2010 Australian Statistical Conference

Regular readers of our Newsletters will have seen the lead up to the 2010 Australian Statistical Conference gaining momentum, with Data Analysis Australia being heavily involved in the organising and program committees and also as a proud sponsor of the event.  After many years in the planning, the event finally came upon us and took place from December 6th to 9th, at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle, Western Australia.  

Attracting over 350 delegates from across Australia and the world, it was a memorable and exciting week, with all Data Analysis Australia statistical consultants attending and contributing in some way.  Covering topics as diverse as time series analysis, environmental statistics, health and biostatistics, experimental design, spatial statistics, official statistics, finance, stochastic modelling and survey analysis, all attendees, including ourselves, had a great opportunity to learn new statistical techniques, consider new areas of application for existing techniques and identify new areas of interest.  We're looking forward to applying some of these ideas to our own work over the upcoming months and years.

Not only was the conference an opportunity for us to learn, it was also an occasion for us to showcase to our peers some of the exciting and challenging work that we undertake with our clients. Hana Sakai and Emma Smith discussed how we used a statistical simulation model in the Extend software package to determine the feasibility of transporting coal for export from an inland barge-loading terminal to an ocean port, along a river of variable navigability.  See the featured Case Study for more information regarding this strategically important project for our client.  

Continuing on the transport theme, John Henstridge described the challenge of designing a study in which potential patrons of a possible new high speed rail link between Perth and Bunbury were asked to rank their preferences for the new line, requiring them to make a choice between cost, travel time and convenience.  The implementation constraints for the survey were high, with cost pressures limiting the number of distinct choice sets available, requiring an innovative search procedure to be developed to optimise the design within the given constraints. 

Alex Maund and Donna Hill gave more general presentations, using a number of different projects as examples to demonstrate Data Analysis Australia's versatility in applying a common statistical approach to a variety of problems across a range of disciplines.  Alex discussed applications for which incorporating the effect of weather is necessary to properly model and understand consumer behaviour (particularly in the water and energy sectors) and then proceeded to describe Data Analysis Australia's approach to dealing with some of the statistical issues associated with using weather data.  Donna discussed the critical importance of considering variation and uncertainty in any strategic decision making process, using three projects in very different application areas as examples. Yuichi Yano presented the results of his Masters thesis, which investigated the relationship between asthma hospitalisation risk and air pollutant concentration in Perth, using generalised linear models.  

It wasn't all work and no play though, with many opportunities for catching up with old friends and making some new ones.  There was also the "Fish and Chips on the Trams" dinner for young statisticians (sponsored by Data Analysis Australia), the official conference dinner at Fremantle Town Hall, featuring "The Illusionist" from Australia's Got Talent for entertainment, and a happy hour to close the conference, following an all-in discussion panel regarding the future of statistics in Australia.  All in all, a very successful conference was had, and we look forward to the next one in Adelaide in 2012. 

On a more personal note, I'd like to thank all of our clients, colleagues and friends for the good times and good works over the past year and wish you all a safe and enjoyable festive season.

For further information, please contact Data Analysis Australia at daa(at)daa.com.au or phone 08 9468 2533

See Data Analysis Australia's presentations on the Presentations page.

December 2010