(by Julien Cornebise)
First, Important information:
- Main entrance is Hall C & D on Convention Center Drive.
There, I saved the throng of statisticians aghast roaming up and down Washington Boulevard in search of an entrance at the back of the Convention Center. Found it the hard way.
- Free wifi in the Exhibit Hall only.
SSID JSM2011, sponsored by Revolution Analytics.
The hoard of starved geeks will appreciate. Everywhere else in the Conference Center, paying access only (SSID Instant Internet, 12.95 USD/day).
Update Sunday 07/31: very good reception in the Sky Bridge, to use when the Exhibit Hall is closed/packed!
- Bring a sweater.
It is freaking cold in the Center, circa 18 C/64 F — and burning hot outside, 33 C/91 F.(Worse comes to worse, tie it around your neck, you’ll look French.)
- Miami city offers wi-fi in a lot of places
Just connect to SSID City_of_Miami_Beach_WiFi or SSID MBKIDS, and create an account as a visitor. A bit slow, but widespread: if you’re lucky, you’ll scan it from your rented flat.
The registration team is awfully nice, and the program book awfully thick. On Monday morning 10:30-12:20, 50 (!) parallel sessions, that’s a record — as expected, conflict between<
- Bayesian Model Assessment organized by Christian Robert, with Andrew Gelman, Jean-Michel Marin, and Merlise Clyde (again, I’m a bayesian, but I’m OK);
- Jianqing Fan’s Medallion Lecture on ultra-high dimension, organized by Jun Liu, chaired by Peter Hall
- and the Savage Award session, organized by the Section on Bayesian Statistical Science and ISBA.
Full disclaimer: a speaker in the latter, I have a strong bias for attending it, but would have really loved attending the two others! Hopefully, I’ll catch up with the speakers later that day, but if anyone could send a summary of those sessions, I’ll gleefully post it here.
Now for the fun: as things only really start tomorrow, the conference center is still a ghost town, reminiscent of a micro-array data: very sparse (p definitely higher than n). Statisticians are everywhere around, though: having breakfast in a local shop, I suddenly heard “residuals”, “correlation analysis”, “multivariate response”, and “variability in covariates” in the same sentence at the next table. Definitely not your average breakfast conversation!Actually, once you’ve started to notice it, you realize that we are everywhere. In the streets, on the (shadowed) terraces, in the shops (preferably high-protection-suncream-aisle), skinny never-see-the-sun guys wearing polo shirts, glasses and backpacks — any resemblance with my own look is purely fortuitous.
Finally, random thoughts on Miami:
- What is this big hot yellow ball in the sky? The sun !!? I wouldn’t have known, I live in London.
- Amazing beach. Good thing I have to blog, or I might not have seen much of the afternoon sessions! (just kidding)
- What’s with the body-builders and pin-ups everywhere (the second most represented minority, after statisticians)? Come on, there must be more to it than good exercising and sunbathing.
- Cycling to the convention center on the ocean front this morning, by 33 C/91 F, with a backpack, no exercise for the last 2 months. What. Was. I. Thinking?! Miami Beach City bikes are definitely well balanced and worth a try, though! 5 USD for an hour.
Looking forward to seeing you all arrive and populate this still-empty convention center. Extra points for Cambridge University Press: their bookstore booth is the first fully set-up and browsable! It should keep us from getting sunburned on the beach this afternoon.