StanCon 2018

StanCon 2018

Three days of talks, open discussions, and statistical modeling.

Jan 10-12, 2018   •   Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California, USA


Thanks to these fine folks for sponsoring StanCon2018

Jumping Rivers is teaching a Stan class Dec 7, Dec 8 at Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne in the UK.


We have gotten so many requests for scholarships after the deadline that we are re-opening them. The scholarship covers staying at Asilomar and meals. You are still responsible for travel and incidentals. While this is primarily for students, tell us a good story and we will see what we can do. Scholarship link here

Wearable Poster Session

We will accept poster submissions on a rolling basis until January 5th. One page exclusive of references is the desired format but anything that gives us enough information to make a decision is fine. We will accept/reject within 48 hours. Send to The only somewhat odd requirement is that your poster must be “wearable” to the 5pm reception where you will be a walking presentation. Great way to network, signboard supplies will be available so you need only have sheets of paper which can be attached to signboard material which conincendentally will be the source airframe material for the R/C airplane activities following dinner.


Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, California

StanCon 2018 will take place at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, a National Historic Landmark on the Monterey Peninsula right on the beach.

Asilomar is about 120 miles south of San Francisco and 75 miles south of San Jose. Shuttle service is $60 each way from San Francisco airport (3 hour trip) and $50 each way from San Jose airport (2 hour trip) ( Shuttles run approximately every 1.5 hours. Car rental is also an option and showing rates less than $30/day as of Oct 29th.

Invitation Letters for US visa

If you require an invitation letter for visa or other purposes please fill out this form. We will email you a letter within 48 hours. You must be registered or a scholarship awardee to get the letter.

Registration Information

IMPORTANT: Tell us your T-shirt size and tutorial/activity preferences on our SWAG form.

If you are staying at the conference facility, Asilomar, then registration for the conference is handled as a part of the room booking process. Register/book room at Asilomar. More accomidation information below.

Offsite registration is done via EventBrite. Please do not use this to register and then stay at Asilomar with some cheap deal. Our room rate covers a bunch of conference expenses. See below for meal costs.

Early Registration (ends Dec 15)

Student Academic Industry
$150 $250 $350

Regular Registration

Student Academic Industry
$225 $375 $525

We are offering $50 discounted registration to anyone identifying with as a member of an underrepresented community, including but not limited to gender, ethnicity, and orientation.


Onsite Accommodations (will also collect payment for StanCon2018 registration)

Book accommodations!

Accommodations at Asilomar include meals. Cost for 4 days, 3 nights (Jan 9-12):

  • Single accommodations: $899.00
  • Double accommodations: $605.93

These costs do not include an additional $20 processing fee that will be charged when you check into your accommodation at Asilomar.

Offsite Accommodations

For those attending the conference, but not staying at Asilomar, meals can be purchased a la carte:

  • Breakfast: $19.81
  • Lunch: $25.64
  • Dinner: $39.87

Speakers and Schedule

Going to be a pressure cooker folks. Subject to change without notice.

Wednesday, Jan 10

Tutorials/Classes 8:00-10:00am

Break 10:00-10:40am

Invited Talk: Sophia Rabe-Hesketh and Daniel Furr (U California, Berkely) 10:40-11:30am

  • Does the New York City Police Department rely on quotas? Jonathan Auerbach (Columbia U) 11:30-11:50am
  • Bayesian estimation of mechanical elastic constants. Ben Bales, Brent Goodlet, Tresa Pollock, Linda Petzold (UC Santa Barbara) 11:50am-12:10pm
  • Joint longitudinal and time-to-event models via Stan. Sam Brilleman, Michael Crowther, Margarita Moreno-Betancur, Jacqueline Buros Novik, Rory Wolfe (Monash U, Columbia U) 12:10-12:30pm

Lunch 12:30-2:00pm

  • ScalaStan. Joe Wingbermuehle (Cibo Technologies) 2:00-2:20pm
  • A tutorial on Hidden Markov Models using Stan. Luis Damiano 2:20-2:40pm
  • Student Ornstein-Uhlenbeck models served three ways (with applications for population dynamics data). Aaron Goodman (Stanford U) 2:40-3:00pm
  • SlicStan: a blockless Stan-like language. Maria I. Gorinova, Andrew D. Gordon, Charles Sutton (U of Edinburgh) 3:00-3:20pm

