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The 2018 SASA Conference will be hosted by the University of South Africa from 26 - 29 November 2018 at the Florida Campus, Johannesburg. Please see conference website for further details,

Student Awards

2018 winners

2017/2018 SASA Honours Project Competition Sponsored by SAS®

It is the SASA Education Committee’s pleasure to announce the winners of the 2017/2018 SASA Honours Project Competition. We received 19 honours projects from 8 universities this year. Thank you to Nelson Mandela University (NMU), Stellenbosch University (SU), University of Cape Town (UCT), University of Fort Hare (UFH), University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), University of Pretoria (UP), University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), and University of Venda (UNIVEN) for their entries. Congratulations to the following entries:

First Prize

The Classification of Galaxy Images Using Convolutional Neural Networks

James Lloyd (UCT)

(R8000 + Sponsorship to attend and present the project at SASA2018)

Second Prize

Sampling from Distributions Using Genetic Algorithms

Sibusiso Thabene (UCT)


Third Prize

CLARA Algorithm for Image Clustering

Mark de Lancey (UP)

(R4000 + Special prize of R2000 for best use of SAS)

In fourth place, there was the project “An Empirical Study to Classify the Daily Movement of Naspers Ltd.’s Share Price: A Comparison of Statistical Learning Techniques” by Ian Louw & Tristan Naidoo (SU). There was also a special prize for the project that made the best use of SAS and is ranked in the top 3. This year it is awarded to the Third Price Winner.

The SASA Education Committee is grateful to the following judges for their time and effort: Prof Legesse Debusho (UNISA), Prof Carl Lombard (MRC), Porf Shaun Ramroop (UKZN), Dr Victoria Goodall (NMU), Dr Justin Harvey (SU), and Dr Vince Micali (Stats4Buz). As always, ranking the top projects was a difficult task, in particular due to the variety of standards and subject areas, and the number of projects that had to be adjudicated.  We’d also like to extend a special word of thanks to SAS for their continued support of this competition. 

Congratulations to all the winners!

SASA Education Committee

2017 winners

Postgraduate Paper Competition winners 2017

Pali Lehohla award for the best emerging statistician

N Zondo (UKZN): Student Attitudes towards Statistics: The case of South Africa

1st Prize

J Nienkemper-Swanepoel (SUN): Exploratory study for the visualisation of incomplete multivariate categorical data + attending and presenting a paper at the 2017 SASA conference

2nd Prize

K Yoo (UP): Probabilistic SEM: An augmentation to classical structural equation modelling 


SAS Honours Project Winners 2017

·      Zolisa Bleki (UCT): Laplace variational influence of the single-season site occupancy model using a probit link function 

·       Gabriel de Wet (UP): Methods for semi-supervised text classification 

·       Nathaniel Joselson (UCT): An examination of the use and interpretation of principal components in generalised linear models to treat multicolinearity amongst predictors


2017 Third Year Competition Winners

Bursary: A Langston (RU) sponsored by SAS and Z Adams (SUN) sposnored by ICCSSA

Scholarships: N Gorlach (NMU) 


2017 Second Year Competition Winners

Scholarship:  W Abrahams (NMU)

Bursary: W Chitsike (UP) and C Fazzini (UP)


2016 winners

Postgraduate Paper Competition winners 2016

1st Prize

P Sewmohan (UP): A comparison of the EM algorithm and the method of maximum likelihood under constraints (MLEC)​​​​​​​ + attending and presenting a paper at the 2016 SASA conference

2nd Prize

J Mazarura (UP): A comparison of the performance of Latent Dirichlet allocation and the Dirichlet multinomial mixture model on short tex


SAS Honours Project Winners 2016

·       Luca Steyn (SUN): Statistical Modelling with Quantile-based Methods and L-moments​​​​​​​ 

·       Brett Rowland (UP): Mixtures of Gamma Distributions to Model the Signal-to-Noise Ratio of Wireless Channels​​​​​​​ 

