Seminar Abstract:

Expert judgements often are repudiated in science as subjective and unreliable. Unfortunately, often they are all we have. The growth in Bayesian inference has renewed interest in the estimation of priors. The notion of expert judgement is broader than that, encompassing judgement-based specification of model parameters, distributional shapes, functions and dependencies, as well as a host of other assumptions. This presentation argues that expert judgement should be afforded the same rigour as currently as afforded to data. It outlines approaches to acquiring, validating and improving expert opinions and subjective estimates. It finishes with an assessment of these methods applied to geopolitical intelligence gathering.

Speaker Bio:

Mark Burgman is Managing Director of the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis, the Adrienne Clarke Chair of Botany in the School of Botany at the University of Melbourne and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Conservation Biology.  He works on ecological modelling, conservation biology and risk assessment.  His research has included models on a broad range of species and a range of settings including marine fisheries, forestry, irrigation, electrical power utilities, mining, and national park planning.  He received a BSc from the University of New South Wales (1974), an MSc from Macquarie University, Sydney (1981), and a Ph.D. from the State University of New York (1987). He worked as a consultant ecologist and research scientist in Australia, the United States and Switzerland during the 1980’s before joining the University of Melbourne in 1990.

Seminar Convenor: Geoff Prince

AGR IT support: Michael Shaw

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