Wednesday 3 September 2014

Two Sodankyläläistä in Oulu

This week, the Exactus doctoral programme of the University of Oulu Graduate School (also known as UniOGS) organises a summer school around modern statistical methods for natural scientists. Exactus coordinates the doctoral training of students preparing a PhD in so-called "exact sciences", namely astronomy, physics, chemistry, mathematics and statistics. Incidentally, two of the members of the SGO staff who are currently preparing their PhDs within the Exactus doctoral programme are taking part to this summer school.

Statistics can provide the scientists with highly-valuable tools and methods which may not seem absolutely straightforward at first glance to the neophyte. Yet, the most confusing aspects encountered during the first day turned out not to be mathematical ones but had rather to do with finding directions inside the university buildings.

Entering the R gate


Let us just recall a few key figures. Slightly more than 15,000 students are studying in the University of Oulu. Population of Tähtelä: about 60 people (during working hours, in the peak season). Characteristic dimensions and main facts of the Polaria main building in Sodankylä: 60 x 60 x 7 m, two storeys, two corridors, about thirty rooms. In comparison, the Linnanmaa campus main building is more of the order of 300 x 400 x 15 m, with four storeys, too many corridors and an infinity (or so) of rooms. No wonder why such a vast and overcrowded place traumatised those two Tähtelä guys far more than the Bayesian inductive learning approach (and its implementation in R) to predict the color of the next ball drawn from a box given the outcome of a first observation.

We were clearly outnumbered

Hopefully, by the end of the week, the probability to reach the next lecture room without getting lost given the location of the previous one will be of the same order as the probability of being eaten by mosquitos while wandering by the Kitinen river in July.

To be continued...

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