Oct 1, 2018

Statisticians honored by COPSS at JSM2018

Wendy Lou, COPSS Secretary/Treasurer, writes: The Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) presents awards annually to honor statisticians who have made outstanding contributions to the profession of statistics. For 2018, three awards were presented, during the Joint Statistical Meetings in Vancouver, BC.

Richard J. Samworth of the University of Cambridge is the recipient of the 2018 Presidents’ Award. This award is presented annually to a young member of one of the participating societies of COPSS in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession of statistics. The award citation recognized Samworth “for fundamental contributions to nonparametric inference under shape constraints, nonparametric classification, high-dimensional variable selection and change point estimation; for many substantial contributions to the profession including editorial service, extensive service to statistical societies; and for the training and mentoring of junior researchers”. Also a recipient of the Royal Statistical Society’s Research Award and the Guy Medal in Bronze, Samworth gave an IMS Medallion Lecture at the 2018 IMS Vilnius meeting in July. He is highly regarded as “among the most creative statisticians of his age, whose research has great impact to statistics, machine learning, and data science”, and as “a truly superb mentor and advisor for many young and brilliant people”. Read Richard’s interview by Wendy Lou here.

Bin Yu of the University of California at Berkeley is the recipient of the 2018 Elizabeth L. Scott Award. This award is granted biennially to an individual, male or female, who has helped foster opportunities in statistics for women. The award citation recognized Yu “for principled leadership in the international scientific community; for commitment and actions towards diversity, equity and inclusion; for consistently mentoring and encouraging women students and new researchers in statistics and data science; and for scientific contributions to statistical and machine learning methodology at the highest scholarly level”. Yu has served as President of IMS, and is a member of the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is described as “a powerful voice for women’s advancement in the statistics, mathematics, and scientific community”. In receiving her award, she encouraged seeking “truth by claiming statistics’ central position in data science, and by embracing new statistical issues such as algorithm fairness, privacy, cyber-security, interpretability of machine learning and AI, and accurate election prediction.” As a graduate and a faculty member of the department of which Elizabeth L. Scott was one of the founding members, Yu expressed gratitude that the award “is also recognition of the Berkeley Statistics community: its past and current faculty, students, postdocs, staff and visitors for creating and sustaining an open and inclusive intellectual and human environment.”

Susan A. Murphy of Harvard University is the recipient of the 2018 R.A. Fisher Award and Lectureship, which honors both the contributions of Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher and the work of a present-day statistician for advancement of statistical theory and applications. This annual award recognizes outstanding scholarship in statistical sciences that has had a highly significant impact of statistical methods on scientific investigations. The award citation recognized Murphy “for scientific contributions to statistical theory and methods at the highest level and for fundamental advances in the innovative use of statistics to further behavioral and mental health research”. Murphy is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine, and she is currently President-Elect of IMS. She is hailed as “one of the most outstanding scientists in our discipline”, and “her work has the potential to revolutionize the conduct of health sciences research”. In her lecture, she discussed the design, implementation and other statistical considerations related to mobile health research, and aspired “to use statistics and mathematics to impact behavioral science”.

The slides of her Fisher Lecture, entitled “The Future: Stratified Micro-Randomized Trials with Applications in Mobile Health”, can be downloaded at http://people.seas.harvard.edu/~samurphy/seminars/Fisher08.2018.pdf.

The webcast of the COPSS award ceremony and the Fisher Lecture is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRUyrDQqoSc&t=0s&index=2&list=PL9G4n1wtRTDR-EE27dOUQr_ZI1JHHp9OH.

These awards are jointly sponsored by the original JSM societies: IMS, the American Statistical Association (ASA), the Eastern and Western Regions of the International Biometric Society (ENAR and WNAR), and the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC).

Nominations are sought for the 2019 awards, and information on award criteria and nomination procedures are available at the COPSS website http://copss.org.

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