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Statistics
 

History of the Department

The Department of Statistics at Rice University was founded in 1987 within the School of Social Science. In 1990, the Department transitioned to the School of Engineering rejoining the computational engineering faculty at Rice.  In 1996 we moved from Herman Brown to the new computational engineering building, Duncan Hall, where we still reside today. In its initial stages, the Department of Statistics consisted of four core faculty, seven joint faculty and eight adjunct faculty with a graduate student body of fifteen students. The department has grown to a core faculty of ten, ten joint faculty and eighteen adjunct faculty with a Ph.D. student body of forty-five students and an undergraduate program that graduates five students per year.   

The founding chair of the Department of Statistics was Dr. James R. Thompson and the first faculty members consisted of David Scott and Sean Chiu. David Scott served as the second chair of the new department. The initial joint members of the department were Joe Austin, Bill Brown, Robin Sickles, David Lane, Rick Wilson and John Brelsford. Throughout the history of the department, our joint members have brought significant efforts in research as well as education to help fulfill the mission of the department. Also of key importance in these early stages were the contributions of our adjunct faculty. The initial adjunct faculty consisted of the Neely Atkinson, Barry Brown, Stuart Zimmerman, Howard Thames, Allen White of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Tom Downs and Ralph Frankowski of the University of Texas School of Public Health. Diane Brown served the department as its departmental coordinator since the department began until she retired in 2005. The department grew out of almost two decades of research and educational activities in statistics at Rice, a firm basis on which our strong department now stands.

Katherine B. Ensor, the fifth chair of the department, was the first hire of this new and dynamic department. Marek Kimmel joined the department three years into its inception and Dennis Cox joined two years later.   Marek Kimmel served as the department's fourth chair. During those early years, we were fortunate to have visitors Matt Wand,
Jacek Koranacki and Jack Tubbs as long-term visitors to our department.   During Dr. Ensors tenure as chair,  the core faculty expanded to include Rudy Guerra, Peter Olofsson, Rudolf Riedi, Javier Rojo, Janet Seifert and Marina Vannucci.  Drs. Olofsson and Rojo have left are currently chairs at Trinity University and Nevada-Reno.  Since 2012, we have three new Assistant Professors:  Genevera Allen (Stanford), Michael Schweinberger (Groningen), and Philip Ernst (Wharton).  David Scott returned to be the sixth chair in 2013, and Marina Vannucci will be the seventh chair, starting in 2014.  

Group on StairsThe primary research areas of the Department include nonparametric function estimation, stochastic processes including branching processes, time series and spatial-temporal processes, survival analysis, computational statistics and Bayesian methods. Our current key application areas include bioinformatics and statistical genetics, biostatistics, bio-imaging, computational finance, environmental statistics and homeland defense.  

As the department has grown so have the opportunities to expand as well as focus our graduate student offerings. In 2000, the Department of Statistics launched its subprogram in bioinformatics as well as its joint Ph.D. program with the University of Texas M. D. Anderson in biostatistics. The Department co-founded the interdisciplinary Center for Computational Finance and Economic Systems in 2002 and is working with this center to create a focus area in computational finance for our Ph.D. students.   

Throughout the history of the Department of Statistics, our Monday lunches with faculty, visitors, graduate students and occasionally undergraduates have helped to build our community and foster close collaborative relationships between faculty and students. These weekly lunches have been possible due to the generous gifts of a few key supporters of the department. The support received from our benefactors has also helped with maintaining top computing for our statistics students and faculty as well as provide travel support for students to pertinent conferences. A warm thank you to each of our benefactors! 

Contributors to the Department of Statistics   
 

  • Marian and Speros Martel Foundation, Inc.   
  • Edward M. and Gertrude W. Swartz Charitable Trust   
  • IMSL, Inc. currently Visual Numerics, Inc. (VNI)   
  • Baker Oil Tools   
  • Continental Airlines   
  • Pros Strategic Solutions, Inc.   

