Washington Statistical Society
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June 2006


A Commemorative in Honor of Joe Waksberg

On Monday, June 26, at 3:30 pm, WSS and Westat will sponsor a commemorative on the life of Joseph Waksberg, who died in January. The event will be held at the Keck Center of the National Academies, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Room 100, Washington, DC (close to Judiciary Square Metro Station).

The program will consist of recollections of his career, including:

  • The Census years — Dan Levine
  • Methodological innovations — Graham Kalton
  • Random Digit Dialing — Mike Brick.
  • Fun on Election night — Warren Mitofsky

    Family, friends, and colleagues also are invited to offer brief personal remembrances. A reception will follow. All are invited.

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    2006 Annual Dinner

    The WSS Annual Dinner will be held Thursday, June 22, at Maggiano's in Washington, DC. Further details are available in the flyer for the dinner (download the pdf). Vance Berger of the National Cancer Institute and winner of the Gertrude M. Cox Statistics Award, will be our guest speaker.

    As always, this event provides a great opportunity to spend time with friends and make new acquaintances. We look forward to seeing you there!

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    Steve Landefeld to receive the 2006 Julius Shiskin Award

    J. Steven (Steve) Landefeld, Director of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce has been selected as the recipient of the 2006 Julius Shiskin Memorial Award for Economic Statistics. He is being recognized for his leadership in strengthening the BEA economic accounts, enhancing the international reputation of BEA, and outstanding staff development. He becomes the 32nd person to be honored in the 27 years of this unique award for innovation in economic statistics research and applications. Dr. Landefeld will receive awards from the Washington Statistical Society at its annual dinner on June 22 and later from the National Association of Business Economists. He will also be recognized by the Business and Economics Section of the American Statistical Association at its annual meeting in August.

    Dr. Landefeld, BEA Director since 1995, has been a leading contributor to the development and improvement of economic statistics, in particular, the U.S. national income and product accounts and related economic accounts. Through innovative management of BEA, support of the U.S. statistical system, authorship of scholarly articles, and participation in government, business, and academic forums, he has improved economic statistics and advanced their use in interpreting the economy.

    In 1995, Steve developed, vetted with experts and the statistical user community, and implemented a strategic plan to move the GDP and related national economic accounts back into the forefront of the debate about economic growth. The plan remains as a guide today.

    Among the statistical innovations in the GDP accounts implemented pursuant to the plan are: the development and adoption of chained Fisher price and output indexes; the calculation of improved depreciation schedules for almost 200 types of capital equipment; and the treatment of software as investment. The adoption of chained Fisher price and output indexes eliminated a long-standing source of bias in the GDP accounts and has resulted in a reduction in revisions to the estimates. The U.S. took the lead internationally in implementing this recommendation of the United Nations guidelines, the System of National Accounts. The new depreciation schedules were based on extensive empirical analysis of used asset prices, recognizing the appropriate analytical framework for measurement. The capitalization of software allows the U.S. to properly account for the persisting contribution of information technology to today's economy. Dr. Landefeld guided those innovations as well as published, usually with BEA colleagues, more than a dozen articles justifying and explaining them.

    Steve also has been a leader in integration of the full range of U.S. economic accounts produced by different agencies, quicker provision of statistics, and education of the public through "plain English" explanations. A plan for eventual integration of the economic accounts is presented in A New Architecture for the U.S. National Accounts (2006), of which he is a co-author.

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    New Masters Program

    The Department of Applied and Engineering Statistics, George Mason University (website http://statistics.gmu.edu) announces a new masters program in epidemiology and biostatistics will join existing masters and doctoral programs in statistical science. The website is http://cnhs.gmu.edu/graduate/epibiostat.html. The Department also announces the following special graduate course offerings in summer and fall 2006 in addition to its regular offerings:

    Summer Session B June 6-July 27:

    STAT 789 TR 7:20 10:00 p.m.
    Prof. Sutton
    Bootstrapping/Resampling Meth.
    Prereq: STAT 554*

    Fall Session

    STAT 574 W 4:30 7:10 p.m.
    Dr. Kott
    Survey Sampling I
    Prereq: STAT 554*
    STAT 658 W 7:20 10:00 p.m.
    Prof. Bell
    Time Series Analysis
    Prereq: STAT 544 or 652**
    STAT 663 W 4:30 7:10 p.m.
    Prof. Car
    Statistical Graphics/Data Explor.
    Prereq: STAT 554*
    STAT 665 R 4:30 7:10 p.m.
    Prof. Davis
    Categorical Data Analysis
    Prereq: STAT 554*
    STAT 789 M 7:20 10:00 p.m.
    Prof. Rosenberger
    Advanced Biostatistics
    Prereq: STAT 544 or 652**

     * Applied Statistics
    ** Probability/Mathematical Statistics

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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 Summer issue of the WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than July 11, 2006. 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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