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New faculty member coming

The School is happy to announce that Lan Liu will be joining the School as an Assistant Professor from Fall 2015. Lan told us that:

"I am excited to join the School of Statistics at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities)! I was born and raised in Shanghai, China. When I was 18, I left home for the very first time and attended college at University of Science and Technology of China, which is in Anhui province. My undergrad major was pure math. After graduation, I switched my major and attended a doctoral program in Biostatistics at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Currently, I am working as a postdoctoral research fellow at Biostatistics department at Harvard University.

My research interest lies in causal inference, missing data analysis and doubly robust inference. In the past 20 years, there has been an explosion of interest in methods for drawing causal inferences across several disciplines including econometrics, social sciences, epidemiology and biomedical areas. However, previous methods for causal inference have relied on assumptions that may not hold in the context of modern complex studies or in the presence of social interaction. My research interest is to develop and apply novel methods to evaluate causal effects in such complex settings."

We're looking forward to working with our new colleague.

Alumnus and Benefactor Honored

Dr. Lynn Lin, (PhD 1975) has been recognized by the University as an Alumnus of Notable Achievement, and will be honored at a CLA dinner on March 26. The College’s nomination form summarizes his professional achievements. Dr Lin was raised in Taiwan in humble circumstances, but excelled at school and university there, before making his way to Minnesota for his PhD. From his earliest days, Dr. Lin was dedicated to statistical solutions for real-world problems. He worked at Pillsbury and Booz, Allen Hamilton before branching out on his own. He is perhaps best-known for BASES, the new-product sales forecasting methodology he invented, and which now has an 85% market share.

Dr. Lin is also focused on giving back. He is a regular speaker at educational events for quantitative professionals. The School has benefited from his subvention of the summer internships that have exposed so many of our graduate students to the uses and applications of statistics in the real world. The School is proud of its role in the life of this innovator and benefactor, and of his well-deserved recognition.

Undergraduate Program Featured

A recent article in Amstat News highlights the School's rapidly-expanding undergraduate program. The interview with Dennis Cook adds background on the School's teaching philosophy and the reasons for its success. Read the full article at

School of Statistics Junior Taylor Aldridge wins at iGEM Competition

From October 30 to November 3, Taylor Aldridge, a junior majoring in Statistics, competed in an iGEM competition in Boston, MA and won the Environment track, as well as qualifying for Gold. Aldridge has been working with the University of Minnesota's iGEM team since May 2014 on a project that combined biology, engineering, and human practices to remove harmful methyl mercury from Minnesota waters.

Link to full article here.

School of Statistics Faculty Member Wins Coveted CAREER Award from NSF

Assistant Professor Adam Rothman of the School of Statistics has just learned of his CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. These awards are made to young faculty members judged to be exceptionally promising, and support their research in their early years on the faculty. The award recognizes Adam’s work in the analysis of high-dimensional data sets – those where each individual in the sample provides a large number of measurements. Data sets of this sort are increasingly common, and new techniques for extracting useful information from the deluge of numbers are vital. Most current methods involve selection, resting on assumption that the relevant features of the data set are a small fraction of those that are possible. Adam’s work recognizes that this assumption is not always tenable and that the alternative “shrinkage” methods that are the focus of his research may be better for some high-dimensional data sets.

The award starts in summer 2015, and will run for five years.

Stat Student Featured in U Newsletter

Grad student Lindsey Dietz is featured in a recent Graduate and Professional Student Spotlight, published by the U’s Graduate School in their biweekly e-newsletter. Read her story here.

Eaton festschrift

The recent IMS collection edited by School professors Galin Jones and Xiaotong Shen honors emeritus professor Morris L. (Joe) Eaton. The book includes a sketch of some of Joe’s many contributions to both the profession and the School.

Recognize anyone?

Fifty winners of prestigious awards from the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies discuss statistics’ past and present, and stick their necks out on its future in this forthcoming Chapman and Hall book. One of them is from the School of Statistics….

ALR Fourth Edition

The fourth edition of Sandy Weisberg’s text Applied Linear Regression has come out. The text builds on the School’s research and expertise in regression modeling and diagnostics. The companion monograph shows “how to do all this in R.”

Cook’s Distance Anyone?

Sue Beseler, who teaches AP statistics at the Cochrane Fountain City High School in Fountain City WI, liked the look of the School of Statistics tee shirts, and thought her students would be proud to wear them. So we donated a shirt to each of these aspiring statisticians, and here they are, using them as props for their statistical know-how. We hope they will continue to plot and regress as they finish up high school, and that we will be seeing some of them in our degree program.

“Statistics is Sexy”

By now, we have probably all heard that in 2009 Google’s chief economist Hal Varian described statistics as “the sexy job of the next ten years.” (If you haven’t, see the tab “Are you thinking about a statistics major?”)

On November 16, the normally staid Wall Street Journal had an article entitled “Odds Lot: Statisticians Party Like It's 2.013 x 10 Cubed” reflecting the broadening realization of the sexiness of our field, and quoting a number of our colleagues

The recent movie “Moneyball” and books “The Black Swan” and “Freakonomics” are more signs of this popular groundswell.

So while we will likely continue to get the groan “Statistics? That was my worst nightmare in college” from people we meet who ask what we do for a living, we can now bask in more glory than we would have had had ten years ago. For the pictorially minded, the WSJ article also includes some fun youtube links:

Stats can be cool, you see

My statistician friend

A day without statistics

Why statistics matters

Are you thinking about a statistics major?

News Archive

Upcoming Events

    • Student Seminar: Lu Zhou
    • 03/03/2015 10:00 AM
    • Location: 300 Ford Hall Quantifying Mutual Information between Changes in Option Price and Underlying Equity Price
    • Spring Seminar Series: Marc Suchard
    • 03/05/2015 3:30 PM
    • Location: 115 Ford Hall Sex, lies and self-reported counts: general birth-death processes to model self-reported count of sexual behavior