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Published three times a year, the ISI Newsletter provides a broad overview of the Institute's activities, and also includes additional information of interest to statisticians. The Newsletter is sent to all members of the ISI and its Sections (approx. 5,000) as part of their membership.
Editors: Mr. D. Berze and Ms. S. Mehta, Graphic Designer: Mr. H. Lucas
In this online Issue Message from the President Message from the Director News of Members Special Announcement In Memoriam Historical Anniversaries: A.A. Markov Awards, Prizes and Competitions Memories of the ISI's Past Africa Celebrates Statistics Week Calendar of Events News from ISI sections Volume 30, No. 2 (89) 2006
Message from the President
Travel Problems: Costs, Accessibility
International travel has always been easier for some members of the ISI and its Sections than for others. Some members can easily afford the price, because the necessary distance is short and/or they or their organisation can easily afford the costs. In recent years, prices of air travel have decreased dramatically, in itself making international gathering easier for many members. For others, the cost and/or effort of travelling is just prohibitive. The ISI has facilitated travel support programmes for many years and, for a short while, we even found it prudent to sponsor travel support for some members from developing countries using the ISI's own funds. We will continue our efforts to identify external sources of funding so that members may apply for travel funds where they exist, although such opportunities are scarce and will never satisfy demand.
The other main obstacle for meeting consists of political restrictions in the free movement of individuals, even for as peaceful purposes as participating in ISI activities. These restrictions are regulated by visa policies and some countries are administering these with what looks like deliberately complex application procedures. There is nothing new in this in principle, but the affected countries' citizens feel these restrictions change all the time.
The ISI cannot lift the visa restrictions of the world. However, we do need to be aware of all circumstances that inhibit movement and participation in ISI supported activities. These should be organised in varying parts of the world so that no member finds the travel distance to be prohibitively restrictive for every conference opportunity. It should be avoided to have meetings at locations where some members cannot obtain entry permission and meeting organisers should be aware of any problems in the actual procedures, particularly time-consuming application procedures. Prospective participants should be informed of visa requirements early and effectively. An attempt should be made to ease the sometimes lengthy and complicated procedure involved as much as possible for participants. Most host countries are (as they should be!) proud of welcoming us to attend their events.
Message from the Director
Special attention is being focussed by the ISI Executive Committee, the ISI Finance Committee, the ISI Investment Committee and the ISI Permanent Office on the ISI’s financial health and the representation of accounting documentation. An international organisation such as the ISI must provide an attractive array of products and services that respond to members’ present needs, and still be financially sustainable over the long term. Several changes have already taken place in order to achieve these goals, and several more will be announced in the near future. Members are invited to review the ISI’s 2005 annual accounts, which can be found at https://www.isi-web.org/404?Nlet/images/N89-EC-April-2006-27b.pdf . While it is promising to note that in 2005 the net annual result is again positive, we must continue efforts to balance ‘income’ and ‘expenditure’, reducing our dependence upon annual investment results and instead using such income and earmarked reserves to generate additional products and services for the membership. Each item of our operations will be assessed individually to ensure that we have a transparent impression of our operational components.
Dr. Kees Zeelenberg
In connection with his departure from Statistics Netherlands to pursue other career ambitions, Dr. Jarig van Sinderen has recently announced that he will be stepping down as Co-Editor of the International Statistical Review. We are grateful to Dr. van Sinderen for his editorial contributions. I am pleased to announce that the new Editor of the International Statistical Review is Dr. Kees Zeelenberg, Director of the Methodology Department at Statistics Netherlands. We welcome Dr. Zeelenberg, who will join Professor Eugene Seneta as Co-Editor.
Dr. Agnes Herzberg
Dr. David Bellhouse
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Agnes Herzberg, who has served as Editor of Short Book Reviews for 25 years. Dr. Herzberg has never missed a production deadline, has worked hard to deliver high quality and timely book reviews, whilst co-ordinating her loyal international editorial team. Many thanks! As of July 2006, Dr. David Bellhouse will take over the editorial responsibilities of Short Book Reviews, beginning with the first 2007 issue. It is important to note that in 2007 Short Book Reviews will be merged with the International Statistical Review, and will no longer be available as a separate publication. Additional details will follow in future issues of the Newsletter.
