Nominations for 2022 Stan Governing Body

As announced in Elections for the next Stan Governing Body , we will use the Stan forums for nominations for the 2022 Stan Governing Body (SGB).

Please respond to this post to self-nominate for either a 1-year or 2-year term on SGB before the end of November. We encourage all nominees to briefly summarize their experiences with Stan and their goals for the SGB. Feel free to add links to any content you think is relevant. And if you know someone who you think would be a good fit for the SGB please let them know and encourage them to nominate themselves.

For other details about the election and links to information about the SGB see Elections for the next Stan Governing Body . For examples of past nominations, here is last year’s thread.


Yi Zhang on behalf of @SGB

3 Likes

Dear Stan community,

I’m Jose Storopoli, and I’d like to nominate myself for SGB for a 1-yr term. I have started learning Bayesian statistics with Gelman’s et al. BDA 2013 book which led me to Stan.


My background

I am an Associate Professor and Researcher of the Department of Computer Science at Universidade Nove de Julho - UNINOVE located in São Paulo - Brazil.

I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in Data Science, Statistics, Bayesian Statistics, Machine Learning and Deep Learning using several languages such as Stan, Julia , R and Python . I’ve contributed to Julia , R and Stan ecosystems. I can handle some basic and intermediate templated C++. I have also published packages in Julia , Rust , R , and Python (pip) official repositories/registries.

I conduct research, publish and advise PhD candidates on topics about Bayesian Statistical Modeling and Machine Learning applied to Decision Making. Also, I am the Principal Investigator of LabCidades - Smart City Research Lab at UNINOVE.


Experience

My main experience is mostly academic. Using Stan in peer-reviewed academic publications and teaching Bayesian Statistics in my courses (I still use mainly brms, since it is a mixed class of students with several backgrounds). For instance,

I am also a certified tidyverse RStudio instructor.


Intended Contribution and SGB Goals

I think that still Latin America and other countries of the Global South are underrepresented in both academia and technology, which also happens in the Stan community. I would focus my goals on diversifying the Stan community and helping popularizing and capilarize to Latin America and the other Global South countries.

But I expect that my role as a SGB member would also involve other topics, such as community, fundraising, integrating the developers with the userbase. I would gladly also volunteer to assist in those other topics.


Kind regards,
I am available for further questions and don’t hesitate to contact me,

Jose Storopoli

8 Likes

All,

I would like to nominate myself, Breck Baldwin, for a two year position with the SGB.

I was executive director of the SGB in 2019 which transitioned the SGB from an appointed body to an elected one among other things. On the positive side, I created the paid positions for Community Organizer and YouTube manager.

I also created the Technical Director role that was more of a mixed experience and I’ll take the blame for the negative side of that. I think I have recognized the issues that made it problematic. Essentially communications were poor, decision-making was opaque at times, and community members didn’t feel heard. Voting with clear epochs of discussion/decision-making goes a long way towards sorting these issues out.

I have also been somewhat successful in raising funds for the SGB, $100k as exec dir and later another ~$100k for Stan’s share in a joint proposal with PyMC3 and Arviz that has not yet arrived.

My motivation for running stems from my appreciation of Bayesian modeling and the fact that Stan is the best package for advancing the approach. I consider the problems we take on to be vital to science and uniquely suited to Stan’s strengths and vision.

As an SGB member I’d focus on a few things:

  • Fundraising. We are spending down the balance from a high of around $600k with a current balance of $300k. This doesn’t include the anticipated $100k from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Operating expenses are $60-100k annually but I’d like to see more funded operations but that requires money. For fundraising I’d support:

    • Continued grants through NumFOCUS.
    • Look to other fundraising approaches, e.g,. a zero-benefit license that can be a line item for organizations that have an easier time buying things than donations. This is an idea that has been considered before.
  • Continue to pay for, and if possible increase funding for worthwhile things like:

    • Community organizers–I think this is more than one job, Martin did a great job, but I’d like to see more work supporting users/developers.
    • Software developers are always needed and paying them helps get things done that don’t appeal to volunteers.
    • Teaching/evangelizing opportunities like Aki’s Global South course should have financial support.
  • Establishing technical planning and leadership. The last effort in this direction was pretty rough but that doesn’t mean we should not try again.

  • Improving the usability of Stan is also a priority. This spans installation, documentation, teaching, and user support.

  • I think there is some governance debt that should be resolved. I’d like to get the electorate sorted out as well as making concrete how administrative roles are managed. I’d like to maximize transparency balanced by keeping personal issues/discussions private.

Happy to answer questions.

Thanks

Breck

7 Likes