October 22, 2015, 11:54AM

Stephen Fienberg has been selected to give the R.A. Fisher Lecture at the 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings in North America. The R.A. Fisher Lectureship was established in 1963 by COPSS to honor both the contributions of Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher and the work of a present-day statistician for their advancement of statistical theory and applications. The Fisher Lectureship is a very high recognition of meritorious achievement and scholarship in statistical science and recognizes highly significant impact of statistical methods on scientific investigations. COPSS has required that the Lectureship be awarded each year and that when possible the lecture be presented each year at the Joint Annual Meeting of Societies. The lecturer shall be selected by the COPSS R. A. Fisher Lecture and Award Committee which is chosen to reflect the interests of the member Societies. Fienberg is the Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences.

October 22, 2015, 11:06AM

The federal Brain Initiative aims to revolutionize understanding of the human brain through development of innovative technologies. The new data being generated pose new challenges for statistical and machine learning methods. Rob Kass chaired a working group of the American Statistical Association (http://www.amstat.org/policy/pdfs/StatisticsBRAIN_April2014.pdf) that articulated these challenges. Together with Emery Brown (MIT and Harvard Medical School), he was interviewed for Chance magazine. Kass and Brown’s book Analysis of Neural Data (http://www.springer.com/statistics/life+sciences,+medicine+%26+health/book/978-1-4614-9601-4) was published last year.

October 20, 2015, 12:00AM

On Tuesday, October 20, Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Statistics celebrated World Statistics Day with a pizza party for faculty, staff and students. Guests were encouraged to share statistics-themed desserts, with prizes for the tastiest treats and the most clever statistics puns. Entries included a cake decorated with a scatter plot, “model-based coconut clusters,” “Tukey lime pie” and “chai squares”—chai-spiced bar cookies named for the chi-squared distribution. The coconut clusters and chai squares tied for first place.

The contest has roots in the department’s holiday parties, where dessert competitions figure prominently. Justin Hyun, a Ph.D. student in statistics, won the previous contest with M & M’s candies hidden in yogurt parfaits. The dessert concept was a nod to the hidden Markov model (HMM for short.)

“Data is everywhere. As a mathematics major before coming to CMU, I appreciate the real world application of math in data analysis and statistics,” Hyun said.

Sponsored by the Statistics Division of the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs, World Statistics Day offers an opportunity for...

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October 6, 2015, 12:00AM

For the third time, the Master of Science in Computational Finance (MSCF) program at Carnegie Mellon University was awarded the top position in the 2015 QuantNet rankings of financial engineering programs.

Recognized as the most comprehensive ranking of master’s programs in financial engineering and mathematical finance in North America, QuantNet’s methodology includes a survey of hiring managers, corporate recruiters and professionals from financial institutions.

“Earning the top ranking for the past three polls is a testament to the strength of the MSCF network,” said Rick Bryant, executive director of the MSCF program. “Our faculty, administrators and alumni never stop working for our students and this program.”

This year, 30 master’s programs in North America were surveyed on admissions, placements and career services information. The rankings were based on a weighted average of employer surveys, placement success and student selectivity.

“We work hard to attract bright and highly motivated students who can meet the demands of the increasingly quantitative and computational financial markets,” said Bryant. “Our commitment to...

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