New Directions in Statistical Inference on Networks and Graphs (21w5186)


(Oregon State University)

Liza Levina (University of Michigan)

Tianxi Li (University of Virginia)

Carey E Priebe (Johns Hopkins University)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "New Directions in Statistical Inference on Networks and Graphs" workshop in Banff from September 19 to September 24, 2021.

Advances in data collection and social media have led to network and graph data becoming available in many areas, including social sciences, biological sciences, and engineering. Understanding and modeling network structure, as well as conducting rigorous statistical inference to assess uncertainty, can provide crucial insights into the dynamics and interaction mechanisms of the system. Statistical network analysis to date has largely focused on the setting where a single network is observed as a noisy version of some underlying structure of interest. This setting in itself is challenging, requiring adaptation of existing statistical frameworks to networks and bridging the gap between theoretically optimal performance and computational feasibility. The workshop will start by covering recent advances in this setting.

An even bigger and more important challenge for the field of statistical network analysis is transitioning from a single network to more complicated network data structures and inference questions motivated by new applications. The field is on the cusp of this transition, motivated by questions emerging from new data and applications which require new techniques. The workshop’s focus is on three such new themes: the setting of multiple and dependent networks; the interplay between network estimation from multivariate data and network inference; and network data analysis with additional information. These problems stem from a wide range of motivating applications, especially in neuroscience and biology, as well as the social sciences. The workshop will bring researchers from theory, computation, and different applications together, across several disciplines that study networks, to help theoreticians and methodologists focus on real problems, and to alert application researchers to the newest developments in methods.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).