Significance: February 2015 issue just published


  • Author: Statistics Views
  • Date: 05 February 2015

The February 2015 issue of Significance has just published.

The issue includes How machines learned to think statistically, a special report on artificial intelligence and the contribution statistics has made to advances in the field. The special report includes a Q&A with Zoubin Ghahramani, the Cambridge professor who's trying to build an artificial intelligence for data science, called The Automatic Statistician.

thumbnail image: Significance: February 2015 issue just published

The cover story asks some difficult but important questions about standardised tests. Generally speaking, the more questions you have on an exam, the more reliable the resulting score is. But as test lengths increase, improvements in reliability become ever more marginal. Perhaps there are better uses for that time?

RCTs have saved countless lives. But, in a world of complex medical conditions and personalised treatment plans, are they still fit for purpose? Herbert I. Weisberg looks to the past in search of a way forward.

Elsewhere in the issue Paul Allin and David Hand bring us up to speed on efforts to find new and complementary metrics used when assessing national wellbeing and progress.

How effective are different home security devices, on their own and in combination with others? Andromachi Tseloni and Rebecca Thompson analyse crime survey data in search of answers.

Game, set and stats: in the post-Moneyball world data analytics are playing an increasingly important role in many sports. Chris Gray makes the case for tennis with a simple probability model for analysing the outcomes of matches.

Read the full table of contents here. All articles in this issue are free to read throughout 2015.

Significance magazine has opened its 10-year archives for access by the public. The magazine's volumes 1-10 are available to read, free of charge. Further, all magazine content will be made freely available one year after its initial publication. Editor Brian Tarran believes free access will demonstrate the importance of statistics and the contributions it makes in all areas of life. Royal Statistical Society and ASA members and subscribers will continue to enjoy exclusive access to the latest magazine content.

Significance is a bi-monthly magazine for anyone interested in statistics and the analysis and interpretation of data. Its aim is to communicate and demonstrate in an entertaining, thought provoking and non-technical way the practical use of statistics in all walks of life, and to show informatively and authoritatively how statistics benefit society. It is published on behalf of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association.

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Published features on are checked for statistical accuracy by a panel from the European Network for Business and Industrial Statistics (ENBIS)   to whom Wiley and express their gratitude. This panel are: Ron Kenett, David Steinberg, Shirley Coleman, Irena Ograjenšek, Fabrizio Ruggeri, Rainer Göb, Philippe Castagliola, Xavier Tort-Martorell, Bart De Ketelaere, Antonio Pievatolo, Martina Vandebroek, Lance Mitchell, Gilbert Saporta, Helmut Waldl and Stelios Psarakis.