Events - April 2020

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 — 4:00 PM EDT

Whatever Happened to Design-Based Inference?

In the year 2000, in a conversation later published in Statistical Science, John Nelder explained the genesis of his theory of General Balance as follows:

"During my first employment at Rothamsted, I was given the job of analyzing some relatively complex structured experiments on trace elements. There were crossed and nested classifications with confounding and all the rest of it, and I could produce analyses of variance for these designs. I then began to wonder how I knew what the proper analyses were and I thought that there must be some general principles that would allow one to deduce the form of the analysis from the structure of the design." (p7)[1]

The implication is that John Nelder considered that a given design had a given correct analysis. Yet, less than ten years after his papers on General Balance[2, 3], John Nelder, together with Robert Wedderburn, introduced another ‘general’ framework, that of Generalised Linear Models (GLMs)[4], that was to prove far more influential.  Ironically, the flexibility that it introduced tended to undermine the role of design as a guide to analysis and whereas every statistical package now incorporates the ability to fit GLMs, almost no package (Genstat® is a notable exception) incorporates John Nelder’s block structure and treatment structure approach to analysing designed experiments.

In this lecture I shall consider what exactly we should think about appropriate analyses for designed experiments and why, touching on the role of randomisation and marginal and conditional inferences. Taking an example of applying John Nelder’s general balance approach to a notorious problem, Lord’s paradox[5], I shall show that there may be some lessons for two fashionable topics: causal analysis and big data.I conclude by claiming that the time is right to shift our attention from the computational and conceptual advances that John Nelder made in the 1970s to what he created in the 1960s; his powerful theory of General Balance may have valuable lessons for us.

Thursday, April 16, 2020 — 3:00 PM EDT

TBA

Friday, April 3, 2020 — 10:30 AM EDT

TBA

Thursday, April 2, 2020 — 3:00 PM EDT

TBA

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