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Recent articles


David Ruth - Phys.org - 5 June 2018
But while HRDAG’s estimate relied on the painstaking efforts of human workers to carefully weed out potential duplicate records, hashing with statistical estimation proved to be faster, easier and less expensive. The researchers said hashing also had the important advantage of a sharp confidence interval: The range of error is plus or minus 1,772, or less than 1 percent of the total number of victims. “The big win from this method is that we can quickly calculate the probable number of unique elements in a dataset with many duplicates,” said Patrick Ball, HRDAG’s director of research. “We can do a lot with this estimate.”Read full article off-site
Jade Boyd - Rice University News and Media - 5 June 2018
Researchers from Rice University and Duke University are using the tools of statistics and data science in collaboration with Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) to accurately and efficiently estimate the number of identified victims killed in the Syrian civil war. … Using records from four databases of people killed in the Syrian war, Chen, Duke statistician and machine learning expert Rebecca Steorts and Rice computer scientist Anshumali Shrivastava estimated there were 191,874 unique individuals documented from March 2011 to April 2014. That’s very close to the estimate of 191,369 compiled in 2014 by HRDAG, a nonprofit that helps build scientifically defensible, evidence-based arguments of human rights violations.Read full article off-site
Ellen Huet - Bloomberg - 15 May 2018
Kristian Lum is focusing on artificial intelligence and the controversial use of predictive policing and sentencing programs.
What’s the relationship between statistics and AI and machine learning?
AI seems to be a sort of catchall for predictive modeling and computer modeling. There was this great tweet that said something like, “It’s AI when you’re trying to raise money, ML when you’re trying to hire developers, and statistics when you’re actually doing it.” I thought that was pretty accurate.Read full article off-site
- AMSTAT News - 1 March 2018
kristian lum headshot 2018In her work on statistical issues in criminal justice, Lum has studied uses of predictive policing—machine learning models to predict who will commit future crime or where it will occur. In her work, she has demonstrated that if the training data encodes historical patterns of racially disparate enforcement, predictions from software trained with this data will reinforce and—in some cases—amplify this bias. She also currently works on statistical issues related to criminal “risk assessment” models used to inform judicial decision-making. As part of this thread, she has developed statistical methods for removing sensitive information from training data, guaranteeing “fair” predictions with respect to sensitive variables such as race and gender. Lum is active in the fairness, accountability, and transparency (FAT) community and serves on the steering committee of FAT, a conference that brings together researchers and practitioners interested in fairness, accountability, and transparency in socio-technical systems.Read full article off-site
Ali Winton - The Verge - 2 February 2018
One of the researchers, a Michigan State PhD candidate named William Isaac, had not previously heard of New Orleans’ partnership with Palantir, but he recognized the data-mapping model at the heart of the program. “I think the data they’re using, there are serious questions about its predictive power. We’ve seen very little about its ability to forecast violent crime,” Isaac said.Read full article off-site