Past Chairs of the Department of Statistics    

  • 2014 -             Marina Vannucci  
  • 2013 - 2014 David W. Scott    
  • 1999 - 2013  Katherine Bennett Ensor    
  • 1996 - 1999  Marek Kimmel    
  • 1993 - 1996  James R. Thompson    
  • 1990 - 1993  David W. Scott   
  • 1987 - 1990  James R. Thompson   

Conferences and Workshops Hosted and Organized by the Department of Statistics  
   •    StatFest 2013 Outreach Conference (2013), Hosted by Javier Rojo.
       The Conference of Texas Statisticians "COTS" (2013), Hosted by Dennis Cox.
    •    Department of Statistics 25th Anniversary (2013)
          • Professor Rob Tibshirani
          • Professor Stephen M. Stigler
         
          • The 4th Eubank Conference (2013), Hosted by Katherine B. Ensor. 

    •     International Conference on Stochastic Processes in Systems Biology, Genetics and Evolution (2012),
          Hosted by Marek Kimmel.   
    •     The 43rd Symposium on the Interface: Future of Statistical Computing: Internet Scale Data, Flexible Modeling,
          and Visualization (2012), Organized by David Scott.
    •     The Third Eubank Conference (2011).
    •     The Fourth Erich L. Lehmann Symposium (2011), Organized by Javier Rojo.
    •    
World Statistics Day! Poster Session (2010).     
    •    
Second Eubank Conference: Modeling Financial Markets in a World of Fiat Money (2010), 
           Hosted by John Dobelman.
    
    •   
SRCOS Conference (2010), Co-Organized by Katherine B. Ensor.    
    •    
First Eubank Conference: Modeling Real World Markets (2008), Hosted by James Thompson.    
    •    
U.S. Army Conference of Applied Statistics (2007), Hosted by James Thompson and 
          Katherine Bennett Ensor.
    
    •    
Econometrics Seminar - "Testing for One-Factor Models versus Stochastic Volatility Models, 
          in the process of jumps" (2007), Co-Organized by Katherine B. Ensor.
    
    
•    GCC Bioinformatics Mini-Symposium (2006), Organized by Rudy Guerra.    
    •   
Stochasticity in Signaling Pathways and Gene Regulation: The NFkB Example and the 
          Principle of Stochastic Robustness (2006), Organized by Marek Kimmel.
    
    •    
Stochastic Phenomena in Gene Regulation (2005), Organized by Marek Kimmel.    
    •    
Second Erich L. Lehmann Symposium (2004), Organized by Javier Rojo.    
    •    
COFES Conference (2003).    
    •    
ASA/SRCOS Summer Research Conference (2003), Co-Organized by Rudy Guerra.    
    •   
First Erich L. Lehmann Symposium (2002), Organized by Javier Rojo.    
    •   
JSM (2000), Three  (Ensor, Rojo, Scott) of the fifteen international program officers were from Rice.    
    •   
SRCOS Conference (1999), Co-Organized by Katherine B. Ensor.    
    •   
U.S. Army Conference on Applied Statistics (2000), Hosted by James R. Thompson.    
    •   
Joint Statistical Meeting (1998), David W. Scott served as overall Program Chair.    
    •   
International Conference of Mathematical Population Dynamics (1998), 
         Marek Kimmel served as the US representative to this conference held in
Poland.    
    •   
Interface Conference (1997), Hosted by David W. Scott.    
    •   
NSF workshop on Smoothing (1997), Organized and lead by David W. Scott.    
    •   
Conference of Texas Statisticians (1996), Organized and hosted by Katherine B. Ensor.    
    •   
Fourth International Conference of Mathematical Population dynamics (1985), 
         Organized by Marek Kimmel.
    
    •   
STATS Workshop. A NSF workshop for high school and junior college teachers (1994), 
         Organized and lead by Dennis D. Cox.
    
