The Association for Statistics and its Uses

Jean-Jacques Droesbeke wrote the article Les Racines de la Societe Française de Statistique (The roots of the French Statistical Society).

The first part of the article is the French Statistical Society - Introduction. We give an English version at THIS LINK.

The second part of the article is the Statistical Society of Paris. We give an English version at THIS LINK.

The fourth part of the article is The French Statistical Society. We give an English version at THIS LINK.

The References to the article are given at THIS LINK.

3. From the Association of University Statisticians to the Association for Statistics and its Uses

3.1 Creation of the ASU

The ASU originated in a meeting of some thirty statisticians held in Toulouse in 1969 at the initiative of Roger Huron, after consulting several colleagues, such as Daniel Dugué, Gustave Malécot and Marie-Jeanne Laurent-Duhamel. They were mainly university professors, essentially oriented towards applied statistics, practicing their profession mainly outside Paris (apart from Daniel Dugué), and who wanted to establish a more structured relationship between them. It was also a question of reflecting on the content of statistics teaching - both in university curricula and in secondary education - and to study how to participate in reforming the curriculum.

The project of setting up an association is the subject of a meeting again held in Toulouse on 13 June 1970, during which the 43 participants draw up statutes and discuss curricula and teaching methods, links between universities and sectors of production, foreign relations and careers in the discipline. Everything is in place to constitute the 'Association of University Statisticians' whose first 'Days' will take place in Lyon on 6 and 7 November 1970. Its statutes will be deposited in Paris in February 1971, the registered office is the National Pedagogical Institute, located rue Ulm, in the fifth arrondissement of Paris.

3.2 The period 1970-1975

The new association decided to meet on 27 March 1971 in Orleans, then in May 1972 in Clermont-Ferrand. In 1973, its members meet twice: in May in Pau and in November in Paris-Dauphine - this will be the only time that there will be two meetings in a single year.

Two men will lead the Association during this period: Gustave Malécot and Georges Morlat. The structure of the meetings of the Society remains quite stable during the first years. It is about dealing with teaching problems, usually in round tables; the scientific part is conveyed by one or two presentations given by one or other university professor.

This organisation will soon open up to young researchers by inviting them to present their work, which will increase the number of participants ... and presentations. The meetings in Nancy (1974) and Montpellier (1975) allow this opening to be initiated. It also seems that it was in Montpellier that the idea was born of adding to the congress a banquet embellished with various musical sounds in order to strengthen the links between statisticians.

3.3 The period 1976-1986

From 1976 (Aix-en-Provence) and 1977 (Vannes), the scientific part occupies the majority of the program of the plenary meetings of the Association and, very quickly, almost all the available time. The duration of the conference is extended to four days then five days of which half a day will be reserved for social activities - so important for the life of a group. In 1978, in Nice, an active Belgian participation will extend the audience of the congress outside France. From 1980, it will result in participation in the ASU Council.

At the beginning of this period, the analysis of data occupies a predominant place in the selected topics, but other centres of interest will be more and more present and reverse this situation.

New initiatives are emerging, supported by the presidents who have followed one another during this period: Michel Depaix, Marie-Jeanne Laurent-Duhamel, Bernard Van Cutsem, Yves Escoufier and Gilbert Saporta. First, there is the publication in 1976 of a bulletin of the Association, entitled Statistics and Data Analysis. Prepared initially by Henri Caussinus and Guy Romier, the torch will be taken over in 1980 by Yves Escoufier. It is a point of honour to replace this newsletter with a publication of a more scientific nature, open to articles proposed by researchers of all ages. Bernard Van Cutsem will resume the task in 1981; he will be joined in 1989 by Alain Berlinet, but for a short time because the publication will stop in 1991.

A second initiative is the creation in October 1984 of the 'Study Days in Statistics' (JES) whose organisation will be entrusted to Bernard Fichet, Philippe Tassi and Jean-Jacques Droesbeke. Later, the first two will give way to Gilbert Saporta and Jeanne Fine, herself later replaced by Michel Lejeune. From the beginning, it was decided to organise this "summer school" every two years. This periodic renewal will be favoured by the reception given to these Days which bring together both long-standing and new participants in a constant pattern. The first three leaders of the JES will extend their European experience in October 1987 by creating the 'European Courses in Advanced Statistics' (ECAS) with, initially, Italian, German and Dutch colleagues, an association whose activities will take place over the odd years, alternating with the JES. Two members of the ASU/SFdS will chair this international association: Jean-Jacques Droesbeke from 1987 to 1993 and Bernard Fichet from 2002 to 2005.

