Big Data: A perspective on their current uses and potential future uses by the Federal Statistical System

  • Date:
    Sep 30 2013
    04:30pm to 04:30pm
    Smith College, Ford Hall Room 240, 100 Green Street, Northampton, MA

    "Big Data:  A perspective on their current uses and potential future uses by the Federal Statistical System," a talk by Mike Horrigan, Associate Commissioner for Prices and Living Conditions, Bureau of Labor Statistics, will be hosted at Smith College on Sept. 30th, 4:30 pm in Ford Hall 240. The talk will be preceded by a tea at 4:00pm.

    This talk will explore the world of big data in terms of how they are currently used by the Federal Statistical system and explore possible ways in which big data sources may be leveraged in the future.  In an era of declining real budgets for the Federal Statistical agencies, big data are often seen as an efficient and economical way to replace or supplement existing data collection programs.  However, the blending of existing Federal data series collected using established statistical survey practices with big data sources that are not necessarily representative samples of a larger universe frame poses some significant challenges to the Federal statistical system, especially in terms of the quality tradeoffs we may be making.  We also face challenges in maintaining our goal of methodological transparency when the potential biases of some big data sources are not always well understood.

    The talk is part of the activities of the International Year of Statistics and is sponsored by the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics as well as Economics at Smith College and co-sponsored by the Five College Statistics Program and the Boston Chapter of the American Statistical Association.

    More information about Mike Horrigan can be found here: