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Dr. Constance van Eeden seminar

The van Eeden seminar is a yearly event in which graduate students vote for their favorite statisticians. The winner is contacted by the organizing committee and invited to give a talk in the department’s seminar. The speaker spends one or two days on-campus, and graduate students have the opportunity to have lunch and dinner with them.

This year’s speaker

The Constance van Eeden Speaker for 2024 will be Dr. Sherri Rose from Stanford University! Her research is centered on developing and integrating innovative statistical machine learning approaches to improve human health and health equity. Dr. Rose comes from a low-income background and is committed to increasing justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) in the mathematical and health sciences. (Copied from https://drsherrirose.org/biocv.) Dr. Rose will visit our department on Thursday, April 4 2024.

van Eeden Seminar: Ethical AI is More than Loss Functions

Event Date: Thursday, April 4, 2024 - 3 to 5 pm PT

Invited Speaker: Dr. Sherri Rose, Professor, Stanford University

Location: Online or ESB 5104 at the University of British Columbia

Zoom registration: https://ubc.zoom.us/meeting/register/u5Mpfu-orz4uHtMoS6AcwTE_0VZ_DDEghNdA

Abstract: What constitutes a fair algorithm and the ethical use of data is context specific. Algorithms are not neutral and optimization choices will reflect a specific value system and the distribution of power to make these decisions. Data also reflect societal bias, such as structural racism. Ethics and fairness research for health AI spans many fields, including policy, medicine, computer science, sociology, and statistics. Considerations go well beyond loss functions and typical measures of statistical assessment. This talk includes discussion of team construction, who decides the research question, minimum standards for research quality, reproducibility, least publishable units, and community engaged research. Overarching themes are also that centering health equity and developing methodology tailored to specific health questions are critical given the stakes involved.

More Information: Professor Sherri Rose has been invited to be this year’s van Eeden speaker by the graduate students in the Department of Statistics at the University of British Columbia. A van Eeden speaker is a prominent statistician who is chosen each year to give a lecture, supported by the UBC Constance van Eeden Fund. The 2024 seminar is additionally sponsored by the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI), the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS), and the Walter H. Gage Memorial Fund.


The van Eeden seminar is supported by the Constance van Eeden fund, which was established by Dr. van Eeden (1927–2021) in 1998. Dr. van Eeden was a mathematical statistician who made foundational contributions to estimation in restricted parameter spaces and nonparametric statistics.

The van Eeden fund is used to support many other activities on top of the student-invited speaker talk, such as inviting visiting professors for a week or more; organizing statistics summer schools; and giving out admissions awards to promising graduate students.

See the department’s webpage to learn more!


The 2024 van Eeden seminar is additionally sponsored by the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI), the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS), and the Walter H. Gage Memorial Fund.

Previous presenters

Last updated: March 26, 2024