The establishment of JES will be accompanied by a project to facilitate the work of statisticians. This is the publication of courses in the form of books whose usefulness in the French language statistical literature will quickly assert itself. This ASU collection will be published successively by Economica, Ellipses (in a co-edition with the editions of the University of Brussels) and, for the third time, by the Technip editions. The works in this collection bear witness to ten fruitful collaborations between men and women sharing their interest in the same theme, under the watchful and committed control of the organisers of the Days.

Other events must be mentioned. In 1981, the ASU was approved as an affiliated organisation of the 'International Statistical Institute'. It is the patron of various scientific events including the fifth symposium COMPSTAT in 1982 in Toulouse. With the help of the Foundation "Statistical Science", it participates actively in the international conferences on the teaching of statistics (ICOTS) organised by the IIS through its section, the 'International Association for the Teaching of Statistics' (AIES/IASE: International Association for Statistical Education). Under the supervision of Gilbert Saporta, it also organised, in 1999, the ECAS Days devoted to experimental programmes.

And during this time, the annual congresses continue and expand. In Vannes, in 1977, some people decided to create the 'Société Francophone de Classification' (SFC). It was in Nice in 1978 that an important turning point was taken, since, for the first time, the ASU included in its days those of other organisations, the SFC and the 'French Society of Biometrics' (SFB). This initiative constitutes the ferment of what will later lead to a federation of French statistical societies. After Nice (1978), one finds oneself in Paris, more precisely in the ENSAE (1979), then in Toulouse (1980) and Nancy (1981). It is also in 1981 that the head office of the Institution leaves the rue d'Ulm to settle in the premises of ISUP, the place Jussieu in Paris, still in the fifth arrondissement. The year 1982 saw the congress leave France for the first time to go to Brussels. There followed Lyon (1983), Montpellier (1984), Pau (1985) and Lille (1986) which concludes this third period. Sessions have diversified and multiplied, academics mix with business researchers: it is time to change the name.

3.4 The period 1987-1991

In 1987, the Association again left France and the congress meets in Lausanne. Several decisions are made on this occasion. First, the ASU becomes the 'Association for Statistics and Uses' - a new denomination proposed by Claude Langrand with the support of Gilbert Saporta, ASU President at this time - to mark the opening of activities towards applications and willingness to address non-university statisticians as well. A second important decision concerns the recognition of specialised think-tanks "to encourage certain aspects of statistics in line with the objectives of the Association". They will quickly acquire a life of their own by organising seminars, courses, specific seminars, ...

The 'Biopharmacy' group - whose name will later become 'Biopharmacie et Santé' - was founded in 1986. It is certainly one of the major inspirers of these creations. Created at the initiative of Michel Tenenhaus, Andreas Zipfel and Joris Cauquil, who had been meeting since 1985 and 1986 during ASU Annual Congresses, the first general assembly, organised at the Lausanne congress, brings together nearly 50 participants, under the chairmanship of Andreas Zipfel. The latter will be succeeded by Jean-Christophe Lemarié, for the first time, and then Dominique Moccati and François Aubin. The will to found this group came from statisticians working mainly in the pharmaceutical industry wishing to join a professional association, which is echoed by a wish for its inclusion in the ASU, which wishes at this time to open more towards the fields of application of statistics. It quickly becomes very active through the organisation of courses, congresses, and training sessions, but also by participating in the constitution in 1990 of the 'European Federation of Statisticians in the Pharmaceutical Industry'. One of its main achievements is the establishment every four years, starting in 1989, of an international congress 'Statistical Methods in Biopharmacy', organised in Paris, the papers of which are published in a special issue of the journal Statistics in Medicine.

