Upcoming Seminars

Other UCLA departments frequently hold seminars related to Statistics and of likely of interest to our members. Here are links to UCLA Biostatistics seminars and UCLA Biomath seminars:

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Friday, 02/26/2021, Time: 10:00am – 11:15pm PST
Conformal Inference of Counterfactuals and Individual Treatment Effects

This is a Big Data and Machine Learning Seminar that is sponsored by the UCLA Department of Computer Science.

Lihua Lei, Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Statistics, Stanford University

Evaluating treatment effect heterogeneity widely informs treatment decision making. At the moment, much emphasis is placed on the estimation of the conditional average treatment effect via flexible machine learning algorithms. While these methods enjoy some theoretical appeal in terms of consistency and convergence rates, they generally perform poorly in terms of uncertainty quantification. This is troubling since assessing risk is crucial for reliable decision-making in sensitive and uncertain environments. In this work, we propose a conformal inference-based approach that can produce reliable interval estimates for counterfactuals and individual treatment effects under the potential outcome framework. For completely randomized or stratified randomized experiments with perfect compliance, the intervals have guaranteed average coverage in finite samples regardless of the unknown data generating mechanism. For randomized experiments with ignorable compliance and general observational studies obeying the strong ignorability assumption, the intervals satisfy a doubly robust property which states the following: the average coverage is approximately controlled if either the propensity score or the conditional quantiles of potential outcomes can be estimated accurately. Numerical studies on both synthetic and real datasets empirically demonstrate that existing methods suffer from a significant coverage deficit even in simple models. In contrast, our methods achieve the desired coverage with reasonably short intervals. This is a joint work with Emmanuel Candès.

Lihua Lei is a postdoctoral researcher in Statistics at Stanford University, advised by Professor Emmanuel Candès. His current research focuses on developing rigorous statistical methodologies for uncertainty quantification in applications involving complicated decision-making processes, to enhance reliability, robustness and fairness of the system. Prior to joining Stanford, he obtained his Ph.D. in statistics at UC Berkeley, working on causal inference, multiple hypothesis testing, network analysis and stochastic optimization.

Thursday, 03/04/2021, Time: 11:00am – 12:15pm PST
Point Process Models for Sequence Detection in Neural Spike Trains

Professor Scott Linderman
Departments of Statistics and Computer Science, Stanford University

Sparse sequences of neural spikes are posited to underlie aspects of working memory, motor production, and learning. Discovering these sequences in an unsupervised manner is a longstanding problem in statistical neuroscience. I will present our new work using Neyman-Scott processes—a class of doubly stochastic point processes—to model sequences as a set of latent, continuous-time, marked events that produce cascades of neural spikes. This sparse representation of sequences opens new possibilities for spike train modeling. For example, we introduce learnable time warping parameters to model sequences of varying duration, as have been experimentally observed in neural circuits. Bayesian inference in this model requires integrating over the set of latent events, akin to inference in mixture of finite mixture (MFM) models. I will show how recent work on MFMs can be adapted to develop a collapsed Gibbs sampling algorithm for Neyman-Scott processes. Finally, I will present an empirical assessment of the model and algorithm on spike-train recordings from songbird higher vocal center and rodent hippocampus.

Scott Linderman is an Assistant Professor of Statistics and Computer Science (by courtesy) at Stanford University. He is also an Institute Scholar in the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute and a member of Stanford Bio-X and the Stanford AI Lab. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow with Liam Paninski and David Blei at Columbia University, and he completed his PhD in Computer Science at Harvard University with Ryan Adams and Leslie Valiant. Following family tradition, he slogged up Libe Slope as an undergraduate at Cornell University, just like his three brothers, parents, and a few generations of Lindermans before. Now he prefers Adirondack summers and California winters.

Thursday, 03/11/2021, Time: 11:00am – 12:15pm PST
Topic: TBA

Richard J. Samworth, Professor of Statistical Science
University of Cambridge

Abstract: TBA