Statisticians celebrate 50 years of the discipline at Trinity

Posted on: 14 November 2017

Statisticians are today celebrating 50 years of the discipline at Trinity College Dublin. They are marking the occasion with a short course comprising four lectures on imprecise probability and an afternoon of talks.

Particular highlights include a short reminisce about what has sprung from research conducted over the last 50 years at Trinity, and a panel discussion involving international experts on what the future holds for statisticians in Trinity, Ireland and beyond.

Among the panel’s visiting experts are Professor Adrian Raftery, University of Washington, Mr Paul Morrin, Central Statistics Office, Mr Kieran Towey, Accenture Advanced Analytics, and Professor Nial Friel, University College Dublin.

Professor in Statistics at Trinity, Simon Wilson, said: “There has never been a time when the analysis and use of data has been so important to our economy and the way that we live, so this is a fitting time to celebrate the long history of statistics research and teaching in Trinity, and the contributions that it has made both inside and outside the College.”

Trinity’s Statistics department has a set of alumni and former staff that includes a Faculty Dean at Columbia University (Professor David Madigan, who gained his PhD at Trinity), the most cited mathematician-statistician in the 2000s (Professor Adrian Raftery, former lecturer at Trinity), and the inventor of the ISBN system for indexing books (Professor Gordon Foster, who founded the department at Trinity).

Examples of recent work in Trinity, which show the great diversity of questions statisticians attempt to answer, include: an assessment of the risk posed by falling spacecraft; an analysis of the number of animal species that remain to be discovered; and a look at what the data say about the causes of the economic crisis of 2007-13 — from the factors that led to mortgage defaulting to the prevalence of interlocking directorships in Irish companies.

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