Talk at Data Science Cornwall

Next week Craig McNeile is presenting a talk in Cornwall as part of the Data Science Cornwall group.

Using Supercomputers to Search for the Breakdown of the Standard Model of Particle Physics

Craig will give a short overview to some of the open questions in particle
physics. He will then discuses the use of High Performance Computing
(HPC) to solve the equations of QCD (one of the theories behind
nuclear physics), and how these calculations are required in searches
for novel fundamental physics theories. He will describe some of the HPC infrastructure, such as the HPC cluster at the University of Plymouth
and the national systems run by the Distributed Research utilizing
Advanced Computing (Dirac) consortium. He will talk about the size
of the data sets generated, and briefly touch on the role of visualisations.

Visit to the OR fair

One piece of mathematics that important to businesses is called operational research (OR), because it has a number of tools to help efficiently organize the production of goods for example. Every year the OR society organizes a careers fair in Birmingham, where students get to meet with employers. Today, the second year mathematics students went with some staff members from Plymouth to the OR career fair in Birmingham, inorder to help them prepare to apply for placements and jobs in the final year.

Paper accepted in the Biometrical Journal

The Oklahoma actor Will Rogers said “When the Okies left Oklahoma and moved to California, they raised the average intelligence level in both states.” This statement has led to the “Will Rogers phenomenon” which, in its basic form, takes place when an increase in the average value of each of two sets is achieved by moving an element from one set to another.  This leads to the conclusion that there has been an overall improvement, when in fact essentially nothing has changed. Versions of the Will Rogers phenomenon can occur in cancer epidemiology, especially when changes are made to the definition of cancer stages.

Julian Stander and his cousin Mark who is a scientist based in industry have just had a paper accepted for publication in the Biometrical Journal in which they discuss a method for correcting for the Will Rogers Phenomenon. The Standers apply their method to data from breast cancer patients and also explain how to take account of uncertainty associated with published survival rates.

Pigeon-holes and mustard seeds: Growing capacity to use data for society

Last week, Professor Deborah Ashby presented the public lecture: Pigeon-holes and mustard seeds: Growing capacity to use data for society at the University of Plymouth.

Speaker: Professor Deborah Ashby OBE, Imperial College London, President of the Royal Statistical Society

The Royal Statistical Society was founded to address social problems ‘through the collection and classification of facts’, leading to many developments in the collection of data, the development of methods for analysing them, and the development of statistics as a profession. Nearly 200 years later an explosion in computational power has led, in turn, to an explosion in data. We outline the challenges and the actions needed to exploit that data for the public good, and to address the step change in statistical skills and capacity development necessary to enable our vision of a world where data are at the heart of understanding and decision-making.

Grant award from STFC

Dr Vincent Drach  have been awarded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) a three-year research grant, worth GBP 39,000. The grant  will  foster activities on the topic of  “The Universe at Extreme Scale” and will finance travels to conferences and workshops. This will further develop the Plymouth  Center for Mathematical Sciences  in the field of theoretical particle physics beyond the Standard Model and contribute to the quest of New Physics at experiments like those performed at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (Switzerland).

Vacancy for Lecturer in Statistics

The school is advertising for a lecturer in statistics. The full advert is here.

There is information about the current staff working in the statistics and data science group here.

This post offers an exciting opportunity to contribute to the School’s range of teaching in statistics; to undertake research and to participate in outreach and other activities. You will demonstrate the ability or potential to teach statistics at all levels, including foundation/undergraduate programmes, postgraduate taught programmes and undertake PhD supervision where appropriate. Especial notice will be taken of candidates who can demonstrate an interest in supporting our undergraduate education-related teaching.

The Teaching Statistics Trust Lecture 2019

Yesterday, the annual teaching statistics trust seminar was held at the University of Plymouth.

The title of of the talk was: The purpose of statistics is insight not numbers
Speaker: Neil Sheldon, Chair of the Teaching Statistics Trust

In recent years, statistics teaching has seen a welcome move away from formulae and calculation. Especially with the rise of ‘big data’, numerical processing is increasingly being done with software, and it is becoming much more important for students to learn the art and science of interpretation. This development requires teachers to change focus too, shifting their emphasis from numbers to language.
As with many academic disciplines, statistics overlays everyday language with specialist meaning: one familiar example is the word ‘significant’ which means very different things in everyday use and in statistics. Research shows that parallel meanings such as this make it harder for students to understand technical concepts. Research also shows that teaching with a richer vocabulary can help to overcome this problem of understanding.
But statistics is more than just an academic discipline, it is a vital element of citizenship: we all need statistical understanding to make sense of the world around us. Yet statistical data are routinely misunderstood and misinterpreted in the media. In most cases the errors arise, not from the numbers themselves, but from the confused and inaccurate language used to comment on them. Clear language is essential to clear thought.
This lecture, drawing on numerous practical examples, will explore the ways in which careful use of language can help everyone – teachers, students and citizens – to understand statistics better, whether in formulating enquiries, interpreting data, or reaching trustworthy conclusions and communicating them effectively.