    •   
ARO Design of Experiments Conference (1988), Organized by James R. Thompson.


Faculty Visitors to the Department of Statistics
2001-2010
  
 
 

  • Marta Iwanaszko (2013), Visiting Scholar.   
  • Joanna Jaruszewicz (2013), Visiting Scholar.  
  • Tomasz Lipniacki (2013), Visiting Scholar from the Polish Academy of Science.  
  • Marcin Pacholczyk (2013), Visiting Scholar from the Instytut Automatyki Politechnika Slaska, Gliwice, Poland.   
  • Jaroslaw Smiega (2013), Visiting Scholar from the Silesian University of Technology, Institute of Automatic Control, Gliwice Poland.  
  • Krzysztof Cyran (2012), Visiting Scholar from the Instytut Informatyki.  
  • Jacob Russ (2011), Visiting Student.  
  • Alberto Cassese (2011), Visiting Student.    
  • Francesco Stingo (2011), Visiting Post Doctoral Researcher.    
  • Gabriel Escalera (2011), Visiting Professor.    
  • Addy Bolivar (2011), Visiting Post Doctoral Researcher.    
  • Abid Malik (2011), Visiting Post Doctoral Researcher.    
  • Aleksandra Nowica (2011), Complimentary Visiting Scholar.    
  • Thomas Wojdyla (2011), Visiting Student.    
  • Marta Iwanaszko (2011), Visiting Student.    
  • Marcin Pacholczyk (2011), Visiting Assistant Faculty from the Instytut Automatyki Politechnika Slaska, Gliwice, Poland.    
  • Dan Serachitopol (2011), Visiting Senior Programmer.    
  • Ginny Li (2011), Visiting Assistant Faculty.    
  • U Jin Choi (2010), Visiting Faculty from Korea.       
  • Raul Rojos (2010), Visiting Professor from the Institut fur Informatik in Berlin, Germany.     
  • Jaroslaw Smieja (2010), Visiting Scholar from the Silesian University of Technology, Institute of Automatic Control, Gliwice Poland.    
  • Marcin Pacholczyk (2010), Visiting Assistant Faculty from the Instytut Automatyki Politechnika Slaska, Gliwice, Poland.   
  • Marta Iwanaszko (2010), Visiting Student.    
  • Elizabeth Gonzalez Estrada (2010), Visiting Scholar.    
  • Jose Villasenor (2010), Visiting Scholar.    
  • Rafal Pokrzywa (2010),Visiting Scholar.    
  • Navin Rustagi (2010-2013), Visiting Post-Doc from the University of New Mexico.  
  • Aleksandra Nowicka (2010), Complimentary Visiting Scholar.   
  • Thomas Wojdyla (2010), Visiting Student.   
  • Tomasz Lipniacki (November 2009-December 2009), Visiting Scholar from the Polish Academy of Science.     
  • Raul Rojas (2007), Visiting Professor from the Institut fur Informatik in Berlin, Germany.     
  • Jari Petteri Mannersalo (October 2005-2006), Visiting Scholar from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.    
  • Jaroslaw Smieja (June 2005-August 2005), Visiting Scholar from the Silesian University of Technology, Institute of Automatic Control, Gliwice Poland.   
  • Andrzei Polanski (June 2005-August 2005), Visiting Scholar from the Silesian University of Technology, Institute of Automatic Control, Gliwice Poland.   
  • Peter Olofsson (2005), Research Scientist, Visiting Associate Professor from Tulane University.   
  • George Terrell (2005), Visiting Associate Professor from Virginia Tech.   
  • Krzysztof Fujarewicz (April 2004-June 2004), Visiting Scholar from the Silesian University of Technology, Institute of Automatic Control, Gliwice Poland.   
  • Krzysztof Cyran (February 2003-July 2004), Visiting Scholar from the Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice Poland.   
  • Thomas Lipniacki (February  2003-June 2004), Visiting Scholar from the Polish Academy of Science.   
  • Ramon A Durazo (June 2003-July 2003), Visiting Associate Professor from Northwestern University.   
  • Jaroslaw Smieja (July 2004-July 2005), Visiting Scholar from the Silesian Technical University.   
  • Joanna Polanska (March 2002-February 2003), Visiting Scholar from the Silesian Technical University, Poland.   
  • Krzysztof Simek (September 2001-August 2002), Visiting Assistant Professor from the Silesian Technical University, Poland.   
  • Andrzej Polanski (July 2001-February 2003), Visiting Associate Professor from the Silesian Technical University, Poland.   
  • Ming-Ying Leung (July 2001-June 2002), Visiting Associate Professor from the University of Texas San Antonio. Currently Director of Bioinformatics and Professor at the University of Texas El Paso.   
  • Rhonda Moore (August 2001-December 2001), Visiting Scholar from Department of Genetic Epidemiology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.   
  • Wiener Wosniok (January 2001-June 2001), Visiting Associate Professor from the Institute for Statistics in Germany.   

