2013: International Year of Statistics

The year 2013 will be celebrated around the world as the International Year of Statistics and is being referred to as Statistics 2013. The main purpose of Statistics 2013 is to promote the role of Statistics in society. The promotional campaign will operate through the participation of numerous academic and professional societies and organizations, and will be targeted at the whole community of government, business, academic and scientific institutions, as principal users of statistical information. The target audience will also include the media, policymakers, employers, students, and the general public. The stated objectives of Statistics 2013 include: increasing public awareness of the power and influence of Statistics on all aspects of society; nurturing Statistics as a profession, especially among young people; and promoting creativity and development in the sciences of Probability and Statistics.

The Steering Committee for Statistics 2013 comprises several leading statisticians from the International Statistical Institute, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, International Biometric Society, Bernoulli Society, American Statistical Association, and the United Kingdom’s Royal Statistical Society. There are currently 661 organizations, representing 94 countries, that have become participants in Statistics 2013; these include 244 universities, 101 government agencies, 70 business entities, and 22 research institutes. Many international organizations are supporting Statistics 2013, including: United Nations; Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development; International Monetary Fund; African Development Bank; and Asian Development Bank.

Many of the participating organizations are responding to the call to celebrate the International Year of Statistics by launching programs and initiatives to communicate the importance of statistical methodology, research, and practical applications. The British Academy has launched a four-year program to support quantitative skills in the humanities and social sciences; working with key stakeholders, the Academy seeks to build capacity, to demonstrate the value of quantitative skills for the health and well-being of the educational and research base, to achieve competitiveness in global markets, and to provide direction for the benefit of individuals and society in general. Several universities are promoting Statistics 2013 by holding workshops or offering lectures and short courses with a particular focus on important social, economic or technological issues, such as environmental, financial, health and epidemiological challenges.

There will also be numerous regular and special conferences organized by participating organizations during the year 2013. Of particular note is the World Statistics Congress of the International Statistical Institute to be held in Hong Kong, August 25-30. A major Joint Statistical Meeting (JSM ), that is expected to attract more than 6000 individual participants, will be held in Montreal, Canada, August 3-8. JSM will bring together the members of eight organizations for a six-day gathering that will offer a full range of conference activities, including topical presentations, panel sessions, poster presentations, continuing education courses, an exhibit hall with state-of-the-art statistical products and services, career placement services, society and section business meetings, committee meetings, social activities and networking opportunities. The eight participating societies are: American Statistical Association; Institute of Mathematical Statistics; International Biometric Society; International Chinese Statistical Association; International Indian Statistical Association; International Society for Bayesian Analysis; Korean International Statistical Association; and Statistical Society of Canada. Also noteworthy is the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) that is undertaking research programs relating to healthcare, the environment, astronomy and high-energy physics. SAMSI is a partnership of Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the National Institute of Statistical Sciences. A particular topic that is receiving increasing attention within the professional statistical community is that of decision-making under conditions of uncertainty. The Université Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne, Universidad de la Habana in Cuba, Universidad de Guerrero in Mexico, and Universidad Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain are organizing a workshop that is dedicated to the applications of optimization models and methods, also statistical and probability-based methodology, numerical analysis and algorithms for modeling systems where randomness, imprecision or changes in systems conditions which cause uncertainty are present; the workshop will include structuring methodology, stochastic models, randomized algorithms, fuzzy models, and soft computing approaches. Another conference of interest in the area of risk and reliability will be held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, July 1-4, on Mathematical Models in Reliability: Theory, Methods and Applications. This conference aims at enhancing international exchanges and promoting advances in reliability and risk theories and techniques, as well as providing a forum for emerging issues in reliability engineering and risk management.

The International Year of Statistics will also present many opportunities for individual statisticians to engage in research activities and publish papers in leading professional and academic journals. Members of other professions who utilize statistical methodology will also find opportunities and reasons to celebrate and participate in Statistics 2013, including econometricians, biometricians, demographers, actuaries, and experts in specific fields such as, financial risks, social security, healthcare, operations research, information technology, astronomy, and weather forecasting.