Winter Simulation Conference
Feb. 19-20, 2015
Data Analytics for Action & Impact:Transforming Data to Goal-Driven Insight for the Data-Rich yet Information-Poor
Special ArticlesPresent a talk or poster at premier analytics conference
The 2015 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and O.R. seeks proposals for talks and posters. Selected presenters may register for the meeting at a discounted fee of up to 35 percent off regular rates. The prestigious conference will be held April 12-14, 2015, in Huntington Beach, Calif.Read More
Analytics Section of INFORMS NewsStudent Analytical Scholar Case Study Competition
INFORMS will once again offer the SAS/INFORMS Analytics Section Student Analytical Scholar Competition, a scholarship program that will send the winning recipient to the 2015 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research. Supported by SAS and sponsored by the Analytics Section of INFORMS, the competitive program will recognize one outstanding student who would like to learn more about the practice of analytics at the conference in Huntington Beach, Calif., on April 12-14, 2015. The scholarship covers the cost of attending the event and additional networking opportunities.Read More
Analytics Section of INFORMS NewsAnalytics Section continues to grow, hosts lively reception
The Analytics Section of INFORMS has continued to develop in 2014, both increasing the membership base and expanding its scope of activities, all of which were reviewed at a lively reception and business meeting at the 2014 INFORMS Annual Conference in San Francisco earlier this month.Read More
Statistical model unlocks barriers to fingerprint evidence
Potentially key fingerprint evidence is currently not being considered due to shortcomings in the way it is reported, according to a report published in the February issue of Significance, the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association. Researchers involved in the study have devised a statistical model to enable the weight of fingerprint evidence to be quantified, paving the way for its full inclusion in the criminal identification process.
Fingerprints have been used for over a century as a way of identifying criminals. However, fingerprint evidence is not currently permitted to be reported in court unless examiners claim absolute certainty that a mark has been left by a particular suspect. This courtroom certainty is based purely on categorical personal opinion, formed through years of training and experience, but not on logic or scientific data. Less than certain fingerprint evidence is not reported at all, irrespective of the potential weight and relevance of this evidence in a case.
The paper highlights this subjectivity in current processes, calling for changes in the way such key evidence is allowed to be presented. According to Professor of Statistics Cedric Neumann, “It is unthinkable that such valuable evidence should not be reported, effectively hidden from courts on a regular basis. Such is the importance of this wealth of data, we have devised a reliable statistical model to enable the courts to evaluate fingerprint evidence within a framework similar to that which underpins DNA evidence.”
Neumann, from Pennsylvania State University, and his team devised and successfully tested a model for establishing the probability of a print belonging to a particular suspect. After mapping the finer points of detail on a “control print” and “crime scene print,” two hypotheses were then tested. The first test, to establish the probability that the crime scene print was made by the owner of the control print (the suspect), compared the control print with a range of other prints made by the suspect. The second test, to establish the probability that the crime scene print was made by someone other than the suspect, compared the crime scene print with a set of prints in a reference database. A likelihood ratio between the two probabilities was calculated; the higher the ratio indicating stronger evidence that the suspect was the source of the crime scene print.
“Current practice allows a state of certainty to be presented which is not justified scientifically, or supported by logical process or data,” says Neumann. “We believe that the examiner should not decide what evidence should or should not be presented. Our method allows all evidence to be supported by data, and reported according to a continuous scale.”