The second group is created in 1988. It focuses on 'Statistical Education and Training' - a founding principle of the ASU. Presided over originally by Annie Morin, her successors as presidents of this group will be Nelly Hanoune and, following her, next Jean-Claude Regnier. He will practice various activities among which should be noted the publication of a white paper on the teaching of statistics in France in 1991, a project carried out with dynamism with three of its most active members at the time: Nelly Hanoune, Marie-Jeanne Laurent-Duhamel and Annie Morin. Among its various activities, let us highlight the publication of a small journal Statistically Yours intended among other things for secondary school teachers, and its involvement in the ICOTS congresses of which we have already mentioned above.

A very active third group will come into existence during this period. Bearing the name 'Agro-Industry', it was created in 1989, in Rennes, initiated by Georges Le Calvé - who will be its first president -, Farid Beninel, Jean le Nouvel, El Mostafa Qannari and Jean-Pierre Masson. It will be chaired successively by Farid Beninel, André Kobilinsky, El Mostafa Qannari and Pascal Schlich. Its most striking action is undoubtedly the organisation of the European Agro-Industry and Statistical Methods Days which, every two years, "take stock of the development and impact of statistics in the agro-food industries".

The year 1989 also saw the SSP and the ASU participate in an important action: the organisation of the 47th session of the IIS in Paris, from 29 August to 6 September. Under the chairmanship of Edmond Malinvaud, an organising committee will take charge of this ambitious operation. It is composed of Jacques Antoine, Jean-Louis Bodin, Jean-Marie Bouroche, Yves Escoufier, Yves Franchet, Marie-Jeanne Laurent-Duhamel, Georges le Calvé, Raymond Lévy-Bruhl, Jean-Claude Milleron, George Morlat, Jean-Pierre Raoult, Gilbert Saporta and Philippe Tassi. In addition to this project, French statisticians will be brought to actively participate in the destinies of the IIS: the presidency of this institute will be entrusted to Jean-Louis Bodin from 1999 to 2001 and two vice-presidencies will be given, one to Yves Escoufier from 1991 to 1993 and the other to Gilbert Saporta from 2005 to 2007.

In addition to Gilbert Saporta, of whom we have already spoken, two other men will run the ASU during this third period: Georges Le Calvé and Ludovic Lebart whose role in the opening of the association to the professional world must also be emphasised. After Lausanne, where Marie-Jeanne Laurent-Duhamel is nominated as an honorary member of the Association, the Grenoble congress takes place in 1988 - Georges Morlat will also be recognised as an honorary member - at Rennes in 1989 - who will raise Marie-Jeanne Laurent-Duhamel to be Honorary President - at Tours in 1990 and finally from Strasbourg in 1991 where a new modification of the statutes was established.

As can be seen, the activities of the ASU are developing. To organise them, the association can count, since its arrival at the ISUP, on the help of Dominique Tilly who, with a lot of dedication, takes on during some years the essential administrative tasks. But their scale becomes such that the ASU makes the decision, in 1991, to have a more stable administrative support by the hiring of a half-time secretary who will create this fixed point to which all the presidents will refer more and more. Dominique Tilly can not assume this new position, the position of secretary will be entrusted to Elisabeth Sandahl who, with much dedication, will assist the association for nearly three years.

3.5 The period 1991-1996

The year 1991 sees a new modification of the statutes of the Association. It is also the beginning of a very important period in the context of the creation of the future French Statistical Society. As early as 1990, Félix Rosenfeld and Georges Le Calvé - whose action will be repeated later by Ludovic Lebart - respective presidents of the SSP and the ASU, examine how to bring these two soceties together, considering that it would be more desirable to bring those who work for the development of statistics together under the same banner. The meeting point is provided by the 'Statistical Society of France' (SSF) which, remember, was created in 1976. Although inactive until 1990, the SSF, recognised by public utility, will see its statutes changed in 1991. It thus makes it possible to create a formal meeting point where, certainly, the SSP and ASU could meet, but also the French Society of Biometrics, the French-speaking Society of Classification, the group 'Random and Statistical Modelling' (MAS) of the 'Society of Applied and Industrial Mathematics' (SMAI) as well as the group of French members of the 'International Institute of Statistics'.

