2019 NESS Symposium Report

The 33rd New England Statistics Symposium (NESS) was held at the Hartford Hilton hotel (May 15-17) and was hosted and organized by the Department of Statistics of the University of Connecticut (UConn).

The theme of the symposium was “Statistical Data Science in Action” and it featured a few “firsts”. For the first time the event spanned three days, instead of two. The first Chernoff award was given to Shaw-Hwa Lo from Columbia University. We were excited and honored to have Prof. Chernoff in the audience. For more information about the award, see https://nestat.org/hcaward/. We also had the first Travelers Stat-a-thon.

In total, close to 500 people registered for NESS 2019, including many from the industry, and many students. We had four successful short courses, and four plenary talks. Dr. Samuel Kou from Harvard University presented his talk on “Big Data, Google and Disease Detection: A Statistical Adventure”, and Drs. David Rosenberg and Amanda Stent (from Bloomberg) discussed “Machine Learning for Structured and Unstructured Data in Finance”. During the banquet Dr. Anthony D’Amico (from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham & Women’s Hospital) presented his work, titled “Improving Patient Outcomes in Prostate Cancer by Partnering Statistics and Medicine”, and Dr. Shaw-Hwa Lo gave the inaugural Chernoff lecture. We were delighted to celebrate Rick Vitale’s 75th birthday with a special session titled “Probability, Statistics and Geometry”, chaired by Dr. David Pollard (Yale University), with three distinguished guests speakers – Andrew Barron (Yale University), David Donoho (Stanford University), and Subhashis Ghoshal (North Carolina State University). The session was recorded, and can be viewed online at https://totalwebcasting.com/view/?func=VOFF&id=uconn&date=2019-05-17&seq=1. We closed the symposium with the award ceremony, which included the IBM Student Paper, Liberty Mutual Student Poster, and Travelers Stat-a-thon.

The event was supported by Munich Re Group - Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co.; Travelers Insurance; Liberty Mutual Insurance; Pfizer; IBM; Taylor-Francis; and the ASA CT Chapter. We are grateful to these generous sponsors, and to the many people who helped, including our enthusiastic group of graduate student volunteers, UConn’s University Events and Conference Services, the Hilton staff and PSAV team.

Report contributed from Dr. Haim Bar on behalf of the Organizing Committee.