Stats@UP Research Reinforcement Day

6 October 2021

The Department of Statistics at the University of Pretoria is hosting a "Summer School" which is FREE to attend.

The speakers are Prof Olcay Arslan, Prof Arthur Pewsey and Prof Antonio Punzo.

Join Zoom Meeting: (Meeting ID: 979 1959 4823 Passcode: 314721)

Virtual seminar hosted by ICCSSA on 15 September 2021

10 September 2021

15 September 2021

Virtual conference

14:00 – 14:30

Presenter: Diego Iturralde (Statistics South Africa)

Title: Application of the Alkire-Foster method to produce Covid-19 vulnerability and vaccination indices.

14:30 – 15:30

Presenters: Dr Jabu Mtsweni & Dr Ridhwaan Suliman (CSIR)

Title: Data-driven decision making for government socio-economic interventions.

Join here:

Details here:

Seminar invitation 15 September 2021.pdf 

Sub-Saharan Africa Network (SUSAN) 2021 Conference

1 July 2021

Sub-Saharan Africa Network (SUSAN) 2021 Conference

6-9 September 2021

Virtual conference


Topic: ‘Biometry in the era of big data

for health and food security’

Register here 

Early Career & Student Statisticians Conference (ECSSC) 2021

10 June 2021

The Statistical Society of Australia (SSA) will host the Early Career & Student Statisticians Conference (ECSSC) 2021 virtually from July 26th to August 1st 2021. ECSSC is a biennial conference for students and early career researcher in statistics aimed at developing, maintaining and improving contact and support amongst ECSSs working in various scientific disciplines, including agriculture, economics, bioinformatics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and environmental statistics.


With ECSSC being held virtually for the first time, we thought that we would reach out beyond our own borders and see if there is perhaps interest from future budding statisticians in the region. ECSSC even offers a day for high school students and registration for high school students is free! The fees for everyone else are still competitive. Please contact me if you wish to discuss a discount for your members.


Online registration and information on the conference, keynote speakers, workshops, and abstract submissions are available at: 

Seminar at the Department of Statistics, the University of Pretoria

7 June 2021

You are invited to a seminar at the Department of Statistics, the University of Pretoria on Tuesday 8 June 10:30 - 11:30. 

Please register at this link:

Only registered participants will be sent the details to enter the Zoom meeting.

TITLE: Clustering via semi-parametric density estimation with skew-symmetric kernels

AUTHORS: Mahdi Salehi, Andriette Bekker, and Mohammad Arashi

ABSTRACT: The idea behind density-based clustering is to associate groups to the connected components of the level sets of the density of the data to be estimated by a nonparametric method. This approach claims some advantages over both distance- and model-based clustering. Some researchers developed this technique by proposing a graph theory-based method for identifying local modes of the underlying density being estimated by the well-known kernel density estimation with normal and kernels. The present work aims at improving the performance of the density-based clustering by using semi-parametric KDE with more flexible family of kernels belonging to skew-symmetric distributions. Finding optimum bandwidth under the mentioned kernels is another main topic of this presentation. Finally, some illustrative examples follow.

#statistics #UPStatsDepartment #university #SASA #ICCSSA 

Modelling Vaccine Rollout - Seminar hosted by ICCSSA

29 April 2021

DATE: 29th April 2021

TIME: 14:00 - 16:30



Speaker 1: Dr Ali Asgary (York University)

Title: Mass Vaccination Options: simulation experiences of drive-thru and walk-in mass vaccination clinics.

Different mass vaccination options are available that can be used to vaccinate millions of people in a short period of time. Each option has its own pros and cons and various environmental, public health, and logistical factors and challenges need to be considered in their site selection, layout, staffing, resourcing and operations. Temporary drive-through and walk-in clinics are being proposed and used for mass vaccination during the covid-19 pandemic. In this presentation, these options are discussed and some of the simulations and applications developed at York University’s Advanced Disaster, Emergency and Rapid-response Simulation (ADERSIM) to examine the effectiveness of these options with reference to some real world cases are examined.