Mr. Michael Leeuwe
There are some notable changes to the composition of the ISI Permanent Office that I would like to bring to your attention. New ISI Permanent Office staff member Mr. Michael Leeuwe has recently assumed senior responsibility for the ISI’s accounts. We welcome Michael and urge members to contact him at @cbs.nl should they have any questions about their membership dues or subscription payments.
After 32 years of dedicated service, Ank Lepping has obtained a legendary status as an ISI Permanent Office staff member. Ank will be retiring from the ISI in July of this year, joining her husband in their home in southern France. A tribute to Ank can be found elsewhere in this Newsletter.
Preparations for the 56th ISI Session in Lisboa are intensifying. Please take a look at the Lisboa Session website for details regarding the Session, including the Invited Paper Meetings programme, the ‘Special Topic Contributed Paper’ Meetings, Satellite Meetings, accommodation options and other relevant details at http://www.isi2007.com.pt. An ISI Lisboa Session promotional booth will be present at many forthcoming ISI/Section events in the coming months. Please do drop by and collect information about this special forthcoming event.
The ISI is continuing its successful series Briefing Seminars for Chief Statisticians, providing an opportunity for recently appointed National Statistical Offices’ Chief Statisticians and Deputy Chief Statisticians to obtain a ‘bird’s-eye view’ of the international statistical system and to discuss issues of contemporary importance to all NSO leaders. The forthcoming Briefing Seminar will take place on 4 - 5 September in Ottawa, Canada, in conjunction with the IAOS Conference in Ottawa. Please refer to the ISI website at https://www.isi-web.org/404?events/briefing.htm for further details about the Briefing Seminar.
Mr. David Morganstein
I am pleased to announce that the new chairman of the ISI Professional Ethics Committee is Mr. David Morganstein. Mr. Morganstein will spearhead the ISI’s efforts to focus more attention on ethics issues of relevance to the international statistical community, and plans are in the works for an Open Meeting on statistical ethics during the ISI Lisboa Session, with other activities to follow.
If you have not yet visited the ISI ‘Members Only’ website, please do so via the ISI home page (https://www.isi-web.org/404?). The login access code has now been changed. Please refer to the hard copy Newsletter for the new access code.
For those members who have not already done so, please remember to pay your 2006 membership dues. We still have a significant number of members who have outstanding dues. We apologise for the errors that were included in some members’ invoices, in which optional publications prices were incorrectly indicated, and have contacted these members individually. If you have any questions about your invoice or the status of your account, please contact Michael Leeuwe at @cbs.nl.
Mrs. Ank Lepping
Ank Lepping: A Tribute
When I started my first job back in the 1980’s, it was my naïve intuitive impression that the success of any organisation was more dependent upon the institutional framework existent in that organisation than on the persons employed by the institution. In the course of time I have come to learn otherwise, not only that the cumulative contributions of all employees determine the ultimate success of an organisation, but that it is the particular contributions of special employees who repeatedly go ‘over and above the call of duty’ that make an organisation successful.
Looking back at the past three decades (and more) of the ISI Permanent Office’s operations, the contributions of one person in particular have made a considerable difference. Ank Lepping joined the ISI Permanent Office on August 20, 1974, and during the past 32 years, Ank has become an institutional legend in terms of her contact with the membership, her long-term institutional memory, and her in-depth knowledge of ISI affairs. Ank has herself often jokingly stated that in the course of 32 years she has become ‘part of the furniture’ in the ISI Permanent Office. While Ank might seem to have grown to become a special permanent staff fixture, in no way can she be said to be a mere static embellishment to the ISI organisation.
Ank has climbed from her beginnings as a ‘Staff Typist’ back in 1974, to that of ‘Secretary to the Director’ in the 1980’s, and in the 1990’s (to the present) her responsibilities included that of ‘Office Manager’, including personnel matters as well as being ‘Desk Editor’ for the Bernoulli journal. At the ISI Permanent Office, we have had the advantage of Ank’s considerable linguistic abilities; Ank being proficient in English, French and German, in addition to her mother tongue Dutch.
