Stephen E. Fienberg

Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Science
       in the Department of Statistics, the Machine Learning Department, Cylab, and i-Lab
      Carnegie Mellon University

mailing address:  132G Baker Hall
                             Department of Statistics
                             Carnegie Mellon University
                             Pittsburgh, PA 15213

tel:  (412) 268-2723
fax: (412) 268-7828



Ph.D. (Statistics) Harvard University, 1968
A.M. (Statistics) Harvard University, 1965
B.Sc. (Mathematics and Statistics) University of Toronto, 1964

Selected Professional Activities:

Institute of Mathematical Statistics: President, 1998-1999; Past President, 1999-2000.

Editor of the Annals of Applied Statistics for Social Science, Government and Economics, 2006-.
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Co-Founder of Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality, 2006-.

International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences,  Co-editor Section for Statistics, published November 2001.
       (For a list of authors and their entries in the encyclopedia see . Click on Authors in left hand panel.)

International Society for Bayesian Analysis, President 1996-1997; Past-President, 1998.
    Chair, Selection Committee for the DeGroot Prize,  2001-2004.

Co-chair National Academy of Sciences,  Report Review Committee, 2008-2012.

Thorsten Sellin Fellow of the  American Academy of Political and Social Science, 2004.

Elected member of The National Academy of Sciences

Elected fellow of Royal Society of Canada.

Elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Statistical Association, Institute of Mathematical Statistics.

Current Class

Recent Classes

Statistics 36-149: "Freshman Seminar: Taking the U.S. Census in 2010"

Current Research Interests:

Analysis of categorical data; Bayesian approaches to confidentiality and data disclosure; causation; foundations of statistical inference; history of statistics; sample surveys and randomized experiments; statistics and the law; inference for multiple-media data.

My principal research interests lie in the development of statistical methodology, especially for problems involving categorical variables. Initially, I worked on the general statistical theory of loglinear models for categorical data, and I applied the theory to various problems that could be represented in the form of multidimensional contingency tables.   More recently, I have studied approaches appropriate for disclosure limitation in multidimensional tables and their relationship with results on bounds for table entries given a set of marginals (for selected publications on this topic see Disclosure Limitation Papers, as well as the webpage for the  NISS Digital Government Project  on this topic),  estimating the size of populations (especially in the context of census taking),  and Bayesian approaches to the analysis of contingency tables.  My research on disclosure limitation for categorical data, and on privacy and confidentiality more generally, has led to the creation of the online journal, The Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality, which has published its first issues.

For some interesting historical material on the model for quasi-symmetry and the work of Henri Caussinus, see  Project QS,and the  special issue of  Annales de la Faculté des Sciences de l'Université de Toulouse Mathématique in honor of Caussinus dated 2002.

For several years now, I have also worked on the development of statistical methods for large-scale sample surveys such as those carried out by the federal government. This work (much of which has been in collaboration with Judith Tanur) has included the study of nonsampling errors, the use of surveys to adjust census results for differential undercount, cognitive aspects of the design of survey questionnaires, statistical analysis of data from longitudinal surveys, and formal parallels in the design and analysis of sample surveys and randomized experiments. My recent book with Margo Anderson, Who Counts?  (which has now appeared in a revised paper back edition), chronicles the story of the the 1990 decennial census  and efforts to use sample to adjust census results for differential undercount.  My work on confidentiality and disclosure limitation ties both to surveys and censuses and also to categorical data analysis (again see the webpage for the   NISS Digital Government Project  on this topic as well as some of the selected papers below), and also addresses public concerns about privacy.  For a July 2001 news story on the topic of privacy in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, click here.

In  the analysis of data from longitudinal studies of disability, such as the National Long Term Care Survey, a number of authors have used novel statistical methodology based on what has come to be known as the Grade of Membership (GoM) model.   Working with students and colleagues, I have been exploring the GoM model, its estimation, and comparisons between it and other categorical data models.  We have also begun to look at confidentiality issues arising in the context of the NLTCS.    Some of our work is available on a separate webpage:  NLTCS, the GoM Model, and Confidentiality.

I have also been active in the application of statistical methods to legal problems and in assessing the appropriateness of statistical testimony in actual legal cases, and I have linked my interests in Bayesian decisionmaking to the issues of legal decisionmaking.  For information on the NAS Sackler Symposium on Forensic Science, held November 16-18, 2005, click here.

See also the following little piece in the Pittsburgh Tribune.

Of related interest is the report of the NAS-NRC Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph, which was released on Octber 8, 2002 (for further details see below).

My work on statistical methods for multiple-media data  (including data in the form of pictures, images, video, sound, symbols, and text.) is part of a larger research effort that is taking place in Carnegie Mellon's Maching Learning Department.

