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Leading statisticians to honour noted NZ'er

28 February 2005

Leading statisticians to honour noted New Zealander

Leading international statisticians will gather in Auckland next month (April 13-14) at a conference to celebrate the career of one of New Zealand's foremost mathematical scientists, Professor Alastair Scott, and to advance research in areas where he has made his greatest contribution.

The University of Auckland conference, Complex sampling, retrospective sampling and missing data: A conference in honour of Alastair Scott, which is being held to mark his retirement, will address problems which are important in many areas of scientific inquiry around the world.

Some or all of these problems are caused by missing data, clustering and informative (response-selective) sampling, which are endemic in almost all fields in which statistical methods of inquiry are used, despite real progress in addressing them in the last ten years.

The conference, organised by the Faculty of Science in association with the International Association of Survey Statisticians, will bring to New Zealand the largest concentration of first-rank international statisticians together in one place at one time for a considerable period, says conference programme chair Professor Chris Wild.

"It will be a great opportunity for people working in complex sampling, retrospective sampling and missing data or using results from these areas in applied research work to hear some of the biggest names in the field and to discuss their problems with them.

"It will do a lot to boost local research and strengthen international linkages," he said.

Professor Scott, the founding head of The University's Department of Statistics and formerly Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics for five years, is one of New Zealand's leading mathematical scientists.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. He is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, a past president and one of only 14 honorary life members of the New Zealand Statistical Association.

His 1981 paper with JNK Rao, published in the Journal of American Statistical Association, was selected as one of 19 landmark papers in the history of survey sampling for the 2001 centenary volume of the International Association of Survey Statisticians.

The conference, to be held at Auckland's Maritime Museum, has attracted participants from around the world including winners of the most prestigious awards in statistics (conferred by the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies), former presidents of the Royal Statistical Society and the Statistical Society of Canada, the 1995-2000 National Statistician of the UK, several Gold Medal winners of the Canadian Society, and former editors of some of the foremost international statistics journals.


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