Ank is particularly known for her administrative problem solving abilities and has put out many ‘fires’ in the course of her career. Never one to wait until asked to make a contribution, Ank has often jumped into the thick of the problems in order to propose solutions and then help realise them quickly and efficiently. Ank is renowned for her work ethic, arriving early in the morning (always on time), putting in a full working day and then some. Ank’s attendance rate is impeccable and on those (fortunately) very few occasions when she was indeed ill, Ank preferred to work through her discomfort at the office, fulfilling her responsibilities on time. Ank has always taken her work tasks seriously, and has fulfilled each task given to her in a professional and thorough manner.
Ank has participated in the ISI Sessions in Buenos Aires, Madrid, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Paris, Cairo, Florence, Beijing, Istanbul, Helsinki, Seoul, Berlin and Sydney, and knows all the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of the organisation and execution of an ISI Session. Also at the ISI Permanent Office, Ank has been the ‘fountainhead’ of information about the ISI and its administrative procedures.
Fortunately for all those who have been in contact with Ank, she has not only been a competent and effective employee, but also a very pleasant personality to work along side of. Ank has demonstrated considerable social skills. She is a good ‘listener’, paying acute attention to what is going on around her, and developing an intuitive understanding of people and organisational changes as they take place. What Ank is especially known for is her friendly and sociable contacts with the membership and her colleagues. Ank has demonstrated a genuine charm and sense of humour, all carried off with tremendous grace and élan, and those who have interacted with her speak of the many pleasurable moments that they have had in her company. Ank knows so many persons in the organisation and, in more than three decades, has built up personal contacts with many members on a first name basis.
Ank, while you will be sincerely missed, we wish you a very pleasant and fulfilling retirement with your husband Cor in the south of France and look forward to keeping in touch with you whenever possible.
News of Members
At the Conference on “Frontiers of Statistics in honor of Peter Bickel’’ held at Princeton University, Professor Peter J. Bickel, University of California at Berkeley, was appointed to the knightly grade of Commander in the Order of Oranje-Nassau by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands. The royal decoration took place at Princeton University on May 19, 2006, and was conferred by her Excellency the Consul General of The Netherlands in New York, Cora Minderhoud, on the behalf of the Queen. “This is one of the highest grades possible and it is a great honour for me to be able to confer this honour on you,’’ stated Ms. Minderhoud in her ceremonial speech. “The Order of Oranje-Nassau is one of two civil orders of The Netherlands, created to honour people of Merit. It was created by law on April 4, 1892, during the reign of Queen Emma of The Netherlands”.
Professor Peter J. Bickel
Professor Bickel was nominated for his efforts in the field of the development of mathematical statistics in The Netherlands. The Royal Committee has decided that Professor Bickel qualifies as someone who has had a stimulating influence on others; a person who has contributed one or more extraordinary services; as someone who has made professional contributions which are of great value to society. “Given the nature, the prominence, and the national and international value of his activities, the Committee advises to appoint Peter John Bickel as Commander in the Order of Oranje-Nassau”. “Professor Bickel, by the powers invested in me by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, I hereby appoint you Commander in the Order of Orange Nassau”, Ms. Minderhoud proclaimed.
As a world leader in statistical science, Professor Bickel is honored for his contributions to the development of mathematical statistics in The Netherlands. For over 30 years, Professor Bickel has collaborated intensively with Dutch colleagues. Many Dutch graduate students have taken part in this joint research, which has contributed in an important manner to their scientific education. All present full-time professors of mathematical statistics in The Netherlands have benefited from their contacts with Professor Bickel at one time or another. As a visiting professor at the University of Leiden, he has taught the assembled graduate students of all Dutch universities and he has been a featured speaker at three of the Dutch National Statistics Conferences at Lunteren. He is a foreign member of the Netherlands Academy of Sciences. The Netherlands is host of EURANDOM, the European Institute for Statistics, Probability and Operations Research. As Chair of the Scientific Council of EURANDOM from its inception, Professor Bickel has guided the scientific programme of the Institute and contributed to its fast growing reputation in Europe and elsewhere. For a short biography on Professor Bickel, please visit the following Princeton University web page:
Professor Bickel is an ISI elected member and Bernoulli Society member.
Professor Stanley P. Azen will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering and Economics of Innovations by the Department of Economics and Statistics of the University of Salerno. Professor Azen is Past President of the IASC and an ISI elected member. For more on Professor Azen’s Honorary Doctorate, please read the IASC editorial here.
