Takeaways from the 2013 Joint Statistical Meetings


While JSM 2013 officially wraps up Thursday, the difficult portion of my trip is over. Here are my takeaways from an exciting five days.

Something for everyone:  While I’m still young in this profession, I was amazed at the vast amount of applications of topics covered by different sessions. There could be deep statistical theory in room but easier applications in the next, and this was across nearly all disciplines. The program book was 315 pages and there were 693 total sessions. Statistics is growing.  I’m glad to be on board.

Mix. Mix till it hurts: I don’t always listen to my adviser (actually, if you’re reading this Roee, I always do), but one of his best pieces of advice was to keep mixing and introducing myself to people, no matter how silly it seemed to be. I think I attended 6 mixers (see below), and I’m grateful for all of the people whom I met at these and at other events. So while we are at it……

My unofficial free stuff mixer ranking (A = free alcohol, S = snacks, D = dinner):

Opening mixer (A, S)

Student mixer (A, S)

Canadian Statistical Society mixer (D)

HPSS mixer (0.5A, S)

Education Mixer (S)

Bayesian Mixer (S)

Advancements in Social Media: Twitter took a big part of JSM 2013, and I think it’s here to stay. This is for the better. The Q & A with Nate Silver was much stronger that it otherwise would have been because of the consistent, steady flow of organized questions. I also enjoyed following the presentations of others via social media, and I hope that more are on board for #JSM2014.

Along similar lines, I give the organizers at ASA a large amount of credit for the efforts to have wireless throughout the convention center, too (this was especially needed in Canada, where most attendees did not have a mobile data plan activated)

Everyone was really, really, friendly.  It was exciting to meet and chat with several of my idols in causal inference, and even more exciting when a few of them came to my talk. And all of them were friendly, so now I can keep citing them in my dissertation.

You get what you pay for: I won’t specifically name the hotel I stayed at (it sounds a lot like Gravelbodge), but it was the cheapest of the hotels nearby the conference center. It calls itself “European style,” which apparently equates to the following

No spoons at breakfast– Two of four days I ate cereal with a fork.

Shower heads starting at my neck: On the plus side, I got to practice yoga while washing my hair.

The dance/lounger: Hard to collect my thoughts here, but I’m glad I attended. Said BYU student Paul Sabin (@Ski_Sabin): Always thought I was a bad dancer. Then I danced with statisticians- felt above average

I can’t wait for Boston in 2014: Game on, right in my backyard!



  1. Is there a statistically significant difference at the alpha 0.05 level, with regard to chute height? That’s the real question.

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