Branch Meetings

Branch Meetings for 2017 Poster

​​Statistical Society of Australia Canberra Branch Meeting

Please note the Knibbs lecture is co-hosted by SSA Environmental Statistics Section, and will be streamed live in some form (time listed below) via  For those who wish to listen to the presentation online, please email Francis Hui (SSA Canberra or reply to this email directly) by Monday 4 December to receive a formal invite via email.

Date: Tuesday 5 December 2017

Times (AEST):

5.15pm Refreshments, Allan Barton Forum, Level 2, Room 248, College of Business and Economics, ANU (Map).
6.00pm Presentation in Allan Barton Forum (Speaker: A/Prof Rachel Fewster; Discussant: A/Prof Hanlin Shang)
7.30pm After the talk, there will be a dinner at Copper Chimney 24 West Row, Canberra (Restaurant).

Please RSVP Francis Hui (SSA Canberra or reply to this email directly) by Monday 4 December if you would like to attend the dinner. 

Speaker: Rachel Fewster, Department of Statistics, University of Auckland
Topic: Statistical stocking fillers


If statistical methodologies were Christmas presents, which ones would you choose to surprise and delight your friends? Here I will describe a couple of my favourite statistical novelty items – methods I’ve stumbled across over the years that don’t seem to be in wide use, but have proven themselves to be magic bullets for a broad array of problems.
The first is the saddlepoint approximation, which converts a moment generating function into a probability density. I will show how this can be used to solve some tricky conundrums, with applications encompassing multi-list problems in capture-recapture, inference from anonymised contingency tables, and genetic assignment analyses.
The second tool is ideal for DIY enthusiasts: a cubic spline flat-pack that can be assembled in minutes to make a personalised trend model. This is the gift that keeps on giving, conferring the gleeful pleasure of rattling off new applications with a few tweaks of reusable code. Examples will range from population trend models for Amazonian rainforest animals, to the impact of the phase of the moon on hungry beach-dwelling organisms.
Rachel Fewster is an Associate Professor in statistics at the University of Auckland. She studied mathematics at Cambridge, and did a PhD in statistics at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. In 1999, she took up a two-year postdoctoral position in New Zealand, and is somehow still there. Her research interests range from the applied to the theoretical, but mostly hover at the interface between methodology and application, with particular interests in ecology, animal behaviour, and population genetics. She was awarded a NZ National Tertiary Teaching Award in 2009, has been an Associate Editor of Biometrics for a bit over a decade, and coordinates the citizen science project CatchIT, which offers data management and analysis to hundreds of users from NZ’s thriving community conservation sector.

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