Professor David Brillinger
David Brillinger, Professor of Statistics, University of California at Berkeley, has been elected a Foreign Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Arts and a Foreign Member of the Brazilian Academy of Science. Professor Brillinger is currently Chair of the ISI Publications Committee, as well as an ISI elected member, IASS and Bernoulli Society member.
Fionn Murtagh, ISI elected member and IASC member, was elected President of the Classification Society of North America, to serve for the period 2007-2008. He was also elected to UKCRC - the UK Computing Research Committee, an expert panel of the BCS (British Computer Society) and IEE (Institute of Electrical Engineering) for computing research in the UK.
Professor Shahjahan Khan
In its Eight Biennial Conference held at the National University, Lahore, Pakistan, during 19-22 December 2005, the ISOSS delegates unanimously elected Professor Shahjahan Khan, Department of Mathematics and Computing, University of Southern Queensland, Australia, as the President of the Islamic Countries Society of Statistical Sciences (ISOSS). Professor Khan will replace the Founding President of the ISOSS, Dr. Munir Ahmad, who served on the position since the inception of the prestigious professional body in 1988. The ISOSS is an international organisation of the professional statisticians, and is dedicated to the promotion and development of statistical knowledge and system globally with particular emphasis on the Islamic Countries. Professor Khan is an elected member of the ISI.
ISI elected member and Bernoulli Society member A.K. Md. Ehsanes Saleh, Distinguished Research Professor & Professor Emeritus at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, was awarded the Gold Medal of the Islamic Countries Society of Statistical Sciences (ISOSS) during its December 19-21, 2005, Conference for his landmark contribution to nonparametric decision theoretic approach to Stein-type statistics, as well as for significant impact of the co-authored Wiley book An Introduction to Probability and Statistics world-wide. This is the second Gold Medal awarded to Professor Saleh by the ISOSS. The first ISESCO-ISOSS Gold Medal was awarded to Professor Saleh for his outstanding research in Statistics in the organisation of Islamic countries conference member states on August 27, 1999. Professor Saleh is also a Fellow of the ASA, RSS, IMS and Bangladesh Academy of Sciences.
Professor A.K.Md. Ehsanes Saleh
Professor P.R. Parthasarathy and Professor Lenin’s work published in Volume 24 of the American Journal of Mathematical and Management Sciences has won the 2005 Wolfowitz Prize. Professor Parthasarathy is an ISI elected member and Bernoulli Society member. The Prize Certificate and a monetary award will be given to the Professors. Each Prize Winner is eligible to have a paper considered for publication in the Winners Issues, which have been published in honour of the 25th Anniversary of the Prizes.
News from the ISI Permanent Office
It is with pleasure that we congratulate Mr. Sieriel Hoesenie for five years of committed service to the ISI in the Accounts Department.
Mr. Sieriel Hoesenie
We would also like to welcome our new colleague Mr. Michael Leeuwe to the ISI Permanent Office. Mr. Leeuwe will take charge of the ISI Accounts Department.
Last, but not least, we congratulate Mrs. Ank Lepping on her retirement after more than three decades of loyal service to the ISI. To read about Mrs. Lepping’s role in the ISI and her upcoming adventures, please see the article Ank Lepping: A Tribute.
Please send in news items! We depend on our members to make "News of Members" newsworthy!
A friend, colleague, an elected member of the ISI and ASA is sick with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia and is awaiting a donor for a bone marrow transplant. Finding a donor is a long and tedious process, primarily because matches are rare. Please consider becoming a donor by registering via The Caitlin Raymond International Registry (CRIR) http://www.crir.org.
It is not likely to benefit our member directly as the search is already well under way. However, it could help to expand the ranks of donors that would benefit other people in similar positions. Until one runs into this issue directly, it is difficult to imagine how frustrating the process is - and how easy it is for people to help. A website has been created on behalf of our member: http://zachary.rutgers.edu.
The ISI regrets to announce the death of our colleagues:
Born Elected Deceased Professor William H. Kruskal 1919 1970 21 April 2005 Mr. Motosaburo Masuyama 1912 1957 3 July 2005 Dr. Tsutomu Komazawa 1935 1982 05 August 2005 Mr. E.N. Omaboe 1930 1960 26 November 2005 Mr. Joseph Waksberg 1915 1976 10 January 2006 Dr. William T. Tucker 1934 1997 29 January 2006 Drs. Joris R. Nobel 1954 1995 11 April 2006
Mr. Joseph Waksberg
Joseph Waksberg died suddenly on January 10, 2006, in Bethesda, Maryland. He was 90. At the time of his death, Joe was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Westat, a statistical survey research organization that he had joined in 1973 upon retiring from the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Throughout a career that spanned more than 60 years, he made many important contributions to methods of survey sampling, developed innovative applications of the methods, and conducted research on a broad array of issues in survey methodology.
