award are now being accepted. Individuals or groups in the public or private sector from any country can be nominated. The award will be presented with an honorarium of $750 plus additional recognition from the sponsors. A nomination form and a list of all previous recipients are available on the ASA Website at www.amstat.org/sections/bus_econ/shiskin.html or by writing to the Julius Shiskin Award Committee, Attn: Monica Clark, American Statistical Association, 732 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-1943. Completed nominations must be received by April 1, 2008. For further information contact Steven Paben, Julius Shiskin Award Committee Secretary, at paben.steven@bls.gov.

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Capital Science 2008

The Washington Academy of Sciences and its Affiliates Present Capital Science 2008 to be held March 29-30, 2008.

On Saturday and Sunday, March 29-30, 2008, The Washington Academy of Sciences and its Affiliated Societies (including WSS) will hold the third in the series of biennial pan-Affiliate Conferences, Capital Science 2008. It will be held in the Conference Facility of the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA at the Ballston Metro stop. With about 20 of the Affiliates participating, the Conference will serve as an umbrella for scientific presentations, seminars, tutorials, and talks. These pan-Affiliate Conferences underline the fact that the Washington, DC area is not only the political capital of the country but, in many respects, the nation's intellectual capital -- with several major universities and government laboratories that are the homes of an astonishing number of Nobel laureates.

Keep checking theWeb site http://www.washacadsci.org/capsci08/Index.htm for more information as it becomes available.

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Seminar on Survey Respondent Incentives: Research and Practice

L'Enfant Plaza Hotel
Washington, DC

Hosted by the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics

Incentive payments to survey respondents have been used extensively for many years to improve response rates. Considerable research evidence supports the value of monetary incentives to increase cooperation and improve the speed and quality of response in a broad range of data collection efforts. In 1992, a Symposium on Providing Incentives to Survey Respondents, hosted by the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS), brought together a broad spectrum of survey research professionals from government, business, academia, and research organizations to focus on these issues in detail to review the "state-of-the art." (To read the report go to: www.members.aol.com/copafs/incentives.htm). Since that time, the use of respondent incentives in survey practice has increased dramatically across all sectors. Yet there has been no professional forum since the 1992 symposium that has sought to bring survey professionals together with a specific focus on these issues. The purpose of the proposed seminar is to fill that void.

The first session of the seminar will describe current practices in the use of respondent incentives across the three major domains of surveys: 1) surveys sponsored by federal agencies; 2) surveys conducted by academic investigators, including those funded by federal or other grants; and 3) surveys sponsored and conducted by private sector organizations and commercial establishments. Session two will be a panel discussion bringing together survey research professionals who have conducted and are knowledgeable of major research, practices and trends on the use of respondent incentives in government, academic, commercial surveys. The theme of this session is: who, what, where, when, why and how do we pay? The panelists will focus in detail on what we are doing and what we know about the use of respondent incentives.

The concluding session will bring together a panel of survey researchers who have had considerable experience in the design and implementation of sample surveys. They will attempt to consolidate and synthesize the seminar discussion, identify common elements/themes, and suggest future directions for implementation and research.

Seminar Registration: $125.00. For a copy of the program and registration information contact COPAFS at copafs@aol.com or call COPAFS at 703-836-0404 and ask for Edward Spar or Lee Ann Sklar. The program and registration form are also available at the COPAFS site at: http://www.copafs.org

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Students' Corner

Some time ago, my classmate Yang Yang (the one who solved the Math Challenge) asked me whether I knew about LaTeX. As a full-time student, she was already working on her thesis, and was required to do it in LaTeX. I had already been thinking that an introduction to LaTeX might be a good topic for this column. So for this month's installment of the Students' Corner, I'll report on what I have learned about LaTeX.

As is often done these days, I started my investigation of LaTeX using Google and Wikipedia. I quickly found that there are many LaTeX tutorials out there, but that they assumed that you were able to compile LaTeX on your computer. I also learned that pdflatex is a program that converts LaTeX files to PDF files, and that it is already installed on the Linux machines that I have access to. But I wanted to be able to run LaTex at home on my own computer; I didn't want to have to log onto the university's computer (even remotely) to run pdflatex. And I suspect that, like me, most of my fellow students have Windows rather than Linux running on their home PCs or on their laptops.

Therefore, I'll present here a short tutorial just on getting started with the mechanics of compiling a raw LaTeX file into a finished PDF rendering, on a Windows PC. I'm hoping that this will enable you to start the following "loop": edit a raw LaTeX file, compile it into a PDF file, view the results for possible errors and/or desired modifications, and then edit the LaTeX file again, and iterate the process. In this tutorial, we'll install two software packages: (1) MiKTeX, which is a LaTeX compiler; and (2) TeXnicCenter, which provides a graphical user interface to MiKTeX. Afterwards, I'll give references for learning more on LaTeX itself.

