NISS at JSM 2021

As in years past, NISS sponsored activities were in full swing at JSM sessions.  Those who signed up for JSM2021 can still view the recordings of the sessions at the conference site.

Sunday, 8/8/2021

Statistically Accurate Interactive Displays for Educational and Government Reports (Session 52)

Chair, Brian Habing (NISS) reported a lively session that discussed the various entries into NISS’s SAID in Graphics Competition earlier this year. Of particular interest were what those entries said about the possibilities for government reports like those published by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and about how today’s graduate students experience constructing statistical graphics.   

The panelists were Nola Du Toit, (NORC; a contest judge), Andrew White, (NCES),  S. Lynne Stokes,  (SMU) and Mark Wilson (UC Berkely).

A video interview of Maria Haji-GeorgiXinyun Xu and Oxana Rosca (SUNY University at Albany) was featured in the session. The three of them  were part of the team that won the Judges Choice Award along with Falon Treis and Elie Yu. Below is a glimpse of their winning entry.

Read the complete news coverage from these competition on the NISS website!

Wednesday, 8/11/2021 

NISS at 30: Highlights from the Early Years and Emerging Trends (Session 271)

The panelists for this session included: Daniel Jeske, (University of California Riverside), David Banks, (Duke University & SAMSI), Jerome Sacks, (NISS), Nancy Flournoy, (University of Missouri), Nell Sedransk, (NISS).

Chaired by Jim Rosenberger and organized by Lingzhou Xue, NISS Associate Director, the invited panel of NISS at 30: Highlights from the Early Years, and Emerging Trends proceeded to look back to when the vision for NISS was formed and then look forward to the emerging issues that NISS is now addressing. 

Dan Jeske highlighted the many activities during the past few years aimed at the NISS affiliates.  

David Banks reminisced from the initial workshop that birthed NISS, to the many years NISS and SAMSI cooperated on programs and shared space in the NISS building in RTP. 

Nancy Flournoy recalled the formation of the NSF sponsored IMS committee that produced the 1988 Cross-disciplinary Report which called for the formation of NISS, starting her recollections with the 1984 IMS President Ingram Olkin scheming with colleagues at their annual meeting at Lake Tahoe.  Leaders in the Statistics Community were concerned about the deep divide that then existed between theory and applications.  Bruce Tumbo, then IMS Treasurer and also NSF Program Director for Statistics, encouraged a grant application to support the development of a panel report to provide recommendations for promoting crossdisciplinary research in statistics.  Bruce was happy to shepherd their grant application through the review process; Judy Sunley, then Deputy Director of NSF’s Division of Mathematical Sciences, had also listened to community concerns at Lake Tahoe and was happy to sign off on the grant award.  The distinguished panel had several in-person working meetings at NSF in Washington DC, producing their report in 1988.  This report advocated for promoting the “interactive process between theory, method and application that is the very essence and life-blood of statistical sciences.“  We can thank the effort of all those involved in producing this report for this understanding of “statistical sciences” becoming commonly accepted!

The Cross-Disciplinary Report called for the establishment of an Institute of Statistical Sciences to:

  • Identify important societal problems;
  • Form research teams to attack these problems;
  • Establish post-doctoral and sabbatical programs and fellowships;
  • Organize workshops for science reporters, congressional staff, and other public groups; and
  • Stimulate curricular improvement – in particular it should concern itself with statistics education issues that are important to the future of statistical science and its applications.

NISS was brought into being a short two years later as a a non-profit corporation by ASA, AAAS’s Section U, COPSS, and ENAR under the direction of Jerome Sacks. Nancy congratulated NISS for doing a great job with respect to all its charges for 30 years and for its nimbleness for adapting its charges to changing times.

Nancy then turned to discuss one of the newer NISS programs, the Ingram Olkin Forums (IOFs).   This forum series was established in 2018 to honor the memory of Ingram Olkin (July 23, 1924 – April 28, 2016), recognizing that Ingram had a passion for both the field of statistics and its impact and believing:

  • Statistics are beautiful – theory and applications;
  • Statistics are powerful;
  • Statistics can make unique, center-stage contributions in service to society;
  • Cross-disciplinary research is a fuel that can thrust Statistical Science forward;

IOFs, with the tag line “Statistics Serving Society”,  focus on current societal issues that might benefit from new/renewed attention from the statistical community. 

The NISS IOF Committee found the inaugural IOF on the Statistics of Gun Violence in 2019 an exciting demonstration that the Forum model could advance NISS goals.  The Committee anticipated conducting one in-person forum per year.  Then came COVID.  A major component of IOFs is promoting participant interaction, the development of new research agendas and the building of follow-on working teams.  The second planned IOF was to be on the Opioid Crises. But it had been planned to coincide with another meeting that was postponed so was it also postponed; its scheduling is not yet fixed – stay tuned. In the meantime IOF series were started on Unplanned Clinical Trial Disruptions, Social Justice and Covid and the Schools. Nancy will discuss these and upcoming plans more specifically in a later newsletter.

Panelist Nell Sedransk reviews the future roles that NISS can play with regards to its role in support of the statistics and data science community.

Anyone who registered for JSM2021 can still view the recordings of the all of these sessions at the conference site.


NISS Research Paper Presentations

Thursday, 8/12/2021

Small Area Estimation, Analysis of Complex Sample Survey Data, and New Advances for Health Surveys (Session 352)

Chair(s): Lu Chen, NISS/USDA, NASS

Model-Based Estimates for Farm Labor Quantities (Session 403)

Recent Advances in Small Area Estimation 

Lu Chen, National Institute of Statistical Sciences/USDA, NASS; Nathan B. Cruze, NASS, USDA; Linda J Young, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

Estimation of Power Transformations in Capture-Recapture Models (Session 445)

GOVT CSpeed 2 

Luca Sartore, NISS; Habtamu Benecha, USDA NASS; Clifford Spiegelman, Texas A&M

Controlled Microbiome Variable Selection Analysis (Session 432)

Novel Statistical Methods for Microbiome Data Analysis 

Xiang Zhan , Penn State University; Arun Srinivasan, Penn State University; Lingzhou Xue, Penn State University and National Institute of Statistical Sciences

Tuesday, August 17, 2021 by Glenn Johnson