The future of statistical ecology
Len Thomas, National Centre for Statistical Ecology, University of St. Andrews
In this talk, I will attempt to review and summarize some of the main themes from presentations given over the conference. I will also peer into the crystal ball and forecast which areas are likely to occupy us over the coming years. Clearly, the increasingly pressing biodiversity crisis will guide our research priorities from the application side. Continuing increases in computer power, achieved through massive parallelization and quantum computing, will greatly increase the scope of the possible. However, it will always (for the foreseeable future) be easy to construct a realistic model that is both over-parameterized and impossible to compute, and hence parsimony and approximation will be a feature of our lives for many years to come. Finding more accurate yet computable approximations to complex models is an important research priority.