Nominations for Stan Governing Body

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

To nominate yourself please respond to this post 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.

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Dear Stan community,

I’m Yi Zhang, and I’d like to nominate myself for SGB for a 2-yr term.

My background

I’m an engineer with applied mathematics background by training(Ph.D. in Ocean engineering, M.S. in Applied mathematics, M.S. in Structural engineering, B.A. in Civil engineering). I became a Stan developer in 2017, working with SGB member @billg on a grant collaborated between Metrum Research Group and Columbia University. Since then I’ve also been working with him and @charlesm93 on Torsten, a Stan-based library for pharmacometrical applications. Before joining Stan community I worked on scientific software R&D on commercial products, mainly in areas of large-scale PDE solvers, PDE-constrained optimization, surrogate models, and uncertainty quantification.

Since joining Stan development team, I’ve been mainly focusing on developments of differential equaitons solvers, nonlinear solvers, and parallel computing features, frequently collaborating with contributors such as @wds15, @bbbales2, @charlesm93, among others. Currently I’m also the main developer of Torsten, for which I’ve designed and implemented its own ODE functionalities and parallel framework that incorporated some of the work by other community members. The latest effort in that direction is cross-chain warmup that @bbbales2 and @avehtari proposed.

Outside of development I’m a firm supporter of FOSS model that Stan represents, and contributed to the community in various occasions. I’ve been every StanCon since 2017. Among those events I presented posters(Stan with PDE/StanCon Helsinki, Stan and Torsten parallelism/StanCon Cambridge) and co-hosted tutorials(ODE modeling with Stan, StanCon Cambridge). I was also one of this year’s StanCon organizers, working with @syclik and @Susana_Marquez, before pandemic.

My mission goal as a SGB candidate

I’d like to

  • continue support and promote high quality FOSS projects in Stan family, and contribute to their improvement as a versatile statistical inference engine for scientific applications.
  • seek opportunities to introduce Stan to new applications and commercial users. In particular, based on my engineering and industry background I’d like to introduce Stan to simulation & design communities that are experiencing deterministic-to-stochastic paradigm shift and yet found a proper tool.
  • promote effective use of Stan as well as adoption of Bayesian framework via meetings, workshops, and publications.
  • promote Stan to non-English world and facilitate its documentation and literature in other languages.

As a Stan user, I always find it exciting and enjoyable by using the products by our talented developers and users that keep push forward science and software engineering, and I’d be honored to serve the community and guide the project.

Thank you.

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Hi Everyone,

My name is Arman Oganisian and I would like to nominate myself for a 1-year term on the SGB. I am a big fan of the Stan project - it has really popularized Bayesian inference and I’m excited for a chance to contribute!


Background

I am currently a 5th year biostatistics PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. My research focuses on developing nonparametric Bayesian methods for making causal inferences in complex settings. I am also an Associate Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics and a member of the Center for Causal Inference.

I earned an MS in biostatistics from Penn in 2018 and a BA in quantitative economics from Providence College in 2013. Between undergrad and doctoral training, I worked at Analysis Group - a Boston-based economic consulting firm - first as an Analyst and then a Senior Analyst. I led a variety of projects ranging from statistical analyses supporting high-profile litigation cases to health economic and outcomes research for pharmaceutical clients.


Relevant Experience

If elected, I’ll be coming in with several years of experience implementing Bayesian models using Stan (and other related platforms) in both industry and in peer-reviewed academic publications. For instance,

At the same time, my academic research in Bayesian nonparametrics involves devising and coding custom MCMC sampling schemes in R/Rcpp. This has given me some familiarity with the technical challenges of posterior computation that developers may face.

More details can be found on my personal site: https://bit.ly/3kEKRBI


Intended Contribution and SGB Goals

In all, I’m hopeful my background will let me:

  1. Represent a broad set of Stan users in both industry and academia.
  2. Be an effective bridge/facilitator between developers and users.
  3. Leverage familiarity of related software to drive new Stan ideas.
  4. Effectively promote Stan usage in academic work.

In terms of SGB goals, I am particularly passionate about the following:

  1. Continue developing good governance structures. For instance, the structures like the new voting mechanism, and the code of conduct, are all important ideas that should continue to be developed, monitored, and improved. As Stan keeps growing, having good institutions will become more important.
  2. Identifying areas in academic research where Stan can be expanded:
    a. E.g. workshops at statistical conferences likes ENAR or JSM.
    b. Workshops at academic Summer Institutes.
  3. Contribute publications/technical papers/tutorials that bridge the theory-practice divide in academia.
  4. Promote an open source community that, in addition to rock-solid standards, is open, transparent, friendly, and inclusive.

Thanks for the consideration and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!

Arman

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