SCIENTIFIC PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES
|December 4, 2013|
Talk 1 (General)
Statistics and the Science of Risk
As a society and as individuals we continually assess and discuss
risk. Psychological aspects of risk perception and tolerance, and
individual or corporate utilities associated with specific events
and outcomes, play important roles in decisions concerning risks.
However, at the core of scientific risk analysis are probabilities
assigned to future eventualities. Statistics is fundamental to this
aspect of risk, in part because of its connections with probability
but more importantly in most settings, because it is the framework
for learning about complex processes and environments so that probabilities
can sensibly be assigned. This talk will discuss the role of statistics,
beginning with an historical review of probability, statistics and
risk and then moving to some current issues. Illustrations will
be drawn from areas ranging from finance and gambling to health.
Modeling and Analyzing Event Histories
Many settings involve events that occur over time for individuals
or systems; for example, individuals can experience episodes of
illness or hospitalization, software systems may experience failures,
and insurers can receive claims from their customers. Event processes
are typically modeled and analyzed in two main ways: dynamically,
by considering the probability of a new event at a given time, conditional
on the prior history of events; and what I will term pattern-wise,
by considering features such as the expected numbers and distributions
of events in various time intervals. In this talk I will discuss
pros and cons of the two approaches and survey methods of analysis.
The emphasis will be on models and applications of methodology,
with examples. Technical details will be mentioned but downplayed.