Joe Waksberg’s career at the Census Bureau began in 1940, working on the 1940 Census of Population. After World War II, he joined the Bureau’s mathematical statistics staff, which was led by Morris Hansen and Bill Hurwitz, and included such outstanding statisticians as Joe Daly, Ed Deming, Ben Tepping, Joe Steinberg, Max Bershad, Marge Gurney, Lee Gilford, Eli Marks and Leon Pritzker.
In the years that followed, Joe held a variety of increasingly responsible positions relating to the development and implementation of statistical methods and, in 1972, he became Associate Director for Statistical Standards and Methodology. During his time at the Census Bureau, he introduced many important innovations, added significantly to statistical knowledge, and conducted many influential methodological studies. For example, he introduced list sampling, replicated variances, determination of appropriate cluster sample size, treatment of housing starts, and composite estimation, and he implemented research on alternative rotation schemes and estimation methods, the use of a single household respondent, and the effect of variable recall periods on labor force measurement. In addition, Joe developed and directed a major methodological program on the quality of the 1970 U.S. Population Census, and he proposed the use of administrative records in concert with survey data to produce updated annual local area population and income estimates. With John Neter, he conducted a widely cited study about the ability of homeowners to recall and accurately date their expenditures on housing alterations and repairs.
In 1973, Joe joined Morris Hansen at Westat and assumed major responsibility for the statistical techniques used in a wide variety of studies. In 1978, his work on estimating election night results led him to develop an elegant theory for a method of telephone sampling devised by Warren Mitofsky to improve the efficiency of random digit dialing. The Mitofsky-Waksberg method quickly became the standard for all telephone sampling for decades. Subsequently, he applied the methodology for identifying controls for population-based case-control studies, a new area of application for telephone surveys. His contributions in these areas were instrumental in moving Westat to the forefront of telephone survey research.
Last, but not least, Joe was a teacher and mentor to generations of statisticians.
Joe was elected a member of the ISI in 1976. He was a long-time member and Fellow of the American Statistical Association, serving on the Board of Directors and as Chair of the Sections of Survey Research Methods and Social Statistics. He also served on the Washington Statistical Society as President in 1974-75 and delivered the 1996 Morris Hansen Lecture.
Among his numerous honors and awards, Joe received the Gold and Silver Medal Awards of the U.S. Department of Commerce for exceptional service to the Federal Statistical System, and the American Statistical Association’s Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics. In 2001, with support from Westat, Survey Methodology established the annual Waksberg Invited Paper Series in his honor.
Joe Waksberg was predeceased by his wife of nearly 63 years, Roslyn. He is survived by his daughter Arlene (Mike Clark) and his son Mark (Kristen); his two beloved grandchildren, Benjamin and Gabrielle; as well as two brothers, Simon and Irving. He also was very fortunate to have a companion in Shirley Racusin, who greatly enriched the last years of his life.
Daniel Levine and Graham Kalton
Rockville, MD, USA
Drs. Joris Nobel
Joris Nobel was born in The Netherlands on 25 November 1954. He joined Statistics Netherlands after his honours degree in politicology at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. It had only recently become known that Joris suffered from a serious condition, and the news of his death on 11 April 2006 at the age of 51 was quite unexpected. It left us all bereaved.
Joris started his career at Statistics Netherlands (CBS) at the statistical department for Justice and Security. As the Secretary to the Director General Begeer, as Secretary of the Central Commission for Statistics, and as an advisor to subsequent executives, Joris influenced CBS policies for decades. He had an extensive network, nationally and internationally, and protected CBS interests inside and outside the organisation. Joris became internationally know in his role as an advisor, from his presentations at international conferences, e.g. ISI and IAOS, as a participant in international meetings, e.g. the EU Statistical Confidentiality Committee. Joris was respected for his intelligence, insight, diplomacy, and especially his expert knowledge.