Break 3:20-4:00pm

Invited Talk: Talia Weiss (MIT) 4:00-4:50pm

Reception 5:00-6:30pm

Dinner 6:30-8pm

After Dinner 8-10pm

  • Build and fly your own R/C airplane
  • S’mores by the outdoor fire place

Thursday, Jan 11


Break 10:00-10:40am

Invited Talk: Sean Taylor and Ben Letham (Facebook) 10:40-11:30am

  • NPCompare: a package for nonparametric density estimation and two populations comparison built on top of PyStan. Marco Inacio (U of São Paulo/UFSCar) 11:30-11:50am
  • Introducing idealstan, an R package for ideal point modeling with Stan. Robert Kubinec (U of Virginia) 11:50am-12:10pm
  • A brief history of Stan. Daniel Lee (Generable) 12:10-12:30pm

Lunch 12:30-1:30pm

  • Computing steady states with Stan’s nonlinear algebraic solver. Charles C. Margossian (Metrum, Columbia U) 1:30-1:50pm
  • Flexible modeling of Alzheimer’s disease progression with I-Splines. Arya A. Pourzanjani, Benjamin B. Bales, Linda R. Petzold, Michael Harrington (UC Santa Barbara) 1:50-2:10pm

Modeling/Data Session + Classes 2:10-4:10pm

  • Open session for consultations on modeling and data problems with Stan developers and modelers. 2:10-4:10pm
  • Session 3 of Intro to Stan 2:10-4:10pm
  • What is new to Stan 3:30-4:10pm
  • How to develop for Stan C++ 2:10-3:10

Invited Talk: Manuel Rivas (Stanford U) 4:00-4:50pm

Reception 5:00-6:30pm

Dinner 6:30-8:00pm

After Dinner 8:00-10:00pm

  • Non-snobby Blind Wine Tasting

Friday, Jan 12


Break 10:00-10:40am

Invited Talk: Susan Holmes (Stanford U) 10:40-11:30am

  • Aggregate random coefficients logit — a generative approach. Jim Savage, Shoshana Vasserman 11:30-11:50am
  • The threshold test: Testing for racial bias in vehicle searches by police. Camelia Simoiu, Sam Corbett-Davies, Sharad Goel, Emma Pierson (Stanford U) 11:50am-12:10pm
  • Assessing the safety of Rosiglitazone for the treatment of type II diabetes. Konstantinos Vamvourellis, K. Kalogeropoulos, L. Phillips (Boston U) 12:10-12:30pm

Lunch 12:30-1:30pm

  • Causal inference with the g-formula in Stan. Leah Comment (Harvard U) 1:30-1:50pm
  • Bayesian estimation of ETAS models with Rstan. Fausto Fabian Crespo Fernandez ( 1:50-2:10pm

Invited Talk: Andrew Gelman 2:10-3:00 (Columbia U) (virtual)


We have tutorials that start at the crack of 8am for those desiring further edification beyond the program–these do not run in parallel to the main session but do run parallel to each other:

  • Introduction to Stan: Know how to program? Know basic statistics? Curious about Bayesian analysis and Stan? This is the course for you. Hands on, focused and an excellent way to get started working in Stan. Two hours every day, 6 hours total. Bob Carpenter, Jonah Sol Gabry, Ben Goodrich, Sean Talts, Mitzi Morris.

  • Executive decision making the Bayesian way: This is for non-technical managers and technical folks who need to communicate with managers to learn the core of decision making under uncertainty. One hour every day. Jonathan Auerback, Imad Ali.

  • Advanced Modeling in Stan: The hard stuff. Very interactive, very intense. Topics vary by day. Bob Carpenter, Jonah Sol Gabry, Andrew Gelman, Ben Goodrich.

  • How to develop for Stan at the C++ level: Overview of Stan C++ architecture and build/development process for contributors. Charles Christopher Margossian.


Learning is fun but we anticipate that blowing off a little steam will be called for.

R/C Airplanes

After dinner on Wed eve we will provide designs and building materials to create your own R/C airplane. The core design can be scratch built in 90 minutes or less at which point, and weather dependent, we will learn to fly our planes indoors or outdoors. See for an idea of the style of airplane. You can also create your own designs and we will have night illumination gear.

S’mores By the Bonfire

Pretty much self explanatory. Wed eve.

Snob-free Blind Wine Tasting

By day 2 you will have gotten to know your fellow attendees so some social adventure is called for. This activity has proved wildly successful at DARPA conferences and they invented the internet so it can’t be all bad. Participants taste wines without knowing what they are.

Code of Conduct

In order to facilitate a welcoming environment for all attendees, StanCon 2018 will enforce a code of conduct.

StanCon 2018 Organizing Committee

If you have any questions regarding StanCon, please email us at

StanCon is organized by a volunteer community

  • Breck Baldwin (Columbia University)
  • Jonah Gabry (Columbia University)
  • Daniel Lee (Generable, Inc)
  • Eric Novik (Generable, Inc)
  • Megan Shabram (NASA Ames)
  • Rob Trangucci (University of Michigan)
  • Lizze Wolkovich (Harvard University)