First, a bit of background that I have gathered from a brief Google/Wikipedia investigation. Donald Knuth, a Stanford mathematician and computer scientist, invented TeX in the late 1970's/early 80's, a computer-based typesetting system. TeX is very powerful and complex, and therefore has a steep learning curve. Shortly thereafter, Leslie Lamport, also a mathematician with a computer science bent, devised a set of macros built on top of TeX that simplifies the user's interface to TeX. This set of macros is called LaTeX, which is pronounced "Lay-Teck." LaTeX is very good for scientific publication, because it enables you to generate publication-quality renderings of mathematical equations, and because it helps you manage your references. One of my professors (Lei Nie, now with the FDA) even uses LaTeX rather than PowerPoint to create slide presentations for his lectures.

Here are the steps that I used to install MiKTeX and TeXnicCenter on my Windows laptop:

1. Install MiKTeX.
I decided to go with the 2.7 beta version of MiKTeX. Click on this link to download the 2.7 distribution: http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/miktex/basic-miktex-2.7-beta-5 .exe?download. This link will probably be good for only the next few months; my guess is that the link will change once 2.7 becomes official. If the above link no longer works, go instead to the home page for MiKTex and search for the download page: http://www.miktex.org. After you've downloaded the MiKTeX installer, run it, perhaps by double-clicking on its icon or perhaps by selecting "Open" in your downloader. Install it in an appropriate directory; for example, I installed mine under "C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.7". (Note: you'll need administrator privileges to install software on a computer. If you attempt to install software without having administrator privileges, you'll probably get an error message; in this case, you'll need to ask your system administrator to do the installation for you.)

2. Install TeXnicCenter.
Here I decided to go with the beta version, too. Click on this link to download the 1 beta 7.01 distribution: http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/texniccenter/TXCSetup_1Beta7_0 1.exe?download. And here's the main home page for TeXnicCenter, for the time when the above link no longer works: http://www.texniccenter.org/. As with MiKTeX, run the TeXnicCenter installer, perhaps by double-clicking on its icon, and install it in an appropriate directory. For example, I installed mine under "C:\Program Files\TeXnicCenter."

3. Start up TeXnicCenter.
You should see a window that looks like the following picture. You will be greeted by a "Tip of the Day" window, shown below to the left. Read the tip, then dismiss the window by clicking on the Close button. (Interestingly, one of these tips informed me that a Windows implementation of pdflatex comes with the MiKTeX distribution. I did indeed find it in MiKTeX's 'bin' subdirectory; see (b) in the next step.)

4. Configure TeXnicCenter.
You need to do this only once.
(a) Configuration Wizard Welcome.
This window (shown below, to the right) comes up automatically the first time you run TeXnicCenter. Quickly read the text in this window, then click on the Next button.

(b) Distribution Directory.
This is the most important step in TeXnicCenter's configuration.
Type in the directory where the MiKTeX executable files are to be found; or click on the little square button next to the entry field (the button with the ellipses "..."), and browse to the MiKTeX 'bin' folder. Since I had installed MiKTeX in "C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.7", the appropriate location for me to type in was "C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.7\miktex\bin", as shown in the figure. If you've installed MiKTeX in the same folder as I have, this will be what you need to type in. (At first, I had typed in the main MiKTeX installation folder itself "C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.7" here. But the TeXnicCenter installer complained that it couldn't find executables such as latex.exe, so I used the Windows Search function to find the MiKTeX subfolder containing .exe files.) Then click on the Next button.

(c) PostScript-Viewer.
Thereare three entry fields in this window (shown below, to the left), all of them optional. If you don't have a PostScript viewer or don't know what one is, just click on the Next button.

I happened to have a PostScript viewer (Ghostscript) installed on my computer, so I have filled in the first entry field indicating where to find the it, as shown in the figure below, to the right. But it's okay to leave this field blank, because it is not crucial. (You will still be able to generate PDF files to view.)

(d) Finish.
Finally, you get the Finish window. Quickly read the text in this window just for your information, then click on the Finish button.

5. Enter LaTeX content.
Open a new LaTeX document by selecting File --> New in the TeXnicCenter window. This will pop up a new window in TeXnicCenter named "LaTeX1". Type in (or simply cut and paste) the following LaTeX code into the "LaTeX1" window.

\documentclass{article}
\begin{document}
This is quite possibly the simplest LaTeX file.
\end{document}

Select File --> Save, and save this tiny LaTeX document to a file named "sample.tex".

6. Compile the LaTeX content.
Select LaTeX => PDF (see the black arrow in the preceding figure). Then select Build --> Current File --> Build.

