Some last thoughts on compositional data analysis

Aitchison, John
One of the disadvantages of old age is that there is more past than future: this, however, may be turned into an advantage if the wealth of experience and, hopefully, wisdom gained in the past can be reflected upon and throw some light on possible future trends. To an extent, then, this talk is necessarily personal, certainly nostalgic, but also self critical and inquisitive about our understanding of the discipline of statistics. A number of almost philosophical themes will run through the talk: search for appropriate modelling in relation to the real problem envisaged, emphasis on sensible balances between simplicity and complexity, the relative roles of theory and practice, the nature of communication of inferential ideas to the statistical layman, the inter-related roles of teaching, consultation and research. A list of keywords might be: identification of sample space and its mathematical structure, choices between transform and stay, the role of parametric modelling, the role of a sample space metric, the underused hypothesis lattice, the nature of compositional change, particularly in relation to the modelling of processes. While the main theme will be relevance to compositional data analysis we shall point to substantial implications for general multivariate analysis arising from experience of the development of compositional data analysis… ​
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