Kerrie Mengerson (QUT): Priors and Problems: Using One to Inform about the Other

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The South Australian Branch of the Statistical Society would like to invite you to the September talk of the 2016 program.


Venue: G04 Lecture Theatre, Napier Building, North Terrace, Adelaide University.

Campus map is available at


***Please note that most entrance doors to Adelaide University buildings close at 6pm so make sure you arrive in time for the talk.



5.30pm – Refreshments in the Lecture Theatre.

6.05pm – General Meeting Talk.

7.30 pm – A dinner will be held after the meeting at Jasmin Indian Restaurant, 31 Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide.


Please rsvp for dinner to [email protected] by 19th September.


Speaker: Kerrie Mengerson (Queensland University of Technology)


Topic: Priors and Problems: Using One to Inform about the Other


Abstract: Priors are one of the tenets of Bayesian modelling, yet their formulation, properties and impact are still a subject of much discussion. In this presentation we consider a range of ‘real-world’ problems in which a Bayesian approach has been instrumental. In particular, we explore the way in which the problem has informed the prior, and in return the prior has elaborated on the problem. The first example involves priors for latent variable structures, namely mixtures and hidden Markov models. The second involves elicitation and formulation of priors based on virtual reality and immersive environments. The latter problem is described in the context of conservation of threatened species, in particular rock wallabies in Australia and jaguars in the Peruvian Amazon. In addition to exploring how these priors are constructed and incorporated in the models, we ask the question: how much more insight do we gain about the problem of interest through this approach to statistical analysis?


Biography: Kerrie Mengersen has held a Chair in Statistics at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) for over 15 years. She is one of Australia’s most prominent Bayesian statisticians, is currently an Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellow (2015-2020), and is the Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers (ACEMS) in Big Data, Big Models, and New Insights. Kerrie is an Accredited Member of the Statistical Society of Australia (2001) and Society President, a long-time executive member of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis, an elected Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society (2004) and an elected Fellow of the Institute for Mathematical Sciences (2005). She has over 200 refereed journal publications and sustains a Bayesian Research and Applications Group (BRAG) comprising postgraduate students and early career researchers working on a variety of methodological and applied problems in health, environment and industry.

Kerrie Mengerson (QUT): Priors and Problems: Using One to Inform about the Other
When: 21/09/2016
Time: 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Cost: Free
Location: G04 Napier Building,
North Terrace,
South Australia 5001

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