Man vs Wild Data

I’m speaking on this topic at the Young Statisticians Conference, 7-8 February 2013.

If you’re a young statistician and live in Australia, please book in. It promises to be a great couple of days. Early registrations close on 2 January.

Abstract for my talk:

For 25 years I have been an intrepid statistical consultant, tackling the wild frontiers of real data, real problems and real time constraints. I have faced problems ranging from linguistics to river beds, from making paper plates to selling pies at the MCG, from tax office audits to surveys about the colour purple. University education helps prepare you to be a statistical consultant in the same way that Google maps helps prepare you to cross the Simpson Desert. You have some idea of the main features, but when you get there, nothing looks familiar.

I will describe some of my adventures, and explain how to bluff your way through ignorance, work with inadequate tools, and deal with smelly clients. I will tell you the story of the client who wouldn’t give me the data, the client who wouldn’t tell me the problem, and the client who wanted all meetings held at random locations for security reasons.

Along the way we will learn about the skills that statisticians need to survive in the wild.

YSC2013 funding support

Young Victorian statisticians should be attending the YSC conference in Melbourne in February 2013. It promises to be a great event, and the speaker line-up looks first-class (apart from one dodgy keynote speaker).

If you think you can’t afford it, there is good news! The local SSA Branch is offering financial support to selected young statisticians. Applicants must be student members of the Victorian Branch (to join, see Successful applicants will be given free conference registration. In addition, successful applicants from regional (non-Melbourne metropolitan) Victoria will be given funding to assist with accommodation, up to $200 based on actual costs.

Applications should be sent to the Secretary, Sandy Clarke: by 25th November. These should include

  • a brief CV;
  • a conference abstract;
  • a short justification (about 150 words) for receiving support, including what (if any) other financial support the applicant will be receiving.

The Young Stats Communication Challenge

The Australian Young Statisticians Conference (Feb 2013) is organizing a communication competition. They invite all early-career statisticians (studying, or within 5 years of graduation) to produce a short (3-5 minute) video for the ABS YSC2013 Video Competition, or a static infographic for the ABS YSC2013 Infographic Competition.

Both competitions have a 1st prize of $500, and 2nd prize of $250.

Entries close 16th November, and winners will be notified by mid-December.

Details available at:

I’m a speaker at the conference, so hopefully I will get to see some of the great entries!