Washington Statistical Society
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Decenber 2008

Contents:



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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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

Volunteers are needed at different times between March and June 2009 -- to judge entries in the Curtis Jacobs Memorial Prize for Outstanding Statistics Project; to judge entries in the WSS Statistical Poster Competition; and to judge science fair projects at the regional science fairs in Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and the District of Columbia. The WSS needs you to volunteer now for any one or all three!

The WSS has a longstanding and active program of reaching out to elementary and secondary school students to encourage them to gain an understanding and appreciation of Statistics. We do this in part by sponsoring two annual competitions - the Curtis Jacobs Memorial Prize and the WSS Statistical Poster Competition - and by awarding prizes at the annual regional high school science fairs.

Since 1986, WSS has provided special awards at the five regional science fairs to students whose projects demonstrate excellence in data analysis or the application of statistical methods. The fairs are held on Saturdays in March. They need volunteers willing to devote one Saturday morning to interact with students, judge their projects, and give them some guidance and encouragement. Those who have participated in these activities have very much enjoyed meeting the students, talking with them, and seeing the widely diverse projects they have presented. Last March, 27 of your fellow WSS members judged and awarded prizes to projects in Behavioral and Social Sciences, Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Environmental Management, Medicine and Health Sciences, and Animal Sciences. If you are interested in being a science fair judge, contact Bob Clickner at Robertclickner@westat.com, or 301-294-2815.

The Curtis Jacobs Award program focuses on gathering information and analyzing for making decisions. Entries are typically due in May; judges review and score the entries at their convenience and transmit their evaluations and scores by late May. If you are interested in volunteering to judge the entries, contact Tom Krenzke at TomKrenzke@westat.com or 301-251-4203.

The poster competition is open to students in grades K-12 and entries may be in any area of statistics. Judging is typically in May or June. If you are interested in judging, contact Cammy Fine at Cammy.Fine@ey.com or 202-327-7730, or Ryan Petska at Ryan.Petska@EY.com or 202-327-7245.

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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:
http://www.amstat.org/meetings/cdcatsdr

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
Dbaughman@cdc.gov

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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 a new product, SAS Stat Studio and the new Bayesian capabilities of SAS 9.2. 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).

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

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 is included with SAS/IML and 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 presentation demonstrates how Stat Studio facilitates techniques that would otherwise be difficult with traditional SAS programming.

Overview of Bayesian Computing in SAS/STAT® 9.2
Robert N. Rodriguez, SAS Institute

Bayesian techniques are prominent in modern statistical modeling, and SAS/STAT 9.2 provides two avenues to Bayesian computing. The first is support for Bayesian analysis that has been added to three existing procedures: GENMOD, LIFEREG, and PHREG. With a small number of additional options, you can conveniently specify prior distributions; generate posterior samples; and request convergence diagnostics and posterior summaries.

The second avenue is the MCMC procedure, which is experimental in SAS 9.2. This is a general purpose simulation procedure that uses Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods to methods to fit Bayesian models that do not have closed-form posterior distributions. You use programming statements to specify prior distributions and likelihood functions. This presentation provides a brief overview of this new functionality and demonstrates the output with basic examples.

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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Master Program Spring 2009 Courses
Department of Mathematics
College of Arts and Science
University of District of Columbia
4200 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.

Department of Mathematics of the University of the District of Columbia offers Master of Science in Applied Statistics Program Starting fall 2009.

During the spring of 2009 (January 14-May 13) the Master of Science Program will be launched with the following courses:

*1535- 573 SURVEY OF PROBABILITY AND STATISTICS (3 CREDITS) Thursday 5:30-8:20 P.M. Room 212F, Bldg.42

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is a survey of statistics and probability. Topics include: design of experiments and data production; descriptive techniques for univariate and bivariate data; measurement error; probability and probability distributions; sampling error and its measurement; introduction to estimation, hypothesis testing, and probability models; and tests.

PREREQUISITE: Admission to the Master of Science in Applied Statistics Program.

* Note: This course is designed for students who have a good mathematics background and wish to enroll in the MS program without having a previous course work in statistics or formal experience in the practice of statistics.

