A report on the 6th SIPTA school on imprecise probabilities

The sixth SIPTA school on imprecise probabilities was held in the beautiful city of Montpellier (France), on July 21-25, 2014.The school was composed of twenty five participants, from no less than ten different coutnries. It was organized by Kevin Loquin from LIRMM in Montpellier, with the collaboration of Olivier Strauss, Erik Quaeghebeur and Enrique Miranda.

The school was held in the beautiful botanic institute, built in the end of the nineteenth century, situated just next to the oldest french botanic garden.

The school started with the usual introduction to imprecise probability models, given by Sébastien Destercke and Enrique Miranda, during which students learned about lower previsions and about drawing convex sets of probabilities. It was   followed by a course on graphical models and algortihms and approximation methods for imprecise probabilities imparted by Cassio de Campos, Alessandro Antonucci and Francesca Mangili, from the IDSIA research institute in Lugano. This was the occasion to show some possible applications of the monday morning theory.

Tuesday afternoon was time to relax, with a guided tour on the Botanic garden in Montpellier for those who wanted to join. This was the occasion to know all about the history of the garden, as well as of some of its plants. The visit to the glass house under the Montpellier sun was also something to remember. After this cultural event, some of the participants took place in a sports session playing football and volleyball, a good occasion to let off some steam. Finally, the gala dinner at the Oceania Hostel was the occasion to enjoy good food and company in a relaxed atmosphere.

Wednesday morning was the occasion for the students to briefly present their on-going work and projects, in order to grab some pieces of advice from the teachers. After this exchange, Matthias Troffaes from Durham University gave a lecture starting with the basics of decision making with imprecise probabilities and finishing with dynamical decision making.

On Thursday, Gert de Cooman from Ghent University and Erik Quaeghebeur from the CWI in the Netherlands discussed how to make inference with coherent lower previsions, and Inés Couso and Didier Dubois presented other imprecise probability models alternative to coherent lower previsions.

Friday was the good time to take some pictures of the participants, and to finish with less theory and more practice. The morning was devoted to applied topics, such as climate change, environmental risk assessments and tomography, while the afternoon was devoted to a revision session where the students could ask additional questions to the speakers. This session was the occasion to give extra explanation, or to re-explain some notions that were only quickly browsed or ill-understood during the week. It was also quite useful to know what could be improved for the next summer school!
The school was sponsored by LIRMM, the University of Montpellier, Labex Numev and the Pôle de Recherche et d’enseignement supérieur Sud de France. More detailed information about the school as well as the materials from the different sessions can be found at the school website.


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