Any error messages will be shown in the log window at the bottom of the TeXnicCenter window (similar to the Log window in SAS). If all went well, a new file named "sample.pdf" will be created in the same directory where you saved "sample.tex". Open it as you would any PDF file and inspect the contents.

And that's all there is to it! Now that you've learned the mechanics of converting a raw .tex file to a finished PDF file, the next step is to learn more about LaTeX itself, and for this I must refer you to other sources, including the tutorials that I found online. One place to start looking is at the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN; reminds me of CPAN and CRAN): http://www.ctan.org/. Also, you can find several LaTeX tutorials online by doing a Google search with the following search parameters: latex (primer OR introduction OR tutorial) or perhaps latex (primer OR introduction OR tutorial) filetype:pdf to restrict the search only to PDF documents. See especially the tutorial by David R. Wilkins at http://www.maths.tcd.ie/~dwilkins/LaTeXPrimer/GSWLaTeX.pdf., Also see the review by Nick Shah: http://medbiograd.sa.utoronto.ca/pdfs/vol3num2/30.pdf (Links given above were good as of December 16, 2007; as always, be advised that links on the web are ephemeral.)

If you're writing a thesis, check out the extensive LaTeX learning materials that the folks at Iowa State have developed: http://css.ait.iastate.edu/Tex/.

Examples are always useful; a template for Iowa State's thesis format can be found here: http://css.ait.iastate.edu/Tex/isuthesis.html. See also the tutorial "Writing a Thesis with LaTeX" by Joe Struss: http://css.ait.iastate.edu/Tex/Tex/thesis1c.pdf.

For more on rendering mathemtical equations, see the "Short Math Guide for LaTeX" by Michael Downes: ftp://ftp.ams.org/pub/tex/doc/amsmath/short-math-guide.pdf., George Gr tzer's "Math into LaTeX": http://tex.loria.fr/general/mil.pdf and Scott Pakin's "The Comprehensive LaTeX Symbol List": http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~shaoml/symbols-a4.pdf. For a lengthier treatment on LaTeX, see "The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX," by Oetiker, Partl, Hyna, and Schlegl.

Yang says that she relied heavily on this particular document. http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/info/lshort/english/lshort.pdf. Also consider Leslie Lamport's book "LaTeX: A Document Presentation System".

As an aside,a co-worker of mine brought to my attention a LaTeX editor called "Led": http://www.latexeditor.org/. Led appears to be an alternative to TeXnicCenter; you will still need to install MiKTeX first.

Now, I am admittedly very much a LaTeX newbie, but I hope that what I have learned and presented here will be of use to at least some my fellow students. And I do encourage my fellow students to give LaTeX a try. It is a good thing to know how to do. And you might even be required to use it for your thesis!

That's all for this month. If you have any feedback on this column or ideas for future topics, please email me at jmm97@georgetown.edu. As always, your thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

Joe Maisog
Georgetown University / Medical Numerics

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SIGSTAT Topics for Spring 2008

February 13, 2008: Survival Models in SAS: PROC LIFEREG Part 3
(http://www.sas.com/apps/pubscat/bookdetails.jsp?pc=55233)

Continuing the series of talks based on the book "Survival Analysis Using the SAS System: A Practical Guide" by Paul Allison, in November we'll start Chapter 4: Estimating Parametric Regression Models with PROC LIFEREG. Topics discussed are:

  1. Left censoring and interval censoring
  2. Generating predictions and hazard functions
  3. The piecewise exponential model

March 12, 2008: Rasch measurement using SAS procedures

The Rasch measurement model is a latent-trait item response theory model that is being used increasingly to assess and develop multiple-indicator measures of social, psychological, and other phenomena outside of the educational testing field where most of the development of such models has occurred. Specialized software exists to fit response data to Rasch and related models, but for some applications, SAS procedures can also be used. Joint (or unconditional) maximum likelihood models (JML) can be estimated using SAS PROC LOGISTIC. A new STRATA option in PROC LOGISTIC makes it possible to estimate conditional maximum likelihood (CML) models. Marginal maximum likelihood (MML) models can be estimated using PROC NLMIXED. The talk will be presented by Mark Nord.

April 16, 2008: Survival Models in SAS: PROC PHREG Part 1
(http://www.sas.com/apps/pubscat/bookdetails.jsp?pc=55233)

Continuing the series of talks based on the book "Survival Analysis Using the SAS System: A Practical Guide" by Paul Allison, in November we'll start Chapter 5: Estimating Cox Regression Models with PROC PHREG. Topics discussed are:

  1. The proportional hazards model
  2. Partial likelihood
  3. Tied data

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, 1800 M St, NW from 12:00 to 1:00. Enter the South Tower & 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 & many links of statistical interest can be found at the SIGSTAT website, http://www.cpcug.org/user/sigstat/.

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the March issue of the WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than February 15, 2008. 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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