American Statistical Association, San Antonio Chapter: January 2005 Newsletter



San Antonio ASA Chapter Newsletter

January 2005, Vol 18, No. 2



*** Announcing a Short Course on Fitting Tree Models, January 28 ***

Title: Fitting Tree Models Using the rpart Library: An Introduction to Classification Tree Models in the Statistical Package R

Presenter: Dr Steven E Stern, Associate Professor, School of Finance and Applied Statistics, The Australian National University (

Date and Time: 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM Friday, January 28, 2005

Location: Room 2.106, Allied Health Building, South Texas Medical Center, 8403 Floyd Curl Drive. For a map visit (

Cost: $50 at the class in cash or by check payable to "San Antonio ASA Chapter". Scholarships are available for a limited number of students upon request.

Advance registration requested by e-mail to Ken Williams,

R software will be available on PCs in the classroom reserved on a first to register basis. Anyone wishing to do the in-class exercises on their own laptop may install R and Rpart from ( or from a CD which will be available at 8:00 AM at the classroom.

Course Description: We introduce the basic concepts and methodology of classification tree models using the graphical and statistical R programming environment. The course will begin with an introduction to the R language and packages, in particular the implementation of the rpart library for classification tree models. Basic graphical and analytical tools will be introduced to help participants understand the processes of building, analyzing and assessing classification tree models.

Topics will be approached from a conceptual and intuitive framework, but will also give some of the foundational methodological details, allowing those interested participants to learn some of the underpinnings of the theory behind tree models. A hands-on approach will be stressed, participants being taken through a real data example. For those interested, the data file and the R software will be made available to allow for direct, interactive application of the presented material.

Course Outline:

  1. Introduction to R
    1. Basic commands
    2. Basic graphics
    3. User-defined functions
    4. Available libraries
  2. Introduction to Trees
    1. Intuitive Example
    2. The methodology of tree model building
    3. Model selection and tree pruning
    4. Diagnostics and tree model assessment
  3. A Real, "Live" Example

**** Ethics, Confidentiality and Data Dissemination ****

Dr. Hermann Habermann, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Bureau of the Census will speak on "Ethics, Confidentiality and Data Dissemination" at the UTSA 1604 Campus on Thursday, January 20 at 2pm. Everyone interested is invited to attend. See the attached word document for more details.

**** ASA President to Visit San Antonio Chapter ****

Our chapter hopes to set a date soon for ASA President Fritz Scheuren to visit our chapter. The visit is tentatively scheduled for the week of February 28th. Watch this newsletter for more details.

**** Conference of Texas Statisticians 2005 ****

This year the Conference of Texas Statisticians (COTS) will be held at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas on April 1-2. The conference is jointly sponsored by the Department of Statistical Science, SMU and the North Texas Chapter of the ASA. Please visit ( for program and registration details as they become available.

*** ASA Traveling Course Application Submitted ***

The San Antonio Chapter recently submitted an application for the 2005 Traveling Course titled "Applied Nonlinear Statistical Methods" by Dr. Timothy E. O'Brien. If we are chosen to receive this course our chapter will be one of three area chapters to host this event later this spring. Watch this newsletter for more information.

*** Volunteers Needed to Judge 2005 Alamo Regional Science and Engineering Fair ***

The date is Monday, March 7, 2005. The location will be the Municipal Auditorium. Each year the San Antonio Chapter of ASA sends volunteers to judge the senior high division for best application of statistics. Judging is from 8 am to 12 noon and lunch is provided free of charge. No experience necessary. If you can help, please contact the San Antonio Chapter Judging Coordinator, Howard Monroe at ( or (210) 656-9058.

*** Job Opening ***

The attached job description is for an Associate Director, Biostatistics and is located in San Antonio. Contact Rebecca Gonzalez at for more information.

*** Upcoming Conferences in the Area ***


San Antonio ASA Chapter Officers 2004-2005:

Visit the San Antonio ASA website (; Webmaster: Ginny deWolf,

***End of newsletter*******

Last Update: January 22, 2005