Some Related Publications

Selected Books:

Bishop, Y.M. M., Fienberg, S.E. and Holland, P.W. (1975). Discrete Multivariate Analysis: Theory and Practice. M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, MA. Paperback edition (1977). A Citation Classic.   Reprinted, by Springer-Verlag, New York (2007).
     New Printing

Fienberg, S.E. (1980). The Analysis of Cross-classified Categorical Data. 2nd Edition. M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, MA. A Citation Classic.   Reprinted, by Springer-Verlag, New York (2007).
Book Jacket from 2nd Edition    New Printing

DeGroot, M.H., Fienberg, S.E., and Kadane, J.B., eds. (1986). Statistics and the Law. Wiley, New York.  Wiley Classics Paperback edition (1994).

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Fienberg, S.E., ed. (1989). The Evolving Role of Statistical Assessments as Evidence in the Courts. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Fienberg, S.E., Hoaglin, D.C., Kruskal, W.H., and Tanur, J.M., eds. (1990). A Statistical Model: Frederick Mosteller's Contributions to Statistics, Science, and Public Policy. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Meyer, M.M. and Fienberg, S.E., Editors  (1992).  Assessing Evaluation Studies: The Case of  Bilingual Strategies. Panel to Review Evaluation Studies of Bilingual Education. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

Devlin, B., Fienberg, S.E., Resnick, D.P., and Roeder, K., eds. (1997). Intelligence, Genes, & Success: Scientist Respond to The Bell Curve. Copernicus (Springer-Verlag) New York.

     For further details on this book, click: INTELLIGENCE, GENES AND SUCCESS, and for a table of contents, click here.

Anderson, M. and Fienberg, S.E. (1999). Who Counts?  The Politics of Census-Taking in Contemporary America,  Russell Sage Foundation , New York. Revised paperback edition (2001).

For further details on this book, click here: WHO COUNTS?

Foster, A.W., Mitchell, F., and Fienberg, S.E., Editors (2002). Measuring Housing Discrimination in a National Study: Report of a Workshop. National Academy Press.

To see an online version, click here.

Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph  (2003).   The Polygraph and Lie Detection. National Academy Press.

      For further details on this book, click here:

For  selected news coverage of the release of the Polygraph Report see:   Click here.

For the Department of Energy's April 2003 Response to the report and proposed policy see:


For information on the September 4, 2003 Senate committee oversight hearing on the DoE polgraph program, including my testimony, see:




See also:
Faigman, David L.,  Fienberg, Stephen E., and Stern,  Paul C. (2003). "The Limits of the Polygraph."  Issues in Science and Technology.  Available in online version.

Fienberg, Stephen E. and Stern,  Paul C. (2005). "In Search of the Magic Lasso: The Truth About the Polygraph."  Statistical Science, 20, 249-260Click here.

Fienberg, Stephen E. (2005). "To Tell the Truth: On the Probative Value of Polygraph Search Evidence."  Jurimetrics,  46, 107–116.

Panel on Methods for Assessing Discrimination,  Rebecca M. Blank, Marilyn Dabady, and Constance F. Citro, Editors,   (2003).  Measuring Racial Discrimination.  National Academy Press.
 For further details, click here.

Committee on the Review of the National Immunization Program's Research Procedures and Data Sharing Program (2005). Vaccine Safety Research, Data Access, and Public Trust.  National Academy Press. 

Cover Image
  For further details, click here.

Fienberg, Stephen E.; Hoaglin, David C., eds. (2006).  Selected Papers of Frederick Mosteller.  Springer-Verlag, New York.

Selected Papeprs

Airoldi, Edoardo M., Blei, David M.,  Fienberg, Stephen E.,  Goldenberg, Anna, Xing, Eric, and Zheng, Alice (eds.) (2007)  Statistical Network Analysis: Models, Issues, and New Directions: ICML 2006 Workshop on Statistical Network Analysis, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, June 29, 2006,  Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 4503, Springer-Verlag.

Committee on Technical and Privacy Dimensions of Information for Terrorism Prevention and Other National Goals (2008).  Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists:  A Framework for Program Assessment. National Academies Press.

     Cover artwork

Fienberg, Stephen E. , Hoaglin, David C., and Tanur, Judith M. M., eds. (2010). The Pleasures of Statistics: The Autobiography of Frederick Mosteller.  Springer, New York.

Selected Recent Papers:

Fienberg, S.E.  (2000).  "Contingency tables and log-linear models: Basic results and new developments."  Journal of the American Statistical Association,95, 643-647.

Anderson, M., Daponte, B.O., Fienberg, S.E., Kadane, J.B.,  Spencer, B.D., Steffey, D.   (2000).  "Sample-based adjustment of the 2000 census--A balanced perspective," Jurimetrics40 , 341-356.

