Washington Statistical Society
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November 2008


Annual Holiday Dinner!!!

Wednesday December 17, 2008
6:00 to 9:00 pm
Finger Foods and Cash Bar

Please come join your friends and colleagues for a celebration of the holiday season.

The 2008 WSS Holiday Dinner will be held Wednesday, December 17, at the Gordon Biersch Brewery from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Finger foods (wings, hummus salad, pizza & artichoke hearts) and a and cash bar featuring Gordon Biersch Lagers. The Brewery is located at 900 F St, NW, D.C. - close to the Gallery Place Metro Station (green, yellow or red line).

The cost is $25 per person.

Register Online at https://www.123signup.com/register?id=zqyqt

or send cheque payable to WSS to: Yves Thibaudeau, 1037 17th St S, Arlington, VA 22202

If you have questions, please contact Yves at (301)-763-1706 or yves.thibaudeau@census.gov

Hope to see you there!

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Seminar Series
Administrative Data in Support of Policy Relevant Statistics

The Public Policy Program of the WSS, in partnership with the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology's Subcommittee on the Statistical Uses of Administrative Records, is pleased to announce the launch of a seminar series on "Administrative Data in Support of Policy Relevant Statistics." The series will run from Fall 2008 until Spring 2009, with approximately one seminar a month. The series will focus on federal statistical uses of state- and locally-held administrative records, often in concert with survey data, including for federal program evaluation and other policy relevant applications.

Confirmed seminars will cover Medicaid undercount issues, Earned Income Tax Credit impact on employment, improving recidivism research, and outcomes of students attending the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Seminars in the planning stages include examining Food Stamp eligibility and participation, innovations with the Quarterly Census of Employment, and others.

The first seminar will be: "Administrative Data in Support of Policy Relevant Statistics: The Medicaid Undercount Project." It will be held on November 13, 2008, in Room 8 of the BLS Conference Center. The full session abstract is provided below. Please put the first seminar on your calendar and watch this space for updated information each month. Direct any questions to Shelly Wilkie Martinez (rmartinez@omb.eop.gov) or Michael Cohen (MCohen@nas.edu).

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Call for Abstracts

Info-Fusion: Utilization of Multi-Source Data
Twelfth Biennial CDC Symposium on Statistical Methods
April 7-8, 2009

Statisticians, social and behavioral scientists, epidemiologists, economists, policy analysts, and other health researchers are invited to participate in the Twelfth Biennial Symposium on Statistical Methods to be held in Decatur, Georgia (Atlanta metropolitan area). The Symposium is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Statistical Association (ASA). The theme of the 2009 Symposium is "Info-Fusion: Utilization of Multi-Source Data." In conjunction with the Symposium, short courses will be offered on April 6, 2009 and announced at a later date.

Submission of abstracts is encouraged for contributed sessions of oral and poster presentations related to any of the following Symposium topic areas:

  • Application of analytic techniques to multiple data sources
  • Best practices in information fusion and biosurveillance
  • Statistical issues in bioterrorism and environmental tracking
  • Public health threat surveillance, monitoring, and assessment
  • Public health preparedness, emergency or disaster response
  • Spatial-temporal analysis of multiple information sources
  • Applications of health risk analysis, risk modeling, and decision science
  • Model assessment in large linked or networked data bases
  • Cutting edge analytics applied to public health data

To submit an abstract, go to:

Abstracts will be considered for either oral or poster presentation and must be submitted no later than December 15, 2008. The Symposium program will be determined by the end of January, after which authors will be notified of acceptance or rejection. For more information, please contact:

Drew Baughman
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road NE (MS C-25)
Atlanta, GA 30329
(404) 639-8198

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SAS - New Extensions

The Statistical Computing Section of WSS is jointly sponsoring with the DC SAS User Group, DCSUG, two presentations by Bob Rodriguez of SAS Institute. The talks, listed below, discuss statistical graphics and a new product, SAS Stat Studio. The talks will be held on Tuesday, December 9, 2008, from 9:15 to 11:45 in the BLS Conference Center. Further details for this presentation can be found at www.dc-sug.org (from Oct 1 onwards). On that website, DCSUG is currently promoting their September 9 morning & September 24 evening meetings.

All those who plan to attend must be on WSS or DCSUG entry list or have a BLS ID.

Getting Started with ODS Statistical Graphics in SAS 9.2
Robert N. Rodriguez, SAS Institute

SAS 9.1 introduced an experimental extension to the output Delivery System (ODS), which enabled over two dozen SAS/STAT and SAS/ETS procedures to create statistical graphics as automatically as they create tables. This extension, referred to as "ODS Graphics" for short, requires minimal additional syntax, and it provides commonly needed displays for data analysis and statistical modeling, including scatter plots, histograms, and box-and-whisker plots. Many ODS features, such as styles and destination statements, apply equally to tables and graphs.

With the production release of ODS Graphics in SAS 9.2, over sixty statistical procedures have been enables to use this new functionality. New SAS/GRAPH procedures, as well as existing SAS/QC procedures, also take advantage of this functionality. Additional ODS styles for statistical work are available. You can use a new point-and-click graphics editor to make changes to graphs, such as modifying titles and annotating points. This talk explains the basics of using ODS Graphics to create and manage graphs for data exploration and statistical analysis.

An Introduction to SAS Stat Studio
Robert N. Rodriguez, SAS Institute

SAS Stat Studio 3.1 is new statistical software in SAS 9.2 that is designed to meet the needs of innovative problem solvers who are familiar with SAS/STAT or SAS/IML but need more versatility to create customized analyses. Stat Studio provides a rich programming environment that blends the flexibility of the IML matrix language with the ability to call SAS procedures as functions and create customized dynamic graphics.

