David Parkin lecture: Fri 18 Mar

Visiting Professor Esteban Tabak from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University, USA, will deliver the David Parkin Lecture titled 'Discovering and Filtering Sources of Variability in Data' on Friday 18 March 2016.

Visiting Professor Esteban Tabak

The lecture will take place as part of the Landscapes in Mathematical Sciences series and starts at 3:15pm in the Wolfson Lecture Theatre, 4 West 1.7.

Attributing variability to factors, and filtering external sources of variability from data sets, impacts virtually every data-intensive activity. Examples include the attribution of climate variability to independent factors such as solar radiation or human activity, and the assessment of the influence of factors such as diet, smoking and life-style on health.

Still another example is the compilation of an integrated dataset collected at different labs or hospitals, different censuses or different experiments. Taken separately, the individual datasets may lack enough samples to yield statistically significant results. Taken together, a large fraction of their variability may be attributable to their origin. Hence the need, during amalgamation, to filter from the data  those characteristics that are idiosyncratic to each study. A methodology based on the mathematical theory of optimal transport - initially developed to solve the problem of moving piles of material - is particularly well-suited to this task: one seeks a set of maps that transforms the probability distributions underlying the samples from each origin into a distribution common to all, while distorting the data as little as possible.

The amalgamation of datasets can be viewed more generally as an explanation of variability: once the component of the variability in the data attributable to a factor is filtered, what is left behind in the transformed variables is the remaining, and yet to be explained, variability. This talk will describe a general methodology and show applications to areas as diverse as personalized medicine, poll interpretation and the discovery of asynchronous principal components associated to climate variability.

Professor Tabak is the 2015/16 David Parkin Visiting Professor, working with colleagues in our Department of Mathematical Sciences

His research interests include: Data Analysis, Optimal Transport; Applied Mathematics and Physics; and Fluid Dynamics, Atmosphere and Ocean Science.

He received his PhD in 1992 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.  Before this he worked as Hydraulic Engineer at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

David Parkin Visiting Professorships are awarded on an annual basis to help to support an outstanding academic with a permanent position at a non-UK university to spend a period of time up to 12 months, as a Visiting Professor at the University of Bath.

The award is named after David Parkin, one of the University’s most significant benefactors and a former member of staff. As part of the award, the Visiting Professor is invited to present our annual David Parkin Lecture.

For further details, please contact Myla Dixon, Department Coordinator,on ext 6997.

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