Dobra, A. and Fienberg, S.E. (2000).  "Bounds for cell entries in contingency tables given marginal totals and decomposable graphs," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97, No. 22, 11885-11892.  For a pdf version of this paper, click here.

Duncan, G.T.,  Fienberg, S.E.,  Krishnan,  R.,Padman, R.  and Roehrig, S.F. (2001). "Disclosure Limitation Methods and Information Loss  for Tabular Data."  In Confidentiality, Disclosure and Data Access:  Theory and Practical Applications for  Statistical Agencies.  (P. Doyle, J. Lane, J. Theeuwes, and L. Zayatz, eds.), Elsevier, 135--166.  Prepublication version available  from .

Goldenberg, A., Shmueli, G., Caruana, R. & Fienberg, S.E. (2002). Early statistical  detection of anthrax outbreaks by tracking over-the-counter medication sales.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 99, 5237 - 5240. For a pdf version of this paper, click here.
Erosheva, Elena A., Fienberg, Stephen E., and Junker, Brian W. (2002). "Alternative statistical models and representations for large sparse multi-dimensional contingency tables." Ann. Fac. Sci. Toulouse Math. (6) 11, no. 4, 485-505. For a copy click here.

Erosheva, Elena A., Fienberg, Stephen E., and Lafferty, John  (2004).  "Mixed-membership models of scientific publications," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97, No. 22, 11885-11892.  For a pdf version of this paper, click here.

Fienberg, Stephen E. and Slavkovic, Aleksandra B. (2005). Preserving the Confidentiality of Categorical Data Bases When Releasing Information for Association Rules."  Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, 11, 155-180. For a pdf version of this paper,  click here.

Fienberg, Stephen E. (2006). "When Did Baysian Inference Become "Bayesian"?"  Bayesian Analysis, 1, 1-40. For a pdf version of this paper, click here.

    For a related annotated bibliography, see:
    Fienberg, Stephen E. (2005). A “Bayesian Classics” Reading List. ISBA Bulletin, 12(3), September 2005, 9-14.
    For a pdf version,  click here.

Airoldi, Edoardo M., Anderson, Analise G., Fienberg, Stephen E., and Skinner Kiron K. (2006).  "Who Wrote Ronald Reagan's Radio Addresses?," Bayesian Analysis, 1, 289-320. For a pdf version,  click here.
    For a related article, see: Edoardo M. Airoldi, Stephen E. Fienberg, and Kiron K. Skinner (2007). "Whose Ideas?
    Whose Words? Authorship of the Ronald Reagan Radio Addresses."  PS: Political Science & Politics
      Volume 40, Issue 03, (July), 501-506.

Fienberg, Stephen E. (2006). Privacy and Confidentiality in an e-Commerce World: Data Mining, Data Warehousing, Matching and Disclosure Limitation..  Statistical Science, 21,  143-154. For a pdf version,  click here.

Araneda, Anita,  Fienberg, Stephen E.  and  Soto, Alvaro (2007).  "A statistical approach to simultaneous mapping and localization for mobile robots," Annals of Applied Statistics, 1, No. 1, 66-84.

Fienberg, Stephen E., Stigler, Stephen M. and Tanur,  Judith M. "The William Kruskal Legacy: 1919–2005," Statistical Science,  22, No. 2,  255-261.

           Fienberg, Stephen E. (2007). "William Kruskal: My Scholarly and Scientific Model, " 22, No. 2, 266–268.
            For other comments by N.M. Bradburn, M.L. Eaton, L.A. Goodman, M.E. Martin,  S.M.  Stigler, and J.M. Tanur, see

Fienberg, Stephen E. (2007). "Editorial -- Expanding the statistical toolkit with algebraic statistics."  Statistica Sinica, 17(4), 1261-1272.

Erosheva, Elena A.,  Fienberg, Stephen E., and Joutard, Cyrille (2007). "Describing disability through individual-level mixture models for multivariate binary data," Annals of Applied Statistics,  1, No. 2,  502-537.

Fienberg, Stephen E. and Kim, Sung-Ho (2007). "Positive association among three binary variables and cross-product ratios,"  Biometrika,  94,  999-1005.

Fienberg, Stephen E. (2008). "The Early Statistical Years: 1947–1967. A conversation with Howard Raiffa,"  Statistical Science, 23, No. 1, 136-149.

Jackson, L. Fraser,  Gray, Alistair G., and Fienberg, Stephen E.  (2008). "Sequential category aggregation and partitioning approaches for multi-way contingency tables based on survey and census data," Annals of Applied Statistics, 2, No. 3, 955-981.

Airoldi, Edoardo M., Blei, David M., Fienberg, Stephen E., and Xing, Eric P. (2008). "Mixed membership stochastic blockmodels," Journal of Machine Learning Research,  9(Sep), 1981--2014.

Last updated: 1/11/10.