Dr Ali Asgary is an associate professor and founding member of York University's Disaster and Emergency Management Program. Since 2015 he has been the associate director of the Advanced Disaster, Emergency and Rapid-response Simulation (ADESIM) at York University. Dr Asgary's teaching and research interests are in diverse areas of disaster and emergency management with special focus on disaster and emergency simulation and modelling and businesses continuity, disaster recovery. He is currently involved as the principal investigator and co-investigator of a number of major research projects related to COVID-19 pandemic funded by Canadian funding agencies including SSHRC, CIHR, NSERC, and DRDC, IDRC among others. He leads the ADERSIM mass vaccination simulation team at York University

Speaker 2: Prof. Bruce Mellado (University of the Witwatersrand)

Title: Modelling the vaccination roll out

In this presentation, work in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Health in the area of vaccine roll out modelling will be summarised. This includes understanding target populations in light of different kinds of vulnerabilities. The use of Artificial Intelligence in this space will be showcased.

A PhD from Columbia University, Bruce Mellado, is a Full Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, a Senior Researcher of iThemba LABS and serves as the Director of the Institute for Collider Particle Physics. Prof. Mellado is the National Contact Physicist of South Africa at the ATLAS experiment at CERN and is the co-Chair of the Nuclear Particle and Radiation Division of South African Institute of Physics. He is the recipient of several awards and fellowships. Prof. Mellado is an internationally acclaimed, B1 rated researcher of the National Research Foundation of South Africa.

He is an expert on the Higgs boson – a sub-atomic particle that is thought to give matter its mass – and was a leading participant in its discovery that was announced in 2012 and led to the Nobel Prize in Physics being awarded in 2013 to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs. He has attained and continues to have a number of positions of leadership internationally.

He is a member of the Gauteng Premier’s COVID-19 Advisory Committee, where he leads work on predictions, and is also the Co-President of the Africa-Canada Artificial Intelligence Data Modelling Consortium. The project received grant awards by the IEEE and the IDRC, and also includes partnerships with IBM and Amazon. The project has been covered extensively on TV, radio and major newspapers. For a selection of interviews and articles on the press:

Click here to Join:

"Under Lockdown" Photo Competition

19 April 2021

We have all, in some way or another, been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and have had to adjust to a new “normal”.  From university staff and students to working professionals, we have all had to adjust to remote and online environments, all under varying circumstances and resources.

With this in mind, SASA asked its members to share their best (or worst) picture of working or studying “Under Lockdown”.

The winning entry was Aluwani Ramalata, who won a R500 Takealot voucher.  We have asked Aluwani to share the story behind the photo with SASA members.

Aluwani writes:

“I graduated with an MSc (Statistics) from the University of Limpopo in 2017.  Like many other students, I was looking forward to register for my PhD.  Accordingly, I spent the whole of 2018 trying to identify both an area of interest and a supervisor.  I ultimately identified Survival Analysis as my area of interest given that it is not yet much explored as we have few people in South Africa interested in that very area.  Likewise, I spent the whole year of 2019 trying to browse through and causally review literature on the field of Survival Analysis.  As life would have it, Covid 19 pandemic set in and consequently its concomitant lockdown was declared at a time when I was in the process of formal registrations.  Formal registration being put on hold, a team of my supervisors encouraged me to continue to intensify literature review irrespective of pending formal registration.

Given their encouragement, I tried to read for the first two to three weeks, with no success due to the hectic schedule on the home front.  If there is one thing that lockdown did not prepare me for, along with a million other women out there, is to be a nanny, maid, mother, wife, primary school teacher, lecturer and scholar at the same time.  Being a mother to a toddler for whom five seconds of no supervision meant a lot of things can go wrong, I had to unfortunately put a freeze on most of my plans; robust scholarly engagement being one of those plans.  Juggling a myriad of equally important activities at a time became the order of the day.

At one point, I found myself attending a virtual meeting, while helping my other two kids with their school work which was due in the next 30 minutes or so, whilst holding my little screaming son on my lap.  In the midst of all that hype, unexpectedly my Head of Department would unintentionally embarrassingly ask: “Mrs Ramalata what is your take on the matter?” At that very time, the funny or rather sad part was that I had no idea what was being discussed, owing to my momentary attention lapse.  Finding myself cornered, I had to fall back on what African elders would normally do when caught off guard, I went: “Ke laka leo!”  meaning, “I support what the previous speaker had said.”  Of course, that confidently said whilst covertly apprehensive, lest my retort is found irrelevant.  Such were funny moments of my virtual meetings.

However, I equally discovered fun moments when virtual teaching from home accidently became my most favourite exploration.  Although initially very tricky, the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra subsequently gave me an excitingly euphoric sense of face-to-face interaction.  Every time before class time commenced, I had to make sure that my son went on an unscheduled sleep as classes were at different times on different days.  It was during such moments that at times my attention-demanding son would wake up before my class finishes and then the surreptitious juggling gimmicks would begin.  Honestly, though peppered with hilarious moments, it has not been an easy journey at all.

