Colloquium series 2018-02-15T17:02:54+00:00

Thursday, March 8th, 2018: Prof. Vivian Viallon (University Lyon 1, International Agency for Research on Cancer)

Title:  Cancer epidemiology in the era of big data


In this presentation, I will first recall what (cancer) epidemiology is, and why it is so intimately related to statistics. Then, I will present historical epidemiological results which have suggested the role of environmental exposures in the development of cancer. I will further explain how the availability of more and more complex data (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, epigenetics, microbiomics, but also « medico-administrative data ») opens the hope to better understand biological pathways leading to cancer, but also creates increasingly more complex challenges regarding statistical analyses. I will address the concept of causality and show how genetic data can be used to assess the causal interpretation of observed associations. I will also mention penalized estimation, and more particularly the use of structured sparsity-inducing norms to identify metabolic signatures specific to subtypes of breast cancer.


Prof. Viallon received his PhD in mathematical statistics in 2006 from University Paris 6, under the supervision of Prof. Paul Deheuvels (a world leading statistician, member of the French Academy of Science). Prof. Viallon held positions as an assistant professor at the Biostatistic department of Hopital Cochin/Univ. Paris Descartes, then as a visiting scholar at the EECS department of UC Berkeley, and then as an associate professor of statistics at University Lyon 1. He is currently “on leave”  and has joined the Nutritional Methodology and Biostatistics group at IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), WHO, Lyon. Motivated by applications in (cancer) epidemiology his research is mostly focused on penalized approaches for high-dimensional data and causal inference. Applications in (cancer) epidemiology have motivated most of his methodological and theoretical works.

Time and Location: 2pm, Amphi 3 Building A, emlyon business school (directions)

Monday, March 19, 2018: Maël Ezzabdi and Gwenael Barbaud 

Title: A ChatBot Startup From emlyon Expertise


Maël Ezzabdi is a former EMLYON Business School student. After having worked for 4 years in the software industry he co-founded Botgen in 2017, with Gwenael Barbaud (INSA Lyon) his tech co-founder. The startup is specialized in conversational AI, providing a mix of service and software tools (proprietary NLP platform and chatbot development framework) to B2C brands enabling them to develop innovative and high value conversational experiences for their users. In this talk they will cover the different aspects of working on such technologies and will share some concrete challenges faced while developing the Petit Paumé chatbot.

Special Time and Location: 12h30pm, IBM Amphi Building A, emlyon business school (directions)

Upcoming Dates

  • May 17, 2018 (tba)
  • June 21, 2018 (tba)

Past Talks in the Series

Thursday, February 1st, 2018: Steve Haroz (Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris)

Title: How the brain perceives visual information


We routinely encounter visual information in the form of charts, maps, and infographics. But the guidelines for creating these visual representations often rely on unsubstantiated opinions and traditions without a clear origin. I will instead describe a more scientific approach to forming guidelines by understanding how the human visual system works. Following a short introduction to visual perception and cognition, I’ll describe some of my research into understanding whether data visualization guidelines accurately correspond to what the brain can and can’t do efficiently.


Steve Haroz researches how our brain perceives and comprehends visual information. Steve is a postdocoral fellow at Sorbonne Université. He received his PhD from University of California working with David Whitney on perception and attention for visualization.

Time and Location: 2pm, A374, emlyon business school (directions)

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Thursday, December 7, 2017: Pr. Ian Davidson (University of California, Davis)

Title: Adding Humans to Machine Learning

Time and Location: 2pm, emlyon business school (directions)

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This colloquium series is organized in partnership with the Fédération Informatique de Lyon and  IXXI (Institut Rhônalpin des Systèmes Complexes)

Save the dates!

Questions / more information: contact Renaud Demesmay ( or Jean Savinien (