Probability and statistics were the only well-founded theories of uncertainty for a long time. However, during the last fifty years, in such areas like decision theory, artificial intelligence or information processing, numerous approaches extending or orthogonal to the existing theory of probability and mathematical statistics have been successfully developed. These new approaches have appeared, either on their own like fuzzy set theory, possibility theory, rough sets, or having their origin in probability theory itself, like imprecise probability, belief functions, fuzzy random variables.
The common feature of all those attempts is to allow for a more flexible modelling of imprecision, uncertainty, vagueness and ignorance. The proposed new methods are softer than the traditional theories and techniques because being less rigid they more easily adapt to the actual nature of information.
Wide range of applications still reveals the need for soft extensions of classical probabilistic and statistical tools. For example, in data analysis and data mining it is becoming increasingly clear that integrating fuzzy sets and probability can lead to more robust and interpretable models which better capture all kinds of the information contained in data. Also, in science and engineering the need to analyze and model the true uncertainty associated with complex systems requires a more sophisticated representation of ignorance than that provided by uninformative Bayesian priors.
Several years ago, the need was felt to establish a recurrent forum for exchanging of ideas and discussing new trends that enlarge the statistical and uncertainty modeling traditions, towards a flexible and more specific handling of incomplete or subjective information. This idea resulted in a series of biannual international conferences on Soft Methods in Probability and Statistics (SMPS), organized for the first time in Warsaw in 2002. Subsequent events in this series took place in Oviedo (2004), Bristol (2006), Toulouse (2008), Oviedo/Mieres (2010), Konstanz (2012) and Warsaw (2014).
The 8th International Conference on Soft Methods in Probability and Statistics - SMPS 2016 is organized in Rome, the capital of Italy.