With Stat Studio, you can build on your familiarity with either SAS/STAT or SAS/IML to write programs that explore data, fit models, and use linked graphics to relate the results to the data. You can move seamlessly between programming and interactive analysis. If your programs use methods that are computationally intensive, you can run them simultaneously in multiple workspaces. This talk demonstrates how Stat Studio facilitates techniques that would otherwise be difficult with traditional SAS programming.

Biographical Sketch

Bob Rodriguez joined SAS in 1983 and is currently a senior director in SAS R&D with responsibility for the development of statistical software, including SAS/STAT and SAS/QC. He received his Ph.D. in statistics from the University of North Carolina in 1977, and was a staff research scientist at General Motors Research Laboratories from 1977 until 1983. Bob is active in the American Statistical Association, where he currently serves as vice president.

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Federal Committee On Statistical Methodology Statistical Policy Seminar

Beyond 2010: Confronting the Challenges
November 18-19, 2008

The Ninth in a Series of Seminars Hosted by COPAFS
(The Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics)

Participants will include statisticians, economists, and managers, as well as other professionals in the broader statistical community who share an interest in keeping current on issues related to federal data.

Support Provided by:

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis
  • Bureau of Justice Statistics
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Bureau of Transportation Statistics
  • Energy Information Administration
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Agricultural Statistics Service
  • National Center for Education Statistics
  • National Center for Health Statistics
  • Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics of the Social Security Administration
  • Statistics of Income Division of the Internal Revenue Service * U.S. Census Bureau * Science Resources Statistics/National Science Foundation


  • Statistical Uses of Administrative Records in Federal Agencies
  • Case Studies in the Statistical Uses of Administrative Records
  • Cell Phones: The New Frontier in RDD surveys
  • New Perspectives and Practices on Non-Response Bias Analyses
  • Current Issues in Privacy and the Safekeeping of Personally Identifiable Information
  • Survey Respondent Incentives
  • Current Trends in Access to Restricted-Use Data
  • Development and Management of Human and Institutional Capital in Statistical Organizations
  • 2010 Census Experiments
  • Issues of Data Capacity and Statistical Quality to Support Modeling and Micro-simulation Efforts
  • Making Survey Processes More Robust in Response to Funding Reductions
  • Using Paradata to Improve the Management of Survey Costs

Keynote Address: Hermann Habermann, Consultant

Location and Seminar Cost: L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024 Cost: $195.00 per person

For Further Information, Contact the COPAFS Office at: Phone: 703-836-0404 Email: copafs@aol.com Fax: 703-836-0406

The registration form is available at the COPAFS web site at: www.copafs.org

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Metadata Workshop Sponsored by NORC at the University of Chicago

The Next Frontier in Documenting Survey Data: What Data Producers and Archivists Need to Know about DDI, XML and SDMX

December 2, 2008
9:30am - 3:30pm EDT
4350 East West Highway Suite 800
Bethesda, MD 20814

Policymakers rely on statistical data to make good decisions. Data producers constantly strive to disseminate high quality and useful data. Recent breakthroughs in technology have made this task easier. The capture and exchange of information, namely, the effective management of metadata is now transformed by the availability of eXtensible Markup Language (XML); the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI); and the Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange Standard (SDMX). The combination of XML, DDI, and SDMX technologies provide a powerful set of tools for the management and dissemination of statistical data and documentation.

This free, 1-day workshop, sponsored by NORC at the University of Chicago, is intended for a non-technical audience and is targeted at data producers and archivists. The objectives of the workshop are twofold:

  • To provide an introduction to the basics of some emerging data documentation standards, such as the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI), eXtensible Markup Language (XML), and Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange Standard (SDMX) and
  • To encourage adoption of these emerging data documentation standards.

This metadata workshop will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to metadata and XML
  • The case for metadata standards: benefits, challenges, and the future of metadata
  • Introduction to the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) for the documentation of survey and administrative micro data
  • Essentials of the Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange Standard (SDMX) for the documentation of aggregate and time series data
  • DDI & SDMX interoperability and other important metadata specifications
  • Major contributors, users, tools, ongoing activities, next steps

This is a free workshop sponsored by NORC at the University of Chicago in collaboration with the Open Data Foundation.

PLEASE RSVP to Timothy M. Mulcahy by November 17, 2008
@ mulcahy-tim@norc.uchicago.edu
Or call 301-634-9352

Download the flyer (pdf)

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SIGSTAT Topics for Fall 2008

November 19, 2008: Survival Models in SAS: PROC PHREG Part 5

Continuing the series of talks based on the book "Survival Analysis Using the SAS System: A Practical Guide" by Paul Allison begun in October 2007, we'll finish Chapter 6: Competing Risks.

Topics covered are:

  1. Introduction
  2. Type-specific hazards
  3. Time in Power for Leaders of Countries: Example
  4. Estimates and Tests without Covariates
  5. Covariate Effects via Cox Models
  6. Accelerated Failure Time Models
  7. An Alternative Approach to Multiple Event Types

December 17, 2008: GeoDA

GeoDa is thelatest incarnation in a long line of software tools developed by Dr. Luc Anselin's Spatial Analysis Laboratory (SAL) in the Department of Geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. It is designed to implement techniques for exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA) on lattice data (points and polygons). The free program provides a user friendly and graphical interface to methods of descriptive spatial data analysis, such as spatial autocorrelation statistics, as well as basic spatial regression functionality. The latest version contains several new features such as a cartogram, a refined map movie, parallel coordinate plot, 3D visualization, conditional plots (and maps) and spatial regression.

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 December issue of the WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than November 10, 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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