Joris combined his great knowledge of statistical methodology and the statistical programme with his management skills and diplomacy as a policy-maker and advisor. This combination came together in areas as diverse as the policies on micro data, confidentiality and data protection, and the preparation of the CBS Law when Statistics Netherlands became an autonomous agency in 2004. It made him unique and very valuable to the organisation.
The death of Joris means the loss of a remarkable and passionate colleague for the statistical community. We will miss Joris not only for his great insight, but also and especially for his personality. However, our loss pales in comparison to the great loss faced by his wife Anke and his sons Jeroen and Sander, of whom he was so very proud. We wish them the power and strength to cope with this loss.
Gosse van der Veen
Director General Statistics Netherlands
& Colleagues at Statistics Netherlands
Dr. William T. Tucker
Dr. William T. Tucker passed away on January 29 in Temple, Texas, USA. Bill Tucker was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1934. He had a BS in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech, an MS in engineering and statistics from Southern Methodist University and a PhD in statistics from Oklahoma State University. He was employed for a number of years by Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas, and was an Assistant Professor at Southern Methodist from 1966 to 1972. In 1973, he joined GE Research and Development (now Global Research Center) in Schenectady, New York, where he was a senior statistician until his retirement in 2000. At GE, Bill Tucker led studies in such diverse areas as reliability improvement for aircraft engines, determination of criteria for granting consumer credit, and optimum TV programming. He was instrumental in developing Algorithmic Statistical Process Control – an approach for integrating engineering and statistical process control. He was a recipient of his organization’s Outstanding Technical Leader Award and became a Six Sigma Master Black Belt. He also served as Adjunct Professor at Union College and at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute. Bill was elected a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. In addition to being a statistician, he was a licensed professional engineer. He was an avid Dallas Cowboys (American football) fan and also served for 20 years as stage manager of the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra, receiving their Encore Award.
Bill is survived by his wife of 43 years, Nancy of Georgetown, Texas; his sons Zachary and Bradley; two grandchildren; and his sister, Martha Norton. He was a highly vivacious person and a mentor to many. He will be sorely missed by his family, his many friends and former colleagues.
Gerald J. Hahn
Retired Manager, Applied Statistics
GE Corporate Research and Development
Schenectady, NY, USA
Andrei Andreevich Markov was born 14th June (2nd June, old style) 1856, in Ryazan, Imperial Russia, and died 20th July 1922, in Petrograd, which was before 1914, and is now again called Sankt Peterburg (St. Petersburg). The year 2006 marks the 150th anniversary of his birth, which is being commemorated at the Markov Anniversary Meeting, 12th-14th June ( http://www.csc2.ncsu.edu/conferences/nsmc ). The year also commemorates the 100th anniversary of his first paper on what came to be called Markov chains. These have had an enormous range of modelling application, ranging from sociology to theoretical physics, inasmuch as they allow in a simple way for statistical dependence over time in a randomly evolving process. One of the most recent uses of the theory, which is built round stochastic matrices, is in the search engine Google, where the ranking of links is in order of size of entries of the stationary distribution of a stochastic matrix.
Markov retired as Full Professor from St. Petersburg University in 1906, although he continued to teach until 1913 as Privat-Dozent the course on probability, which he had taken over on the departure of his mentor Pafnuty Lvovich Chebyshev (1821-1894) from the University in 1883. Markov’s Master’s and Doctoral dissertations, defended in 1880 and 1885, respectively, were in number theory, in which area his name is also pre-eminent. The stream of his publications in probability was initially motivated by inadequacies in Chebyshev’s treatment in 1887 of the Central Limit Theorem (CLT) for independent but not necessarily identically distributed summands, and begins with a letter to Markov’s friend A.V. Vasiliev (1853-1929), which Vasiliev published in the Izvestiia (Bulletin) of Kazan University’s Physico-Mathematical Society.
