Simons Society of Fellows Retreat 2023

I attended the Simons Society of Fellows retreat held March 17 – 20, 2023 in Florida. I asked ChatGPT to write me a blog post about the retreat but it gave the following response:

So the entirety of this blog post was written by me!

I learned a great deal about many topics in the sciences ranging from sphere packing all the way to mating patterns in mosquitoes. See for the abstracts of my colleagues. The title of my talk was Polynomial-time Robust Moment Estimation via Semidefinite Programming Hierarchies. I spoke about some aspects of my recent work that uses the sum-of-squares framework to design polynomial-time sample-optimal estimators with robustness and privacy guarantees.

In the course of preparing my talk, I also learned some interesting facts about John Tukey (a pioneer in robust statistics). Some notable quotes attributed to Tukey:

  • “The test of a good procedure is how well it works, not how well it is understood.”
  • “You can’t expect scientists to solve political problems.”
  • “By the end of late 1945, I was a statistician rather than a topologist.”

[1] David R. Brillinger. John W. Tukey: his life and professional contributions. Ann. Statist. 30(6): 1535-1575 (December 2002). DOI: 10.1214/aos/1043351246

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