International workshop "Advances in Directional Statistics"

The International Workshop “Advances in Directional Statistics” will be held at Brussels’ Free University, Belgium between the 20th and the 22nd of May 2014.

Directional Statistics is a branch of the discipline of Statistics that deals with data for which the unit circle, torus, cylinder, sphere, hypersphere, etc. are natural supports. Examples of circular variables include the direction of the wind at a wind farm, the time of the day of major Japanese earthquakes, or the start of the menstrual cycle represented on a 28 day body clock. The unit torus is the natural support when two circular variables are jointly observed, and the cylinder when one circular variable and one linear variable are observed. So, joint observations of wind speed and direction are examples of so-called cylindrical data. Directional data arise in a wide variety of scientific disciplines including biology, medicine, astronomy, psychology, meteorology and geology.

The main objectives of the workshop are to: stimulate research in Directional Statistics; bring together researchers in the field to share their latest results; identify interesting new problems and applications; foster dialogue and future research collaborations. Participation at the workshop is by invitation only, with the number of participants strictly limited to 35. The workshop will consist of 11 sessions in series. There will be no parallel sessions, and all participants will be expected to participate during all three days of the workshop.

Brussels is the political capital of Europe and a major tourist destination. Its airport is located close to the city and has regular flights to most capitals world-wide. Its city centre is just a short taxi ride away, and its metro system is extensive and inexpensive.

One of the days of the workshop will be held in Brussels’ world famous Atomium. The Atomium has a structure made up of spheres and connecting cylinders, and houses some of the bicycles built by Belgium’s national hero Eddy Merckx. So it abounds with close approximations to the natural supports of directional data. The Atomium was designed by engineer André Waterkeyn and constructed as the main pavilion of the 1958 World Fair, commonly referred to as Expo 58. It rises to a height of 102 m and its spheres and connecting cylinders form the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times.