Working at the interface of statistics with applied and computational mathematics

Tagged: cohort

Sequential Logarithmic Spoons (SLS)

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📥  Statistical Applied Mathematics

(Blog jointly written by Elizabeth Gray and Cameron Smith)

It has come to our attention that nearly a year has passed since the mighty managerial mission to mastermind SLS was comprehensively conferred to our eagerly awaiting shoulders; bright eyed and uninitiated in the ways of SAMBa as they were.

It is thus with a modicum of nostalgia that we reminiscently relish the (w)riting of this review.

It all began one whimsical Wednesday when we decided to take one for the team and volunteer to organise SLS for the term (sorry, *Semester, what is this place?). What could possibly go wrong?

Well, for starters, THIS:


Have we lost you yet? Perhaps we should explain.

In truth, SLS stands for neither sequential logarithmic spoons nor spicy lentil soup, sautéed lobster salad or slightly lacklustre sultanas but does in fact stand for Student Led Symposium. "What is that?", we hear you cry in eager anticipation. Believe us, it's a common question, one which we often ask ourselves.

SLS is a tri-weekly forum in which speakers invited by yours truly, industrial partners, and students give talks, workshops and lead mathematically informative sessions in the lead up to SAMBa's flagship activity, the ITT.


In order to prepare ourselves for such a task and to morph ourselves into the highly developed and effective interdisciplinary statisico-mathematicians which now appeareth before thine eyes, we organised many engaging activities. We present... our greatest hits:

  1. Straight in at number five are the industrial partner visits and their fascinating and mathematically unformulated problems. Problems included personalised medicine, absorption of pesticides through the skin and shaking seeds, or bees, or some undetermined small objects. Who knew seeds in a box could be so much fun?
  2. A non-mover at number four with our invited speakers. Topics included clinical trials, statistics for Syngenta problems, inverse problems and Susie's "how grown up mathematicians get money" talk about EPSRC project proposals.
  3. Clinging onto the charts for yet another year at number three are the student talks, where SAMBa students presented any previous research they had done. We learnt about general relativity, symplectic geometry, a history of probability in Mongolia and torturing rats. An overall enlightening experience.
  4. At number two, an entry so controversial, that not even the website saw it. That's right, its the ethical discussion session! We talked about the ethical questions surrounding research and industrial collaboration.
  5. And finally, a brand new entry at number one, FUN FRIDAYS!!!! This was a (semi) successful attempt at harnessing the fundamental ability ingrained in all SAMBa students, to talk about and apply maths off the cuff in fun situations such as: Rugby, dinosaurs, optimal time to buy your lunch, buses and flies in Elizabeth's flat. A series of highly competitive and mathematically charged sessions pushed the boundaries of mathematical creativity, weirdness and team collaboration which seemed an ideal environment to dip our toes into the murky world of problem formulation in preparation for the ITT. Below, we see team Finite Dinosaur Method defining and presenting on the Flinstone probability:


What more can be said for such a wonderful year. Not much as we would like to go home at some point today, before sense of humour levels dip below critical. Thus we will leave you with our most ambitious SLS session to Las Vegas¹ with a picture:


SLS love
Camzabeth x

¹ If anyone from EPSRC is reading, this never happened.


Students organise brilliant first SAMBa conference

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📥  Statistical Applied Mathematics

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We welcomed in mid-summer with our first SAMBa conference. The conference was organised by students Ben Robinson and Adwaye Rambojun, with many more of our students presenting talks or posters over the two days. These presentations showcased the range of excellent research that is taking place across the continuum of statistical applied mathematics.


External speakers Anja Sturm (University of Göttingen), Colin Morice (Met Office), and Richie Gill (Mechanical Engineering) showcased their work on branching and coalescing particle systems, reconstruction of daily air temperature variations, and in silico clinical trials, respectively.


Our partners, GKN, Schlumberger, AstraZeneca, and BT, each sponsored a session, and we were pleased to welcome a number of staff and students from UK universities, and industrial organisations, with 80 people attending over the two days.


Paul Milewski, co-Director of SAMBa, said: “It is wonderful to see the breadth of research taking place in SAMBa, and how well it was presented. The combination of talented students, diversity of research, and a cohort approach, where students continuously discuss with each other, has worked out extremely well.”


Anja Sturm, one of the invited speakers, said: "I was very impressed with the SAMBa programme and the conference. The talks and presentations were excellent and I was particularly taken by the great enthusiasm the students showed for their projects - which were indeed quite diverse and very interesting both from a mathematical, as well as an application point of view."


The atmosphere during the conference was great, with lots of discussion and a real sense of celebrating the achievements of SAMBa. We are already looking forward to next year!

More photos can be viewed here on Flickr.