The Weak Law of Large Numbers (WLLN) and the CLT were the focal concerns of probability theory at that time. Markov’s general motivation for writing his sequence of papers on chains was to show that these two classical theorems of probability theory could be extended to sums of chain-dependent random variables. Though specifically, the paper of 1906 (also published in Vasiliev’s Izvestiia) in which a Markov chain, as a stochastically dependent sequence for which the WLLN holds, first appears in Markov’s writings was motivated by the need to construct a counterexample to what Markov interpreted as a claim by P.A. Nekrasov (1853-1924) in 1902. The claim was that pair wise independence of summands is necessary as well as sufficient for the WLLN to hold. Nekrasov’s thinking was motivated by interpreting the long-term stability of averages in human affairs as a manifestation of free will, an idea related to the Social Physics of Quetelet. Markov’s was an uncompromising, volatile and anti-religious personality, and he clashed repeatedly with Nekrasov. Ongoing antagonism was evident at the outset of Markov’s contact with the St. Petersburg statistician A.A. Chuprov (Tschuprow) (1874-1926), who in his book of 1910 had mentioned Nekrasov in a positive light. However, the ensuing correspondence between Markov and Chuprov, which has been published in English as well as Russian, shows a gradual softening under Chuprov’s influence of Markov’s initially negative attitude to the then-infant subject of probabilistic statistics, especially the work of Karl Pearson (1857-1936). The correspondence encapsulates the blending in the last years of the Russian Empire of probability theory and dispersion theory into what may be properly described as mathematical statistics.
Markov’s name is also attached in statistical theory to Markov’s Inequality, which extracts the essence of the Bienaymé-Chebyshev Inequality; and to the (misnamed) Gauss-Markov Theorem.
Further reading on Markov may be traced from the author’s article in the ISI/Springer book Statisticians of the Centuries (2001), pp. 243-247.
Awards, Prizes and Competitions
Proposals Welcome for Deserving ISI Service Certificate Recipients
ISI Service Certificates are to be presented biennially at the ISI General Assembly to recognise particularly distinguished service to the ISI and its Sections. Any ISI member has the right to make nominations to the ISI Service Certificates Committee.
The criteria for potential recipients include service over an extended period of time and in a variety of leadership roles (or exceptionally for distinguished service in one capacity for a truly abnormal length of time) including, but not limited to, official positions in the ISI, its Committees and Sections, editorial roles, organisation of the biennial conference or Section conferences and representing the ISI on external bodies. The Award is intended to reflect services to the ISI itself rather than distinction in the field of statistics per se.
The recipients must be members of the ISI at the time of receiving the Award. However, services rendered to any ISI Section, before membership of the ISI is achieved, may be taken into consideration when deciding to confer the Award.
The number of Awards shall not normally exceed five in any biennium. Members of the Executive and the Council of the ISI are not eligible for the Award during their period of Office.
Proposals should be sent by January 1st, 2007, to Ms. Shabani Mehta at the ISI Permanent Office, by post: P.O. Box 950, 2270 AZ Voorburg, The Netherlands; or by fax or e-mail:
Fax: +31-70-386 0025
Cochran-Hansen Prize 2007: Competition for Young Survey Statisticians from Developing and Transitional Countries
In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the International Association of Survey Statisticians established the Cochran-Hansen Prize to be awarded every two years to the best paper on survey research methods submitted by a young statistician from a developing or transitional country.
Participation in the competition for the Prize is open to nationals of developing or transitional countries who are living in such countries and who were born in 1967 or later.
Papers submitted must be unpublished original works. They may include materials from the participant’s university thesis. They should be in either English or French. Papers for consideration should be submitted to the IASS Secretariat at the address below to arrive by December 29, 2006. Each submission should be accompanied by a cover letter that gives the participant’s year of birth, nationality, and country of residence.
The papers submitted will be examined by the Cochran-Hansen Prize Committee appointed by the IASS. The decision of the Committee is final.
The winner of the Prize will be invited to present his/her paper at the 56th Session of the International Statistical Institute to be held in Lisbon, Portugal, August 22-29, 2007, and the name of the winner will be announced at the ISI General Assembly in Lisbon.
The author of the winning paper will receive the Cochran-Hansen Prize in the form of books and journal subscriptions to the value of about € 500, and will have reasonable travel and living expenses paid in order to present the paper at the ISI Session in Lisbon.
