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Professor Simon Wood will explain data smoothing in his inaugural lecture

Press Release - 10 March 2009

Public lecture: letting data speak without telling it what to say

The statistical modelling method known as data smoothing will be discussed in a free inaugural lecture at the University of Bath on Thursday 12 March.

Professor Simon Wood from the Department of Mathematical Sciences will present ‘Smoothing: letting data speak without telling it what to say’, explaining how statistical models are used as mathematical tools in fields such as medical research, economics, finance and social science.

Traditional statistical models require a set of equations to generate data and involve limited uncertainty but new models cope with greater gaps in knowledge.

Professor Wood said: “For most systems we have some idea of the appropriate structure of a model but a bunch of gaps in our knowledge that make it rather difficult to write down a remotely plausible model.

“Often the best we can do, for at least some model components, is to assert that one quantity in the model depends on another quantity in some smooth way. This talk is about how to work with models that are specified in this rather vague but honest way.”

Professor Wood has developed new methods to choose how smooth the relationship between variables in a model should be and new ways to represent these relationships mathematically. He has also written software that is widely used in this type of modelling.

The lecture will be held at the University in Lecture Theatre 3WN 2.1 on Thursday 12 March at 6.15pm. Admission is free but please book a ticket in advance from Gabrielle Lowe on 01225 386199 or email

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