CANSSI Newsletter
Advancing research in the statistical sciences in Canada
Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute
Advancements to State-Space Models (SSMs) for Fisheries Science Collaborative Research Team at their May 2014 meeting at the Fields Institute.

New Director of CANSSI

Nancy ReidThe Board of the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI) is very pleased to announce that Nancy Reid, FRSC, University Research Professor in Statistics and Canada Research Chair in Statistical Theory and Applications at the University of Toronto, has been appointed Director of the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI), for a four year term beginning June 15, 2015. Well known as a leader in the statistical sciences community, Nancy brings a wealth of experience to the position. She chaired NSERC’s steering community for the Long Range Plan in the Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, has served on NSERC Council, and is a past-president of the Statistical Society of Canada and of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. She has served on the scientific panels of the three mathematical sciences institutes, MITACS, and the Banff International Research Station. Chair of the CANSSI Board, Richard Smith, says, “Professor Reid is regarded as the ideal candidate. She is an eminent researcher with extensive administrative experience. She has been instrumental in the formation of CANSSI, including serving as Associate Director representing Ontario. She is widely respected in the statistics and mathematics communities, in Canada and worldwide.”

Collaborative Research Team Project Deadlines and Webinar

CANSSI is calling for Letters of Intent for Collaborative Research Team projects to begin April 1, 2016. The Letters of Intent will be due April 30, 2015. An information webinar will be held on Friday January 23, 2015. Those interested in participating please send an email to Angela Plagemann, CANSSI Scientific Coordinator, at

Upcoming Workshops and Meetings

Workshop in New Horizons on Copula Modeling, Dec. 15-18, 2014, CRM, Montréal, QC
Thematic Program Begins: Statistical Inference, Learning and Models for Big Data, January-June 2015, Fields Institute, Toronto, ON, with allied activities at PIMS, CRM and AARMS
Applied Probability Frontiers: Computational and Modelling Challenges (15w5160), May 31-June 5, 2015, BIRS, Banff, AB
CANSSI Annual Meeting, Jun. 13, 2015, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
SSC Annual Meeting, Jun. 14-17, 2015, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
Frontiers in Functional Data Analysis (15w5096), Jun. 28-Jul. 3, 2015, BIRS, Banff, AB
International Symposium in Statistics (ISS) 2015, Jul. 6-8, 2015, St. John's, NL
Statistical and Computational Challenges In Bridging Functional Genomics, Epigenomics, Molecular QTLs, and Disease Genetics (15w5142), Aug. 2-7, 2015, BIRS, Banff, AB
Joint Statistical Meetings, Aug. 8-13, 2015, Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, WA
Current and Future Challenges in Robust Statistics (15w5003), Nov. 15-20, 2015, BIRS, Banff, AB
Fall 2013

Save the Date

June 13, 2015:  The CANSSI 2015 Annual Meeting will take place from 3:30 - 6:00 pm at Dalhousie University the day before the SSC meetings begin.

Check out our new calendar of events. If you'd like your event to appear here, let us know!

Washington Mio (FSU) talks at the Geometric Topological and Graphical Model Methods in Statistics Workshop (Photo credit: Jeff Picka)

NSERC Funding

We are pleased to report that NSERC, through its Collaborative and Thematic Resources Support in Mathematics and Statistics Program, has awarded the funding for CANSSI requested by the Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM), the Fields Institute for the Research in the Mathematical Sciences, and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS).
Over the next five years, the three institutes will allocate jointly $405,000 per year (on average) of NSERC funds to CANSSI: $200,000 from PIMS, $105,000 from the CRM, and $100,000 from Fields. In addition, CANSSI will receive from the Fields institute an additional $100,000 per year in funds from other sources. A big thank-you to all who helped to write the 15-page CANSSI proposal, participated in the site visit, or provided letters of support.
In addition, NSERC has provided CRM, Fields and PIMS with $1.5 million over three years “to set up an Institute Innovation Platform to foster partnerships between mathematics and statistics researchers and non-academic partners in the public and private sectors.”

CANSSI Postdoctoral Opportunities Webpage

At the CANSSI Board meeting and the Scientific Planning meeting last May, it was noted that the demand for and interest in postdoctoral fellowships in the statistical sciences is greater than CANSSI alone can fund. It was suggested that CANSSI could help by providing a web page with links to postdoctoral opportunities of which we become aware. This page has been started here, with advertisements that have been sent to d-ssc and other places. Those at member institutions are urged to let us know of any postdoctoral fellowships you would like posted.

