A reflective look on WC2012 and PWCYPS 2012

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  • Author: Elvan Ceyhan
  • Date: 11 February 2013
  • Copyright: Photographs appear courtesy of Elvan Ceyhan

Last summer, the 8th World Congress in Probability and Statistics was held in Istanbul, Turkey from July 9th-14th, 2012 at Grand Cevahir Hotel and Convention Center. The congress was jointly organized by the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) and the Bernoulli Society. Scheduled every four years, this meeting is a major worldwide event for statistics and probability, covering all its branches, including theoretical, methodological, applied and computational statistics and probability, and stochastic processes. It featured the latest scientific developments in these fields.

thumbnail image: A reflective look on WC2012 and PWCYPS 2012

The congress aimed to have a high impact at an international level and give direction to the application/research activities on its subjects. For this purpose, in addition to the mainstream research on probability and statistics, applied topics such as information technology, finance, risk management, genetics and medicine, and quality control were considered, and sessions were organized with the participation of experts on these fields. Recent developments and the state-of-the-art in a variety of modern research topics, with in-depth sessions on applications of these disciplines to other sciences, industrial innovation and society were presented. The program featured 14 special plenary lectures by leading specialists including the Fields medalist Stas Smirnov. In addition, there were 40 invited sessions highlighting topics of current research interests with 120 talks, as well as 91 contributed sessions with about 455 talks and 61 posters. There were more than 750 participants from 61 different countries. The student participation was 211 amounting to as high as 28% due to generous travel awards especially made available for young researchers by several institutions and due to the Pre-world-congress Meeting of Young Researchers in Probability and Statistics 2012 which attracted 50 participants. There were 275 participants from the developing countries as designated by IMS. The host city, Istanbul, a multi-cultural cosmopolitan city more than 8,000 years old, was easy to access due to its geographical location which bridges Europe and Asia.

The sponsors of the congress included Koç University, The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, Central Bank of Turkey, National Science Foundation, European Mathematical Society, ISI, Illinois Journal of Mathematics and International Mathematical Union. In the opening ceremony, head of Turkish Statistical Institute Birol Aydemir gave a speech as well. With many high level scientific sessions and social attractions, this has been a memorable event for the participants.

Simultaneously, a satellite meeting of the 8th World Congress in Probability and Statistics was held. The Pre-world-congress Meeting of Young Researchers in Probability and Statistics 2012 (PWCYPS 2012) took place at Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey. The local organizing committee consisted of Elvan Ceyhan, Mine Çağlar, Ayşe İnan, and Enes Özel (all from Koç University at the time).

PWCYPS 2012 sought to promote the active participation of statisticians and probabilists in their graduate education and early careers in the epicenter of the 8th World Congress. The meeting took place on July 6-8 2012, preceding the 8th World Congress July 9-14, 2012. The venue of the meeting was the campus of Koç University and the PWCYPS 2012 meeting gave the opportunity for young statisticians and probabilists to participate in encouraging and heartening lectures by distinguished scholars, providing them with a forum where they can build scientific bonds with colleagues in their respective fields. Statistical and probabilistic themes covered in the meeting were broad and diverse, reflecting the Congress's character.

In addition to interactions with fellow young statisticians, the meeting allowed participants to learn from and interact with some of the leaders of the disciplines who also attended 8th World Congress in a more informal, compact and conducive environment than the larger main 8th World Congress itself. During the weekend, the young participants followed lectures and met some of the key speakers and invited session organizers in the World Congress, as well as participating to other cultural, scientific and social activities. The meeting started on Friday July 6, 2012 at 16:00 and ended in the evening of Sunday July 8, 2012: 48 hours full of activity.

This has been a truly global event with 50 young researchers from 21 countries, most of which are the developing countries. In order to make it possible for students from developing countries to attend the young statisticians meeting and the World Congress, the International Mathematical Union, the European Mathematical Society, the World Bank and the Bernoulli Society have offered grants to cover local costs in Istanbul and registration fee for participants from the developing countries.

For further information, downloadable abstract book, and photo gallery see the congress websites at http://www.worldcong2012.org and http://pwc2012.ku.edu.tr.

Elvan Ceyhan and Mine Çağlar, Co-chairs of the Local Organizing Committee
Arnoldo Frigessi, Chair of the Program Committee

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