Nov 18, 2012

Bulletin columns: Rick Durrett and Xiao-Li Meng

Rick’s Ramblings is Going Online

Rick Durrett bids us farewell—in this publication, at least. He wrote [in the print version, December 2012 issue]:

My ideas for columns come at random times, which in many cases does not mesh well with the Bulletin publication schedule. In addition, an online column has several advantages over a paper one:

•     One does not have to worry about the fact that one page is 800 words.

•     Online columns can have hyperlinks to supplementary materials.

•     Columns can be edited after they are published.

For these and similar reasons, I have decided it is time to ramble on. At this point, I am not sure what the best venue is for my blog, so I would welcome advice on how to do this. In any case you can find my columns or a link to their location on my home page


And coming soon: The XL Files

We are pleased to introduce a new Contributing Editor to IMS Bulletin readers—though he probably needs no introduction to many of you. Xiao-Li Meng is the Dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), Whipple V. N. Jones Professor and former chair of Statistics at Harvard, an Honorary Professor of the University of Hong Kong, and a faculty affiliate at the Center of Health Statistics at the University of Chicago. He is well known for his depth and breadth in research, his innovation and passion in pedagogy, and his vision and effectiveness in administration, as well as for his engaging and entertaining style as a speaker and a writer.

Meng, a native of Shanghai, China, started his academic career at the age of 19, when he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Fudan University. After two years of teaching at China Textile University, he went back to Fudan and received a Diploma in Graduate Study in Mathematical Statistics in 1986. He then entered the Harvard Statistics Department, from which he was awarded his PhD in 1990. He was on the faculty of the University of Chicago from 1991 to 2001, before returning to Harvard as Professor of Statistics. He was appointed as the department chair in 2004, and the Whipple V. N. Jones Professor in 2007. He was appointed GSAS Dean effective August 15, 2012.

Meng has authored more than 100 publications in more than a dozen theoretical and methodological areas, and was ranked by Science Watch (May/June 2002) as one of the world’s top-25 most-cited mathematicians for articles published and cited during 1991–2000. His work spans from theoretical foundations of statistical inferences (e.g., the interplay among Bayesian, frequentist, and fiducial perspectives; quantify ignorance via invariance principles; multi-party inferences), to statistical methods and computation (e.g., posterior predictive p-value; EM algorithm; Markov chain Monte Carlo; bridge and path sampling), to a wide range of applications in natural, social, and medical sciences and engineering (e.g., complex statistical modeling in astronomy and astrophysics; quantifying statistical information in genetic studies; detecting and estimating trends in environmental and geophysical measurements; measuring disparities in Latino and Asian mental health services; assessing reporting delay in AIDS surveillance systems; and de-noising and de-mosaicing in digital cameras).

A fuller biography and list of his many honors is on Harvard’s website at

Look out for his first Bulletin column, coming soon.


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