Austin Chapter of the American Statistical Association

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February, 2005 Newsletter, by Linda Golden

Dr. William Cooper was our first speaker this year in a very well-attended meeting at the Sonic on Bee Caves Road. Many thanks to Bill for speaking to us.

Welcome to four new members who joined at the last meeting: David Morton (Associate Professor in OR), Georgios Chimonides (Research Assistant at UT, Mathematics), Jing Ai (Teaching/Research Assistant at UT, MSIS), and Liwen Chen (Teaching Assistant at UT).

There was an Executive Meeting and Business Meeting right before the Speaker's Meeting with discussion around:

  1. Having fewer meetings each year, as other chapters do (a suggestion discussed)
  2. The upcoming ENAR Conference in Austin on March 19-22
  3. The completion of the Constitutional changes from last year, which Di Michelson is maintaining on our website.
  4. The desire to attract new members and making sure we meet the needs of existing members
  5. Introduction of President-Elect Paul Damien to Austin ASA history
  6. Paul Damien made a plea to members to pay their dues to facilitate speakers from other cities (outside of those already coming to UT which we are co-sponsoring at no cost with UT for our upcoming April and May meetings)

As a result of these discussions and the general meeting that followed, I would invite anyone interested to organize an Austin ASA reception around the ENAR meeting in Austin in March. I will not be in Austin on those dates, but will support and facilitate a chapter mixer. It was suggested that the chapter could organize an "open bar" reception (so as to not cost the chapter). If anyone is interested in doing that, please let me or another Executive Committee member know. ENAR's presence in Austin brings a major organization of relevance close at hand. To volunteer for the ENAR Conference March 19-22 in Austin please contact As I understand it, volunteering will bring you both fame and fortune (recognition and savings through reduced tutorial costs, waiver of registration, etc.).

With respect to membership attention and expansion, if anyone is interested in heading or serving on a committee to identify current membership needs and direct expansion efforts (government and business, as well as other interested persons), please let me know. I would like to begin work in this direction, if desired by the membership, this summer. Volunteers, please!

Many thanks to Chandler Stolp who has been reserving the LBJ School for us--we'll be back there at a later date. Di has volunteered to send out a monthly newsletter. You will also receive information from other members on other local statistical activities of interest, including those from Tom Sager. If there is any information you wish to have Di include in the newsletter, please contact her at

While Pat Brockett will be speaking on February 24th, we will also have a new opportunity for a "statistical round table discussion" at that meeting. Please come with your statistical issues that you might be "working on" either at work or out of personal interest, so there can be an open membership discussion on topics/problems of interest. You can ask your ASA colleagues how they might approach a particular problem/issue. Pat Brockett will be allowing time for such a discussion.

Everyone's involvement and ideas are welcome--this is your organization. Please let me or any other Executive Committee member know of ideas or activities you have that we can respond to or promote.

There are several ASA meetings planned for February, March, April and May, beginning February 24th. They are listed below:

  1. February 24, 6:30p--Dr. Patrick L. Brockett, UT-Austin--"Information Theoretic Approaches to Probability and Statistics: A Unifying Philosophical Approach"--at the Sonic on Bee Caves (as per the first meeting). More information on the Meetings page.
  2. March 23rd--Nils-Eric Sahlin--"Evidentiary Value Model"--time and place will be forthcoming from Paul Damien (VP Programs/President-Elect). Background Information: The Evidentiary Value Model will be presented and discussed. The formal theory was originated in the early 1970's and has since then been developed and applied. There are many competing theories of evidence and to see the advantages with the Evidentiary Model it will be compared to, for example, Shafer's Mathematical Theory of Evidence and the traditional Bayesian theory.
  3. April 29, 12-1:30p--Dr. Rob McCulloch, University of Chicago--to be held at UT-Austin McCombs Business School--more information forthcoming from Paul Damien
  4. May 6, 12-1:30p--Dr. Nick Polson, University of Chicago--to be held at UT-Austin McCombs Business School--more information forthcoming from Paul Damien.
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