Benoit Auvray's application of statistics to the prediction of sports results was recently featured in the Otago Daily Times. Benoit is a Senior Research Fellow in the Quantitative Genetics Group, leading a project to develop a new genomic evaluation system for NZ sheep. The article, however, focuses on his work as director and data scientist at Iris Data Science, a small data science company based in Dunedin.
NZMS Research Award
Congratulations to David Bryant for being joint winner of the national NZMS Research Award. David received the award "for work developing mathematical, statistical and computational tools for evolutionary biology, and work drawing on evolutionary biology to develop new theories in mathematics". The annual award was instituted in 1990 to foster mathematical research in New Zealand and to recognise excellence in research carried out by New Zealand mathematicians.
Alastair Lamont Highly Commended Talk
We congratulate Alastair Lamont on being joint runner-up in the recent NZ Statistical Association student talk competition. Alastair's talk was entitled 'Estimation of quantitative genetics parameters in partially-genotyped populations'.
The NZ Maths & Stats Postgraduate conference was held in Queenstown from November 21-23. This year it was organised by students from our Department. It was a hugely enjoyable experience for those involved. Thanks to the contributors for stimulating talks and discussions, and special thanks to the organisers Paula Bran, Chuen Yen Hong, Jerome Cao, Vee Liem Saw and Johannes Mosig. Chuen Yen also won the prize for the best Statistics talk. Photo: Some of the Otago contingent at NZMASP 2016.
Richard Barker appointed Sciences PVC
Congratulations to Prof. Richard Barker on recently being appointed the next Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Sciences. Richard was the Head of Department from 2008 to early 2016 and will lead the division from 2017.
Tilman Davies in profile
The Book of R
Congratulations to Tilman Davies on the publication of his book on R. The book is pitched as a first course in programming and statistics, and is designed to show that in R, programming skills, advanced plotting skills and statistical skills go hand-in-hand. Already it has received rave reviews with the words "epic", "game changer" and "must-have" being used. The Book of R is published by No Starch Press and is available in print and electronic formats.
Richard Barker wins award
We congratulate Prof. Richard Barker on winning the 2016 Institute of Directors Otago Southland Branch Emerging Director Award. Full details of the award and prizes are available on the Institute of Directors website.
Conference honours Mike Hendy
The international Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE) is holding its annual meeting this July, which includes a symposium to honour the collaborative research of Professors David Penny (Massey U) and Mike Hendy. This symposium has the citation: The collaboration of Penny and Hendy has provided a foundation for modern phylogenetics. First to test the theory of evolution from sequence data, and understand the properties of data that can mislead evolutionary tree building, they developed a theoretical framework to explain phylogenetic methods and evaluate their reliability. In this symposium, we celebrate the impact and influence of their work.
Mike was on the organising committee of the only SMBE meeting held in New Zealand (Auckland 2005) and he also was a co_director (2001-2009) of the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution.
Otago statisticians involved in 1080 blackmail case
Richard Barker and Matthew Schofield were involved in work done by the Isotrace Research Unit looking at identifying the source of the 1080 poison recently used to blackmail Fonterra. The work has featured in the Otago bulletin and the ODT.
Fifty years teaching at Otago