November 16, 2008
This might be it for the year
I'm sad to say that this might be about it for the rest of the year, in terms of real blog posts. Starting next weekend, I'll be in Europe for a week and a half. My first stop is Zurich Switzerland where I'll be giving a talk at ETH Zurich's "Modeling Complex Socio-Economic Systems and Crises" seminar about my work on the statistical patterns in terrorism. And, since it's a long way to go for a short trip, Lisa and I are taking the train to Paris France right after to celebrate Thanksgiving in the land of the baguette. Almost immediately after I get back from Europe, I'm running a workshop at SFI called Statistical Inference for Complex Networks, which should be very stimulating. Then, I'll have a few days to wrap loose ends before I fly to Peru for two weeks to, among other things, hike the Inca Trail and see Machu Picchu. When I get back, 2008 will be all but over, and it'll be time to do my year-in-review post.
Update 5 January 2009: If you're interested, I've posted many of my pictures from Peru and the Inca Trail on my Flickr photostream.
November 11, 2008
Workshop: CompleNet 2009
Another workshop on networks, this one in Europe. I'll be serving on the Program Committee, and there's to be some kind of special volume for the accepted papers. The list of networks-related topics is pretty broad, so I hope it gets a nice cross-section of the current work on networks. Also, pleasantly enough, the list of folks involved in it is very large, which makes me think it'll be a good place to interact with networks folks from all over.
CompleNET 2009 Workshop
May 26-28, 2009, in Catania, Italy
Organizers: Giuseppe Mangioni (University of Catania), Ronaldo Menezes (Florida Institute of Technology), Vincenzo Nicosia (University of Catania)
Submission Deadline: January 11, 2009
Description: This international workshop on complex networks (CompleNET 2009) aims at bringing together researchers and practitioners working on areas related to complex networks. In the past two decades we have been witnessing an exponential increase on the number of publications in this field. From biological systems to computer science, from economic to social systems, complex networks are becoming pervasive in many fields of science. It is this interdisciplinary nature of complex networks that this workshop aims at addressing. Authors are encouraged to submit previously unpublished papers on their research in complex networks. Both theoretical and applied papers are of interest. Specific topics of interest are (but not limited to):
. Models of Complex Networks
. Structural Network Properties and Analysis
. Complex Network in Technology
. Complex Networks in Biological Systems
. Social Networks
. Search in Complex Networks
. Emergence in Complex Networks
. Complex Networks and Computer Epidemics
. Rumor Spreading
. Community Structure in Networks
. Link Analysis and Ranking
Original papers in the above-mentioned and other related areas will be considered. Each submitted paper will be fully refereed and undergo a double-blind review process by at least two referees. The accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings to be published by Springer-Verlag as volume of the series of Studies in Computational Intelligence.
Fellowship: Glasstone Research Fellowships (Oxford, UK)
Mason tells me that Oxford has a pretty good postdoctoral research fellowship gig called the Glasstone Fellowship. The appointment is for up to 3 years, under what looks like pretty general / nebulous guidelines about doing "science." THe fellowship also comes with some travel and research-related funding. Application deadline for the upcoming year is December 8th.
The terms of the bequest restrict the fellowships to “the fields of Botany, Chemistry (Inorganic, Organic or Physical), Engineering, Mathematics, Metallurgy, and Physics”. These will be broadly interpreted; for example Plant Sciences can generally be equated with Botany, Mathematics would include Computer Science and Statistics, Metallurgy can be equated with Materials. The medical sciences, Zoology and Biochemistry (unless related to Plant Sciences) are outside the scope of the scheme.
November 08, 2008
Conference: Sunbelt 29
I've never myself been to Sunbelt, the main conference in sociology on social networks, but I hear it's a good event to attend if you're interested in social networks, and how they're being used to answer questions about social organization and social behavior.
The International Network for Social Network Analysis's (INSNA) Sunbelt XXIX
March 10-15, 2009 at Bahia Hotel at Mission Beach San Diego
Organizers: Rebecca L. Davis, Laura Koehly and Thomas W. Valente
Submission Deadline: December 15, 2008
Description: The annual meeting of the International Network for Social Network Analysis provides a forum for researchers, academicians, and practitioners to present research results and project updates. Abstracts, not completed papers, should be submitted on the INSNA website which will also ask for descriptive keywords. Keywords will be used to group presentations into sessions. The conference is preceded by workshops on many aspects of social network analysis including introductory courses and trainings on software platforms. We look forward to an exciting and vibrant conference this year. FAQ and contact information can be found at www.insna.org.
November 02, 2008
The election is coming up very quickly, and just in time there is a statistical analysis of the likelihood that your vote will decide the election.  The analysis is due to Andrew Gelman and colleagues , and below is their main figure, showing which states are likely to be the closest races (lighter colors). For instance, my current home state of New Mexico (which was won by Gore by less than 500 or so votes in 2000, and won by Bush by less than 3000 votes or so in 2004 ) is one of the places where the national presidential election could come down to a single vote. This makes me especially glad that I got my vote in early (via absentee, since I'm in New York right now).
For those of you who haven't voted, but can, please make the rational choice  and vote in this election.
For those interested in the details, here's the abstract for Gelman's writeup :
One of the motivations for voting is that one vote can make a difference. In a presidential election, the probability that your vote is decisive is equal to the probability that your state is necessary for an electoral college win, times the probability the vote in your state is tied in that event. We compute these probabilities for each state in the 2008 presidential election, using state-by-state election forecasts based on the latest polls. The states where a single vote is most likely to matter are New Mexico, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Colorado, where your vote has an approximate 1 in 10 million chance of determining the national election outcome. On average, a voter in America has a 1 in 60 million chance of being decisive in the presidential election.
(tip to Jake.)
 For those who haven't yet discovered them, there are many places that are doing interesting kinds of forecasting for this election. fivethirtyeight.com is one that is frequently mentioned to me, which does sophisticated voting simulations.
 Gelman blogs the analysis at the Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science blog, and there's some additional commentary at Red State Blue State Rich State Poor State.
 These figures are, I think, roughly what I heard at a recent political rally, but they could be wrong either because of a bum memory or a biased source.
 Edlin, Gelman and Kaplan, "Voting as a Rational Choice: Why and How People Vote To Improve the Well-Being of Others." Rationality and Society 19, 293 (2007). Gelman has blogged some additional comments on this topic here.
 Gelman, Silver, and Edlin, "What is the probability your vote will make a difference?" Pre-print (2008).