For further information, please contact:
Madame Claude OLIVIER
International Association of Survey Statisticians
CEFIL-INSEE, 3 rue de la Cité, 33500 Libourne, France
Tel: +33 5 57 55 56 17
Fax: +33 5 57 55 56 20
Memories of the ISI's Past
The First Session of the International Statistical Institute in Rome from April 12th to 16th, 1887
Participants pictured standing, left to right: Kummer (Switzerland), Milliet (Switzerland), Favero (Italy), Scharling (Denmark), Inama-Sternegg (Austria), Wagner (Germany), Pantaleoni (Italy), Bertillon (France), Ferraris (Italy), Craigie (England), Ibañez (Spain), Cheysson (France), Mouat (England), Meltzl (Hungary), Laspeyres (Germany), PaIgrave (England), Hasse (Germany), Lexis (Germany), Liegeard (France), Sombart (Austria), De-Foville (France), Schoener, Raseri (Italy), Vacher (France), Da Fions, Körösi (Hungary), Geetruyen, Mühling.
Participants pictured seated, left to right: Loua (France), Levi (England), Gad (Denmark), Troïnitsky (Russia), Jung Stilling (Russia), Brock (Norway), Engel (Germany), Bateman (England), Martin (England), Neumann-Spallart (Austria), Rawson (England), Levasseur (France), Bodio (Italy), Keleti (Hungary), Mayr (Germany), Yvernès (France), Dodge (U.S.A.), Wirth (Austria).
Africa Celebrates Statistics Week
Following the precipitous decline in statistical production in Africa in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the Council of African Ministers responsible for planning adopted, in 1992, the Addis Ababa Plan of Action for Statistical Development in Africa in the 1990s as a framework for reversing the said decline and for accelerating statistical development in the African region. This Plan set aside 18 November as Africa Statistics Day to be celebrated each year in order to create greater awareness about the role and importance of statistics to society. Many countries have been celebrating this day since 1992.
After consultations with various organizations and agencies, it was decided that in 2005 Africa should collectively celebrate Africa Statistics Week in Kampala, Uganda, from 13 to 18 November 2005. The idea was that this would give an opportunity to Heads of National Statistical Offices, Directors of Regional Statistical Training Centres and Heads of Statistics Units in sub-regional organizations from all over Africa and representatives of development partners to “rethink statistics” to meet Africa’s development challenges in the 21st Century. The celebrations were supported financially and in other ways by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in the context of the International Comparison Programme for Africa (ICP-Africa), which has become one of the major statistical capacity building initiatives in Africa. The celebrations were hosted by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.
Various activities were undertaken to mark the celebrations. These included:
(a) a Regional Workshop on Data Quality for (ICP-Africa) National Coordinators and their deputies from 51 African countries (13-18 November);
(b) a Seminar for the Directors of National Statistical Offices on “Rethinking Statistics for Development in Africa in the 21st Century” (17-18 November);
(c) other activities included: a Meeting of the Governing Board of ICP-Africa, a Meeting of Directors of Statistical Training Centres, the First Meeting of the Editorial Board of the African Statistical Journal, and a meeting of Heads of Statistics Units in the sub-regional organizations;
(d) In addition to regional activities, there were national activities that included a Data User-Producer Workshop on Integrated Information for Development; which covered the Plan for National Statistical Development in Uganda; and demonstrations of various databases including Uganda Info, Census Info (by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics), Health Management Information System (by the Ministry of Health), Education Management Information System (by the Ministry of Education and Sports), LOGICS (by the Ministry of Local Government); Dissemination of District Statistical Action Plan; Regional Dissemination for the National Service Delivery Survey held in an up-country town (80 km. outside Kampala); showing a TV documentary on the main activities of the Uganda Bureau of Statistics; and publication of various articles in newspapers.
The climax of the celebrations was presided over by the Deputy Prime Minister of Uganda at Statistics House, a new complex that the Government has built as a permanent home for the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. Among other things, the Prime Minister officially launched the African Statistical Journal, which was started last year to promote the understanding of statistical development in the African region. It focuses on issues related to official statistics, as well as application of statistical methodologies, to solve practical problems of general interest to applied statisticians. It also serves as a research outlet and information sharing publication among academic and practicing statisticians mainly in the region. The Journal is hosted by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics and the Uganda Statistical Society. It is supported financially by the African Development Bank as part of its long-term commitment to assisting regional member countries to develop a culture of evidence-based policy and decision-making, promote rigorous monitoring and evaluation of development outcomes, and to develop sustainable statistical capacity.
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News from ISI sections Volume 30, No. 2 (89) 2006
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