·       Kaylan Moodley (UCT): Application of Linear Programming to a Classification Problem


2016 Third Year Competition Winners

Bursary: C Dunderdale (NMMU) sponsored by SAS

Scholarships: L Boswell (RU) sponsored by ICCSSA and R du Toit (NWU) 


2016 Second Year Competition Winners

Scholarship:  H Maclean (RU)

Bursary: A Langston (RU)


2015 winners

Postgraduate Paper Competition winners 2015

1st Prize

C Janse van Rensburg (UP): Big Data: A Compressed Sensing Approach + attending and presenting a paper at the 2015 SASA conference

2nd Prize

H Sadiq (UCT): Inferring HIV-1 Drug Resistance as Episodic Directional Selection using Topic Models 

3rd Prize

C Ras (UP): Risk Performance of a Heteroscedastic Preliminary Test Estimator under the Reflected Normal Loss Function 


SAS Honours Project Winners 2015

·       Margaret de Villiers and Dalene Bezuidenhout (SUN): Influence of Right-Censoring on Some Kernel-Smoothed Hazard Rates 

·       Alex Lau (UP): Techniques for Background Modelling in Images 

·       Izak Nel (UCT): Investigating Specification Tests for Short Rate Diffusion Models 


2015 Third Year Competition Winners

Scholarship: D Botha (SUN) sponsored by SAS

Bursaries: K Mfeka (UKZN) sponsored by ICCSSA and M Alexander (UP) 


2015 Second Year Competition Winners

Scholarship:  C Dunderdale (NMMU)

Bursaries: C Zwane (UKZN) and S Mphuthu (UP)


2014 winners

Paper Competition for Young Statisticians winners 2014 (attending ISI in July 2015)

·       George O. Agogo (Wageningen University and Research Centre, Netherlands, Kenyan): A flexible Zero-Augmented Generalized Gamma Mixed Effects Regression Calibration model to Correct for Measurement Error in Episodically Consumed Food

·       Tsiresy Pierre Bernard (UCT, Madagascan): A graphical overview of social inequality in South Africa

·       Aviwe Phelele Gqwaka (NMMU, South African): Efficiency Analysis of Electricity Distribution by South African Municipalities: A Cost Frontier Approach

·       Seitebaleng Makgai (UP, South African): Mixture of exponentiated Pareto model through beta type generator

·       Brenda V. Omachar (UP, Kenyan): The quantile-based generalized logistic distribution

·       Opeoluwa. F. Oyedele (UCT, Nigerian): Biplots for sparse partial least squares

·       Willem D. Schutte (NWU, South African): On the application of a new nonparametric estimator for the off-pulse interval of a light curve using a computer package


Postgraduate Paper Competition winners 2014

1st Prize

Johané Nienkemper-Swanepoel (UFS): Multiple Imputation using Regularised Iterative Multiple Correspondence Analysis + attending and presenting a paper at the 2014 SASA conference

2nd Prize

Herbert Hove (WITS): Characterisation of the Joint Behaviour of Competing Risks: Application to Accelerated Reliability Testing

3rd Prize

Yegnanew Shiferaw (WITS): Improved Confidence Intervals under the Fay-Herriot Model: Application to Poverty Incidence in Ethiopia (Official Statistics discipline)


SAS Honours Project Winners 2014

·       Cornu Campher (Wits): Point-in-Time – Through-the-Cycle Dual Calibration

·       Lionel Kemba (UKZN): Modeling financial data using the generalized hyperbolic distribution with an application to South African exchange rates

·       Melinda Ross (UCT): Phylogeographic Analysis of the Influenza A Virus in Africa


2014 Third Year Competition Winners

Scholarship: Ms Emma Plumstead (NMMU)

Bursaries: Ms Shannon Sass (NMMU) and Mr Sabelo Mokoena (UKZN)


2014 Second Year Competition Winners

Scholarship:  Ms M Alexander (UP) 

Bursaries: Mr O Mokoena (UL) and  Mr T Mchunu (UKZN)