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09: Predictability

Seminar / Seminar
english language

We all want to know the future so that we can make good decisions. Hence there is a big demand for forecasts. But is it always possible to obtain a valid forecast? We examine predictability from mathematical and empirical perspectives. Lenny Smith’s central interest is in determining the relevant measurements in a data rich environment, constructing nonlinear models and evaluating the results. Kesten Green will describe the Forecasting Principles Project. He will discuss the Seer-sucker theory and unsettling findings on predictability as they relate to technology, conflicts, the natural world, and climate.


Senior Research Fellow, Business and Economic Forecasting Unit, Monash University, Melbourne Chair
Director, Centre for the Analysis of Time Series, London School of Economics, London Chair

Dr. Kesten GREEN

Senior Research Fellow, Business and Economic Forecasting Unit, Monash University, Melbourne

1981-1982 Department of Economics at Victoria University of Wellington
1982-1985 Founder and Director of the publisher of Bettor Informed, a computerised horse-racing information magazine based on assessment of probabilities under different conditions
1985-1994 Founder and Director of Infometrics Limited, a leading New Zealand economic forecasting and consulting house
1994-1995 Founder and Managing Director of Pisé Blocks Limited, a manufacturer of pressed earth blocks for construction
since 1995 Founder and Managing Director of Decision Research Ltd, which provides forecasts, programme evaluations, and surveys, as well as advice on forecasting, research, and management decision making
2000-2001 Senior Research Fellow, Victoria Management School, Victoria University of Wellington
2004 Visiting Senior Lecturer, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics, Monash University
since 2005 Senior Research Fellow, Business and Economic Forecasting Unit, Monash University

Ph.D. Leonard A. SMITH

Director, Centre for the Analysis of Time Series, London School of Economics, London

 Raised in Florida, receiving his Bachelors degree, with Honours, in "Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science" from the University of Florida and his MA, MPhil and Ph.D. in Physics from Columbia University (USA). Since 1992 he has been a Senior Research Fellow (Mathematics) at Pembroke College Oxford, working in the Oxford Centre for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (OCIAM). He became a Professor of Statistics (Research), at the London School of Economics (LSE) in October 2004, where he is Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Time Series. His research interests focus on dynamical systems and predictability, with examples ranging from mathematical systems and laboratory experiments to weather and climate, each of which are discussed in his recently published book "A very short introduction to chaos" from OUP.

Seminar Week

show timetable


17:00 - 17:30Opening of the European Forum Alpbach 2008Plenary
17:30 - 19:00Opening speechesPlenary
19:00 - 20:30Presentation of the seminarsPlenary
20:30 - 23:00Opening receptionSocial


Seminar 01: Climate change and what we need to do about itSeminar
Seminar 02: Utopias and alternative (visions of) worldsSeminar
Seminar 03: Wirtschaftsforschung und WirtschaftspolitikSeminar
Seminar 04: Geschichtliche Situationsdeutungen und historische EntscheidungenSeminar
Seminar 05: A European people? Perception and formation of European citizensSeminar
Seminar 06: Ethics and biomedicine: Analysis of decisions and value judgementsSeminar
Seminar 07: Security policy becoming a European issueSeminar


Seminar 08: Who is in control? How the brain controls our thoughts and actionsSeminar
Seminar 09: PredictabilitySeminar
Seminar 10: Public opinion, opinion research and political decision-makingSeminar
Seminar 11: Transatlantic relationsSeminar
Seminar 12: Understanding fundamentalism: An interdisciplinary analysis of "Strong Religion"Seminar
Seminar 13: "Global Constitutional Network" - Limits and Possibilities of (Inter-)national JurisdictionsSeminar
Seminar 14: Art and perceptionSeminar


20:30 - 21:30Special Lecture: Europe - Strategic decisions for the continentPlenary


17:30 - 19:00Plenary session: Climate change and PredictabilityPlenary


19:00 - 20:30Plenary session: 40 years after the Prague SpringPlenary


17:30 - 19:00Plenary session: What has remained of 1968?Plenary