Society celebrates 250th anniversary of Bayes seminal paper

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Bayes

The RSS is holding a conference celebrating the 250th anniversary of the publication in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, of ‘An Essay towards solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances’. Based on notes by Thomas Bayes, and edited by Richard Price, it was submitted in 1763, two years after Bayes’ death.

The conference takes place over two days, 19-20 June 2013, at the Royal Statistical Society in London.
 
The influence of Bayes’ work in the last 250 years is immense. Up until the early 20th century, Bayesian inference was the de facto method of doing statistics. While the work of RA Fisher and Neymen and Pearson dampened interest in Bayesian methods somewhat through the middle of last century, it saw a resurgence in the later part of the century with the proliferation of ever more complex data and the development of Markov chain Monte Carlo methods.
 
‘It’s a great sign of success that now we see Bayesian applications and methods in all aspects of scientific inference,’ says Chris Holmes, professor of statistics at Oxford University, who is co-organising the conference with Professor Christian Robert.
 
The conference features speakers from a range of academic backgrounds. ‘We wanted the workshop to reflect the diversity of Bayesian statistics, especially in the UK where there is great strength and breadth in this topic,’ explains Professor Holmes.
 
A video-recorded interview with one of the key researchers who continued to champion the Bayesian approach throughout the 20th century, Dennis Lindley, which will be shown on screen at the conference. One of his former doctoral students, and past president of the Society, Sir Adrian Smith, will provide closing remarks at the end of the conference.
 
Another feature of the conference will be a poster session, which is open to all statisticians, in particular, PhD students and postdoctoral researchers to showcase their ideas.
 
A full list of the 19 speakers and topics covered at the conference is published here, as are details for those wishing to register for the conference.

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