Elvan Ceyhan and Mine Çağlar were co-chairs of the Local Organizing Committee for the Eighth World Congress in Probability and Statistics, location of the 2012 IMS Annual Meeting. They reflect on the successes of the meeting:
This summer, the eighth World Congress in Probability and Statistics was held in Istanbul, Turkey, from July 9 to 14, 2012 at the Grand Cevahir Hotel and Convention Center. The congress was jointly organized by IMS and the Bernoulli Society. Scheduled every four years, this meeting is a major worldwide event in statistics and probability, covering all its branches, including theoretical, methodological, applied and computational statistics and probability, and stochastic processes. It featured the latest scientific developments in these fields.
The congress aimed to have a high impact at an international level and present application and research activities in these subjects. To this end, in addition to mainstream research on probability and statistics, applied topics such as information technology, finance, risk management, genetics and medicine, and quality control were included; sessions were organized with the participation of experts in these fields. Recent developments were presented: the state of the art in a variety of modern research topics, with in-depth sessions on the applications of these disciplines to other sciences, industrial innovation and society. The program featured 14 special plenary lectures by leading specialists, including the Fields medalist Stas Smirnov. In addition, there were 40 invited sessions highlighting topics of current research interests with 120 talks, as well as 91 contributed sessions with about 455 talks and 61 posters. There were more than 750 participants from 61 different countries.
Student participation was high—211 students (28% of the participants) were able to attend, thanks to generous travel awards especially made available for young researchers by several institutions including IMS, and also due to the Pre-World Congress Meeting of Young Researchers in Probability and Statistics 2012, which attracted 50 participants. There were 275 congress participants from developing countries. The host city Istanbul, a multi-cultural cosmopolitan city more than 8,000 years old, was easy to access due to its geographical location which bridges Europe and Asia.
The sponsors of the congress included Koç University, The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, Central Bank of Turkey, US National Science Foundation, European Mathematical Society, ISI, Elsevier, Illinois Journal of Mathematics and the International Mathematical Union. In the opening ceremony, the head of the Turkish Statistical Institute, Birol Aydemir, gave a speech as well. With many high level scientific sessions and social attractions, this has been a memorable event for the participants.
For further information, downloadable abstract book, and photo gallery see the congress website at http://www.worldcong2012.org