CANSSI/SAMSI 2014 Workshops

Two successful workshops co-funded by CANSSI and SAMSI, connected with SAMSI research programs for 2013-2014, were held in May and June of 2014.

The workshop "Geometric, Topological and Graphical Model Methods in Statistics", organized by Peter Kim of the University of Guelph, Hélène Massam of York University, and Ezra Miller of Duke University, was held at the Fields Institute May 22-23, 2014. The aim was to highlight new developments in data analysis methods using various aspects of mathematics. While most of the talks were on geometric, topological or graphical methods, some were on algebraic methods, another area of statistics having deep mathematical roots. Speakers emphasized the intensive and crucial role of computing to analyze high-dimensional complex data and offered efficient algorithms to analyze this data.

Mateen Shaikh (McMaster University) gives a talk at the Geometric, Topological and Graphical Model Methods in Statistics Workshop at the Fields Institute. (Photo credit: Jeff Picka)
Participants discuss the posters.
(Photo credit: Jeff Picka)

The workshop, "Computational Methods for Survey and Census Data in the Social Sciences", organized by Mary Thompson of the University of Waterloo, Louis-Paul Rivest and Anne-Sophie Charest of Université Laval, David Haziza of Université de Montréal, Jean Poirier of the Centre interuniversitaire québecois de statistiques sociales, and Mike Hidiroglou of Statistics Canada, was held at the Centre de recherches mathématiques June 20-21, 2014. A major purpose for the workshop was to provide an opportunity for statisticians and social scientists to communicate about problems and new directions. For more details, see page 14 of the CRM Bulletin.

AARMS Summer School

An AARMS Summer School in Statistics was held at Dalhousie University July 21 to August 15, 2014. Hugh Chipman of Acadia University and Xu (Sunny) Wang of St. Francis Xavier University provided a course on "Statistical Learning with Big Data", and Julie Horrocks of the University of Guelph taught a course entitled "Spatial Statistics". About twenty graduate and undergraduate students attended from around the world.

CANSSI/Fields Workshop on Statistical Issues on Biomarker and Drug Co-Development

This workshop, organized by a team led by Judy-Anne Chapman of Queen's University, was held at the Fields Institute November 7 and 8, 2014. Researchers learned about emerging developments in statistical designs, analyses for clinical trials, and translational research. More pictures from this workshop are available here.

Participants at the Workshop on Statistical Issues on Biomarker and Drug Co-Development (Photo credit: Steven McKinney)

Collaborative Research Team Projects

In 2014, three CANSSI Collaborative Research Projects kicked off.

The Advancements to State-Space Models (SSMs) for Fisheries Science Team met in May at the Fields Institute to bring together the participants. It was well attended with much energetic and positive participation. Team members at Dalhousie are busy learning TMB (The new R package that Anders Nielsen described to us on the last day of the workshop: It does what ADMB does and is much easier to use). The team is currently finishing up an initial paper to demonstrate the utility of TMB for fitting robust SSMs to tracking data. They have also recently submitted a paper titled "Robust SSMs for estimating fish stock maturities" which uses ADMB. Our second workshop will focus specifically on using TMB for the problems ("case studies") in fisheries science that we describe in the proposal. This workshop will again coincide with the SSC Meetings.

The Copula Dependence Modeling: Theory and Applications research team is currently preparing a four-day workshop on new horizons in copula modeling. The event will take place December 15-18 at the Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM) in Montréal. It will feature close to twenty specialists from a dozen countries or so. In addition to fostering interaction between group members, the workshop should help to develop a collective view of recent advances in the field, generate new ideas, and create training opportunities. For more details, see

The Statistical Modeling of the World: Computer and Physical Models in Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences team members are co-teaching a course called Dynamic Computer Experiments. This course is held jointly by video link at Acadia University, Simon Fraser University and University of British Columbia. It is a great opportunity for students at the three universities to interact.

Screen shot of the Dynamic Computer Experiments course at Acadia, SFU and UBC. (Photo credit: Derek Bingham)

CANSSI Board Composition

A proposal for the Board composition will be brought forward to the December Board meeting to be considered.

The Board will be elected each year at the Annual General Meeting, and normally, the term of a member of the Board will be three years, renewable once; beginning in 2015, some will be understood to be serving for one more year, some for two more years, and some for three years.

Statistical Inference, Learning and Models for Big Data

CANSSI is proud to be a supporter of this thematic program.

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