Graduate Lectures

PG Lecture


This lecture series now typically consists of three one and a half hour lectures in each of the following research areas:  Computational Statistics; Probability and Bioinformatics/Mathematical Genetics.

The lectures are usually held on Thursdays from 3.30 pm – 5.00 pm in the Small Lecture Theatre (LG.03), Department of Statistics, 24-29 St Giles unless indicated otherwise.

WEEK 1:   Thursday 12th October, 3.30 pm

Speaker: Professor Charlotte Deane, Professor Gesine Reinert, Department of Statistics, University of Oxford

Title:  Active and Passive Presentations: how to present your work, and how to get the most out of seminars, lectures and poster sessions    

WEEK 2:  Thursday 19th October, 3.30 pm

Speaker:  Geoff Nicholls, Department of Statistics, University of Oxford

Title:        The Savage Axioms for Dummies

Abstract:   In Bayesian inference the subjective expected utility is an object of foundational importance. The decision maker’s choices maximise this utility, and so it decides some elements of our statistical methodology.
For the SEU to exist we need a prior and a utility representing the subjective beliefs of the analyst to exist.

The Savage Axioms are a set of axioms which impose a certain “consistency” on our beliefs and values, and are sufficient for a representative prior and utility function to exist. I will present the axioms in the form given by Maurice de Groot,and look at two famous paradoxes which show, or appear to show, that some very natural human beliefs and values are in conflict with these axioms.I will mention some approaches to resolving of these paradoxes and conclude with a brief evaluation of the axioms.


WEEK 3:  Friday 27th October, 12.00 noon

Graduate Talk by XTX Markets followed by pizza lunch.  For catering purposes, please book your place here.

Title:         Replacing the human trader

Abstract:  XTX Markets trades an average of $80Bio daily in thousands of financial instruments  on an electronic basis with  little human interaction. This adds liquidity to the global financial markets and is made possible by taking a highly systematic, purely data-driven, approach to trading.  In this talk, we will describe how trading can be automated, the sort of problems that it poses, and how a small team of mathematicians, statisticians and computer scientists tackles them.

WEEK 4:  Thursday 2nd November, 3.30 pm 

Speaker: Dr Ricardo Silva, Lecturer in Statistics, UCL 

Title: Causal Inference, a Machine Learning Perspective         

Abstract: In this exposition, we will discuss the common tools used in the machine learning community to describe causal assumptions and how this leads to particular ways of thinking concerning the estimation of causal effects. We will focus on two main case studies: how to combine data from observational and experimental studies; and how to criticise ways of adjusting for confounding in observational studies, given that background knowledge my be imperfect and hide default assumptions with unintended consequences.     

WEEK 5:  Wednesday 8th November, 3.30 pm, Large Lecture Theatre (LG.01)

The Tenth Florence Nightingale Lecture by Sir Andrew Dilnot CBE 

Speaker:  Sir Andrew Dilnot, Warden Nuffield College, Oxford

Title:         Numbers and Public policy: Why statistics really matter

Abstract: Statistics abound in the discussion of public policy – politicians’ speeches, newspapers, radio, television and social media are full of numbers.  It would be easy to think that the statistics didn’t really matter, that they are just being used to make arguments that have been decided on in advance and without any attention to the underlying facts.  That may sometimes be true, but it is not something we can be happy with.  Statistics and statistical thought have a great deal to contribute to public debate, and we should be vigorous in making the argument for them.

WEEK 6:  Thursday 16th November, 3.30 pm

Speaker:  Jen Rogers, Department of Statistics, University of Oxford

Title:         Life as a statistical consultant

Abstract:  Jen took on the role of Director of Statistical Consultancy Services within the Department in July last year. In this talk she will be presenting her experiences of the job, talking about what is like to work with industry on a consultancy basis and professional aspects associated with the role. She will go through case studies of work that she has carried out, introducing the kinds of statistical problems that she typically encounters. Finally, she will also be outlining ways in which you may be able to get involved with consultancy activities within the Department.

WEEK 7:  Friday 24th November, 3.00 pm, Large Lecture Theatre (LG.01)

Corcoran Memorial Prize Award and Lecture.  Book your place here.


WEEK 8:  Thursday 30th November, 2.00 pm, Small Lecture Theatre (LG.03)

Third year Graduate Talks


Previous lectures: TT17: MT16; TT16; HT16