ISF 2018 in review. IIF President Gloria González-Rivera
The 38th International Symposium on Forecasting was a memorable event for which I would like to thank the Organizing and Program Committees led by Len Tashman, General Chair, and Fotios Petropoulos, Program Chair. This year our host city was Boulder, Colorado. The University of Colorado, with the majestic Flatiron mountains as a background, provided its facilities for the symposium to take place. With more than 350 delegates from all over the world and 209 presentations covering a variety of forecasting areas of research, the symposium was a great success.
Prior to the symposium, we inaugurated the first summer school that ran over two days. My thanks to our director Pilar Poncela, who took upon the responsibility of organizing this very successful event. Sir David Hendry, together with his team, was our inaugural lecturer. The school attracted a lot of interest and it was oversubscribed. The feedback of the participants was very encouraging. We could not wish for a better start!
ISF 2018 opened in the usual style of the Symposium with a welcome reception Sunday evening held at the Millennium Hotel and enlivened with country music. Len Tashman welcomed the delegates to the symposium and to the city, which surprised us with several days of rain. It was a nice opening to meet new and old members and hear about their expectations, their projects, and their symposium presentations.
The symposium started at 8:30 am on Monday with a welcome address by the General Chair and by me. The first keynote speaker, David Orrell, placed economic forecasting in the context of other scientific forecasting, like weather forecasting, and explained why economists seem to have most trouble than most. In the afternoon, Sir David Hendry from Oxford University delivered the Arnold Zellner Memorial Keynote Lecture on the econometrics of climate change, which offers empirical models as complementary devices to physical models and helps with the communication of findings. The lecture was followed by a panel discussion of NCAR scientists.
The IIF members meeting on Monday afternoon, which year after year attracts more members, was a good opportunity for the Board of Directors to highlight the Institute activities, e.g. travel awards, SAS grants, workshops, future ISFs, certifications, financial accounts. I would like to report that the IIF is working hard on expanding its membership and to promote other forecasting activities like the summer school for the benefit of its members.
On Tuesday morning, our next keynote speaker, Diane Coyle from Cambridge University spoke about the challenges in measuring the modern economy mainly because of the mismeasurement of the digital activities and the problems that it poses for forecasters of macroeconomic activity. In the afternoon, we had a panel discussion on teaching predictive analytics and forecasting in business schools and economics department.
The gala dinner on Tuesday evening took place at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. This center is located at the foot of the Flatirons Mountains from which we could admire the natural beauty of the Boulder area. We had an uphill ride to the venue admiring the majesty of the mountains and their overwhelming shadow over the land below.
On Wednesday, the keynote speaker Azhar Iqbal from Wells Fargo Securities provided a wide overview of the practical challenges that forecasters face on predicting the economy and the financial sector. In the afternoon, Paul Goodwin from University of Bath delivered the IJF Editor’s Keynote Lecture on judgmental forecasting and the communication of forecasters with the society at large. We closed the symposium with an award ceremony honoring Antonio García-Ferrer, past IIF President, as the new IIF Fellow. Rob Hyndman announced the IIF Tao Hong award to the best paper in energy forecasting published in the IJF. We also announced the award to the best symposium presentation by a graduate student.
My warmest thanks to the Organizing and Program Committees, especially to Len Tashman, Fotios Petropoulos, and Pilar Poncela for organizing such a well-run and successful symposium and summer school. To our business director, Pam Stroud, who keeps us on track and makes the running of all our operations as smooth as possible, my deepest thanks for her logistical support and always upbeat attitude. To our speakers, including those in the forecasting in practice track, I would like to express our gratitude and recognition for their very important contributions and for bringing us new forecasting approaches and methodologies and best forecasting practices in many and diverse fields of forecasting.
Sponsorship is essential to the success of the symposium. We are grateful for the extraordinary support of many private and public institutions. Their sponsorship helps to keep the ISF registration fees as low as possible.
Finally, a reminder that the 39th ISF 2019 will take place in Thessaloniki, Greece, on June 16-19, 2019. George Athanasopoulos, General Chair, and Aris Syntetos, Program Chair, will be the organizers. Please mark your calendars and stay tuned for further announcements on our website.
My best wishes to you for a nice and wonderful summer holiday!