Every year, the first week of August, we statisticians meet to get our statistics, networking, dancing, and beer on. With thousands in attendance, it's exhausting. I wonder about the quality of statistical work the second week of August.
Each conference seems to have a life of its own, so I tend to reflect on each one. Here's my reflection on this year's:
The quality of talks was pretty good this year, and I've learned a lot. We even had one person describe simulations with a flowchart rather than indecipherable equations, and I strongly encourage that practice.
As a member of the biopharmaceutical section, I was struck by how few people take advantage of our awards. Of course, everybody giving a contributed or topic contributed talks is automatically entered into the best contributed paper competition. But we have a poster competition and student paper competition that have to be explicitly entered, and participation is low. This is a great opportunity.
The highlight of the conference, of course, was Nate Silver's talk, and he delivered admirably. The perhaps thousand statisticians in attendance needed the message: learn to communicate with journalists and teach them numbers need context. I also like his response to the question "statistician or data scientist?" Which was, of course, "I don't care what you call yourself, just do good work."