Happy 2013: The International Year of Statistics

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The ASA has declared 2013 to be the International Year of Statistics and I am ready to celebrate it in full force. It is a great time to be a statistician and I am hoping more people will join the fun. In fact, as we like to point out in this blog, Statistics has already been at the center of many exciting accomplishments of the 21st century. Sabermetrics  has become a standard approach and inspired the Hollywood movie Money Ball. Friend of the blog Chris Volinsky, a PhD Statistician, led the team that won the Netflix million dollar prize. Nate Silver et al. proved the pundits wrong by, once again, using statistical models to predict election results almost perfectly. R has become one the most widely used programming languages in the world. Meanwhile, in academia, the number of statisticians becoming leaders in fields like environmental sciences, human genetics, genomics, and social sciences continues to grow. It is no surprise that stats majors at Harvard have more than quadrupled since 2000 and that statistics MOOCs are among the most popular.

The unprecedented advances in digital technology during the second half of the 20th century has produced a measurement revolution that is transforming the world. Many areas of science are now being driven by new measurement technologies and many insights are being made by discovery-driven, as opposed to hypothesis-driven, experiments. Empiricism is back with a vengeance. The current scientific era is defined by its dependence on data and the statistical methods and concepts developed during the 20th century provide an incomparable toolbox to help tackle current challenges. The toolbox, along with computer science, will also serve as a base for the methods of tomorrow.  So I will gladly join the Year of Statistics' festivities during 2013 and beyond, during the era of data-driven science.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.morrow.37819 John Morrow

    I heartily endorse the sentiment, but it's quite a stretch to claim that R is one of the "most widely used" programming languages in the world.

    Used by most of us data geeks? Sure. Used by anybody else? Not so much. 😉

    • OZ
      • http://www.facebook.com/john.morrow.37819 John Morrow

        Yes, I know. That was my point. It's behind COBOL... I'm not sure that having 0.453% market share qualifies as "one of the most widely used" languages.

        • http://www.facebook.com/LoveandHumanity Francisco Javier Arceo

          One should also consider the audience; its use is probably very high among academics and people in the industry of data analysis.While it surely has other uses, I would be hard pressed to believe computer scientists run to R first. I think the author means that it's highly used in the field of statistical analysis, not necessarily all fields that use programming.

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  • Tutorsindia

    Yes 2013 its goona be a statistical international year.I am so proud to be an statistician