The framework of all these discussions is the Henri Poincaré Institute (IHP) where, in January 1994, a secretariat is installed shared by the member societies of the SSF, entrusted to Servane Biancardi. It is also here that the headquarters of the Journal of Applied Statistics (RSA), originally published by CERESTA, is established when the latter belonged to the ISUP, and entrusted to the SSF in 1992. Run by Georges Morlat from 1969 to 1978 and then, just as effectively, by Pierre Cazes - whose reviews do not let anything pass - this review is one of two publications currently published by the SFdS. So the ASU was chaired from 1991 to 1996 successively by Ludovic Lebart, Anne-Marie Dussaix and Henri Caussinus, the SSF sees, for its part, Gilbert Saporta succeed Felix Rosenfeld as President before handing over the baton to Henri Caussinus. The latter is thus able to take the final step. At the end of 1996, the SSP merges with the ASU and the SSF to form a new 'Société Statistique de France'. The latter will soon be transformed into the 'French Statistical Society' and its statutes will be tabled in July 1997; it will then be recognised as a public utility in December 1998. It should be noted that on this occasion, Marie-Jeanne Laurent-Duhamel and Félix Rosenfeld are named Honorary Presidents of the new association.

Meanwhile, the usual activities of the ASU are continuing. In particular, the Journées de Statistique are held in Brussels (1992), Vannes (1993), Neuchâtel (1994), Jouy-en-Josas (1995), Québec (1996) - here we are for the first time across the Atlantic! - and Carcassonne (1997). But this fourth period is also marked by other events worthy of interest. Let's mention some of them.

New entities are emerging. In 1992, the 'Marketing Surveys and Models' group was created - later to become 'Investigations, Models and Applications'. Initiated by Anne-Marie Dussaix, Jean-Michel Gautier, Jean-Marie Grosbras, Gilles Laurent, Ludovic Lebart, Benoît Riandey and Philippe Tassi, this group will have for successive Presidents Jean-Michel Gautier and Benoît Riandey. This creation is also based on a certain number of prior manifestations focused on this area. These include the 1986 Study Days in Statistics concentrating on polls, and also the seminars on survey methods, organised in 1988 by Benoît Riandey at the INED. Two other members of the ASU will be involved in the organisation of scientific events focused on this theme: Jean-Jacques Droesbeke in Brussels, in 1988, with the symposium entitled "Au Royaume des Sondages" and Ludovic Lebart in Paris, in 1991, with that dedicated to the quality of information in surveys, joining on this occasion with the ASU, CNRS and ENST. These conferences will give rise to publications bearing the same titles, the first at the Editions of the University of Brussels and the second at Dunod.

The idea of bringing together all those who are interested in surveys and polls will also enable French-speaking colloquia to be set up on polls that will take place in Rennes in 1997, in Brussels in 2000, in Grenoble (Autrans) in 2002 and in Québec in 2005. The proceedings of these meetings will also enrich the association's publications. Note finally the opening towards the SFdS of the Statistical Methodology Days of the INSEE, indebted in particular to Jean-Claude Deville, and the organisation of the INSEE/SFdS joint seminars - especially devoted to the "restored census" - which marks a desire to promote exchanges between public institutions and the scientific community.

The year1992 also saw the birth of the 'Software' group, today known as 'Infostat, Software and Data Mining'. This creation is mainly due to Danielle Grangé who, with the help of Alain Morineau, wanted to spread and develop the MODULAD library and facilitate the organisation of study days. The first president of the group, Danielle Grangé will have as successors François Sermier and, most recently, Yves Lechevallier. One of the first activities of the group is the realisation of a survey on the use of statistical software whose results will be published in issue 11 of the journal MODULAD. This consultation will be repeated in 1996. It should also be mentioned in the recurring activities of this entity, the organisation, from 1997, the half-days of the Software group - now called 'Infostat's afternoons' - four times a year in general, on various topics and mainly applied.

Finally, again in 1992, the 'Quality-Reliability' group, initially led by Michel Roussignol - who was succeeded by Jacques Demonsant, Jérôme Collet and Zohra Cherfi - and will organise, once or twice a year, study days devoted to a particular theme concerning "the use of statistical methods for the improvement of quality and reliability."

The fourth part of the article is The French Statistical Society. We give an English version at THIS LINK.

The References to the article are given at THIS LINK.

JOC/EFR February 2018

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