With lockdown restrictions since relaxed, I am now able to go to the controlled environment of my office to attend virtual meetings and also teach from there.  These have been personally stretching moments demanding witty adaptation and discovery of one’s latent talents, patience and unexplored sides of self.  The sad truth is, now with the world gone topsy-turvy, the new normal is not normal for all different individuals globally, and unless you are in their shoes, their situation will never make sense to you.“

International Statistical Institute (ISI) Online Short Courses Programme: 6 May – 1 July 2021 

9 April 2021

Following the tradition of the previous years, the ISI will be holding its 2021 edition of the Short Courses prior to the biennial ISI World Statistics Congress.

The courses are scheduled from 6 May – 1 July 2021 in 3 hour-sessions each day from 14.00-17.00 CEST.

The programme is organized in cooperation with the ISI Associations and covers a wide range of topics from the areas of statistics and data science (listed below).


We invite you to register for the course(s) of your choice as soon as possible in order to secure your spot.

We are looking forward to your participation!

Best regards,

International Statistical Institute

·       6 May   Large-Scale Spatial Data Science

Instructors: Prof. Marc Genton, Dr. Huang Huang, Dr. Sameh Abdulah


·       10 May – 12 May   Quality of multisource statistics

Instructors: Dr. Arnout van Delden, Dr. Ton de Waal


·       17 May Fraud Analytics

  Instructor: Dr. Tahir Ekin


·       18 May – 19 May  Financial Accounts – Concepts, compilation and use

Instructors: Henning Ahnert, Pierre Sola, Maciej Anacki, Andreas Hertkorn


·       20 May – 21 May  Building technical editing and science communication skills for 21st Century

Instructors: Prof. Elena N. Naumova, Prof. Alessandro Fassò


·       25 May – 27 May  Introduction to Graph Sampling

Instructors: Prof. Li-Chun Zhang, Dr. Melike Oguz-Alper


·       28 May  An Introductory Course in Competing Risks

Instructor: Jacobo de Uña-Álvarez


·       31 May Recurrent Event Analysis in R with the reReg package

Instructor: Dr. Sy Han (Steven) Chiou


·       1 June – 3 June  Spatial Statistical Learning

Instructors: Dr. Soutir Bandyopadhyay, Dr. William Kleiber, Dr. Douglas Nychka


·       4 June  Reshaping challenging data to produce insightful graphs - a quick start to using R tidyverse tools

Instructors: Prof. John Bailer, Assoc. Prof. Thomas Fisher


·       7 June – 9 June   Statistical Theory of Deep Learning

Instructor: Dr. Sophie Langer


·       10 June – 11 June  Statistical Disclosure Control: Past, Present and Future

Instructor: Prof. Natalie Shlomo


·       14 June – 15 June   Introduction to Machine Learning

Instructor: Prof. David Banks


·       16 June – 17 June   Data Science and Predictive Analytics (DSPA)

Instructor: Prof. Dr. Ivo D. Dinov


·       18 June   Bootstrap Methods and Permutation Tests

Instructor: Tim Hesterberg


·       21 June – 22 June   Basketball Data Analysis

Instructors: Prof. Marica Manisera, Prof. Paola Zuccolotto


·       23 June   Teaching Data Science

Instructors: Dr. Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel, Dr. Colin Rundel


·       24 June    Communicating health data: the COVID-19 experienceday 1 

Instructors: Prof. Fulvia Mecatti, Prof. Clelia Di Serio


·       28 June   Precision medicine: A statistical perspective on estimating the best treatment strategy

Instructor: Dr. Erica E.M. Moodie


·       29 June – 30 June  Cure Models: Methods, Applications, and Implementation

Instructors: Dr. Yingwei Peng, Dr. Binbing Yu


·       1 July  Communicating health data: the COVID-19 experienceday 2

Instructors: Prof. Fulvia Mecatti, Prof. Clelia Di Serio

SASA Registration now OPEN! 

9 April 2021

SASA is in the process of making some changes to modernise our association and bring additional benefits to our members. As part of this, we have partnered with a new platform, Glue Up, to manage memberships. It is envisaged that through this platform we will be able to engage with you - as a member - more meaningfully and provide you with a more rewarding SASA experience. We as a society are excited to reach out to our members, and broader statistics community. Watch out for announcements for exciting events coming your way.