Editor’s Letter—Vol. 28, No. 2

Dear CHANCE Colleagues,

To begin this issue, we go to the theater. Xinping Zhang, Byran Smucker, and Jay Woffington tell us how predictive analytics are being used to help the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Check out the shiny app too!

After the theater, we go to the hockey rink. Andrew Vesper examines the “hot hand,” or streakiness phenomena, that has been studied in detail in sports such as basketball and baseball, but less so in hockey. The results may be surprising.

We then head to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Tom Radman, Erica Rosemond, and Michelle Dunn place a call to the statistical community asking for the next big wave of biomedical Big Data discoveries. They describe two large initiatives by the NIH: Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K), and Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN).

Next we go back to college in Boston. In the September 2014 issue of Amstat News, the American Statistical Association’s director of science policy, Steve Pierson, noted that only five schools in the United States granted bachelor’s degrees in biostatistics. One of these is Simmons College. This program was built by Bob Goldman, who describes his experience in developing the biostatistics major.

A trip to the golf course is next. Bill Hurley and Tyler Sauerbrei note the unfairness of team net best-ball matches when each golfer is assigned his or her full handicap. They discuss challenges with making handicap adjustments.

In our column articles, Andrew Gelman and David Madigan compare ethics decisions to making statistical inferences in “Ethics and Statistics”. In “The Big Picture,” Nicole Lazar discusses Twitter statistics and the analysis of Twitter data. Aleksandra Slavkovic and Fei Yu discuss the next major challenge for privacy and genomics, in “O Privacy, Where Art Thou?”

In “Taking a Chance in the Classroom,” Nick Horton, Ben Baumer, and Hadley Wickham set the stage for data science by discussing the integration of data management skills in early statistics courses. Mary Gray discusses the use of Bayes theorem in the courtroom in “The Odds of Justice.” In “A Statistician Reads the Sports Pages,” Bruce Craig, Zachary Hass, and Sean McCabe evaluate decisionmaking strategies given the new overtime format in the NFL.

We conclude this issue with Howard Wainer and Don Rubin discussing Rubin’s principal stratification approach to causal inference in “Visual Revelations.”

Please keep your eyes peeled for a special issue of CHANCE on K-12 statistics due out in September 2015. Special thanks to Nick Horton and Xiao-Li Meng who are co-editing this issue with me. In addition to a number of interesting and thought-provoking articles, we ask leaders in the field two questions:

What are the greatest barriers for statistics in high schools?

And what are the most promising opportunities, and how will they be accomplished?

Don’t forget to give them a CHANCE!

Scott Evans

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