1535-574 PROBABILITY THEORY (3 CREDITS) Friday 5:30-8:20 P.M. Room B01-28, Bldg.32

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course provides an introduction to the mathematical theory of probability. Topics include: combinatorial analysis; conditional probability; stochastic independence; probability distributions of random variables; probabilistic foundations of statistics; limit theorems; and the law of large numbers.

COREQUISITE: Survey of Probability and Statistics, or Math 1535-381(Probability and Statistics) or permission of the Department

PREREQUISITE: Calculus II

For Applications contact: Office of Graduate Admission, University of District of Columbia, (202) 274-6110.

For more information, contact: Dr. Aroona S. Borpujari (Program Coordinator); 202-274-5390; aborpuja@udc.edu; OR Dr. Vernise Steadman (Chairman, Department of Mathematics); 202-274-6151; vsteadma@udc.edu.

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Nominations for the Waksberg Award

The journal Survey Methodology has established an annual invited paper series in honor of Joseph Waksberg to recognize his contributions to survey methodology. Each year a prominent survey statistician is chosen to write a paper that reviews the development and current state of an important topic in the field of survey methodology. The paper reflects the mixture of theory and practice that characterized Waksberg's work. Previous winners have been Gad Nathan (2001), Wayne Fuller (2002), Tim Holt (2003), Norman Bradburn (2004), J.N.K. Rao (2005), Alastair Scott (2006), Carl-Erik S rndal (2007), and Mary Thompson (2008). The winner of the 2009 Waksberg Award is Graham Kalton of Westat Inc. Graham Kalton will give the 2009 Waksberg Invited Address at the Statistics Canada Symposium to be held in the autumn of 2009.

The author of the 2010 Waksberg paper will be selected by a four-person committee appointed by Survey Methodology and the American Statistical Association. Nominations of individuals to be considered as authors or suggestions for topics should be sent before December 31, 2008 to the chair of the committee, Leyla Mohadjer, by email to leylamohadjer@westat.com or by fax +1 (301) 251 4254.

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Nominations Sought for 2009 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 2008 award recipients were William R. Bell and Robert M. Groves. Dr. Bell was recognized for his innovative statistical research that led to improved economic statistics through important contributions to the theory and practice of seasonal adjustment, small area estimation, and time series modeling; Dr. Groves was recognized for his innovative statistical research that led to improved economic statistics through important contributions to the theory and practice of survey methods for the conduct of sample surveys of both households and establishments.

Because the program was initiated many years ago, 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 2009 award are now being accepted. Individuals and 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. For questions or more information, please contact Steven Paben, Julius Shiskin Award Committee Secretary, via e-mail at paben.steven@bls.gov or phone at 202-691-6147. Completed nominations must be received by April 1, 2009.

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SIGSTAT Topics

December 17, 2008: GeoDA Part 1
(https://www.geoda.uiuc.edu/)

GeoDa is the latest 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.

January 21, 2009: GeoDA Part 2
(https://www.geoda.uiuc.edu/)

GeoDa is the latest 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.

Continuing the December discussion, this month will cover:

  • Spatial Data Manipulation
  • EDA Basics, Linking
  • Brushing Scatter Plots and Maps
  • Multivariate EDA Basics
  • Advanced Multivariate EDA

February 11, 2009: GeoDA Part 3
(https://www.geoda.uiuc.edu/)

GeoDa is the latest 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.

Continuing the January discussion, this month will cover:

  • ESDA Basics and Geovisualization
  • Advanced ESDA
  • Basic Rate Mapping
  • Rate Smoothing
  • Contiguity-Based Spatial Weights

March 18, 2009: What's New in SAS 9.2
(http://support.sas.com/documentation/whatsnew/index.html)

Someof the enhancements in the latest release of the SAS System include new language features and procedure options, ODS Statistical Graphics (previously experimental), which are now in production; a new family of SAS/GRAPH procedures that use ODS Graphics to create standalone plots; new procedures in SAS/STAT software; jackknife and BRR variance estimation and domain analysis provided by the survey data analysis procedures; the PANEL procedure in SAS/ETS which expands the estimation capability of the TSCSREG procedure in the time-series cross-sectional framework; and SAS Stat Studio, new software for data exploration and analysis, providing a flexible programming environment in which you can run SAS/STAT or SAS/IML analyses and display the results with dynamically linked graphics and data tables.

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 January issue of the WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than December 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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