 1996-2000    

  • Lori A. Thombs (July, 2000-June 2001), Visiting Associate Professor from the University of South Carolina. Presently Associate Professor of Statistics and Director of the Center for Social Statistics at the University of Missouri, Columbia.   
  • Savas Papadopoulas (June 2000), Visiting Assistant Professor from the University of Ioannina, Greece.   
  • Krzysztof Topolski (January 2000-June 2000), Visiting Assistant Professor from Wroclaw University, Poland.   
  • Adam Bobrowski (1999-2001), Visiting Lecturer from the University of Houston.   
  • Anders Mikael Anderson (July 1999-June 2000), Visiting Assistant Professor from the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control.   
  • Lisa-Anne K. Putnam (June 1999-December 1999), Visiting Scholar from Columbia University.   
  • Andrzej Swierniak (November 1999-December 1999), Visiting Scholar from the Silesian Technical University.   
  • Tae Yoon Kim (February 1998-March 2000), Visiting Scholar from Keimyung University, Korea.   
  • Giovanna Jona-Lasinio (Spring Semester 1999 and Spring Semester 1998), Visiting Associate Professor from Universita' di Roma.   
  • Changkon Hong (August 1998-July 1999), Visiting Scholar from Pusan Nation University, Korea.   
  • Ki-Dong Shin (August 1998-December 1999), Visiting Scholar from Korea.   
  • Atsuyuki Kogure (August 1996-July 1997), Visiting Professor from Chiba University, Japan.   
  • Masahiko Sagae (March 1996-February 1997), Visiting Scholar from University of Gifu.   
  • Peter W. Glynn (September 1996-December 1996), Visiting Professor from Stanford University.   
  • Isabel Llatas (October 1995-September 1997), Visiting Scholar, Universidad Sim´on, Bolivar, Venezuela.   
  • Jack Tubbs (1995-1996), Visiting Professor from the University of Arkansas.   

1991-1995    

  • George Terrell (1994-1995), Visiting Associate Professor from Virginia Polytechnical University.    
  • Remy Drouilhet (January 1994-June 1994), Visiting Lecturer from University of Pau.    
  • Madanlal T. Wasan (July 1993-July 1994), Visiting Scholar from Queen's University.    
  • Boleslaw Gawel (July 1993-December 1993), Visiting Lecturer from Silesian Technical University, Poland.    
  • Lasse Holmstrom (January 1993-December 1993), Visiting Professor from Rolf Institute in Helsinki, Finland.    
  • Matt Wand (1992-1994), Visiting Assistant Professor from Texas A&M University and Harvard University.    

Student Visitors to the Department of Statistics    

  • Premvir Jain (June 2006-December 2006), International University Bremen, Crailsheim Germany    
  • Ewa Wosik (June 2005-September 2005), Silesian University of Technology, Institute of Automatic Control, Gliwice, Poland.    
  • Marcin Pacholczyk (February 2004-April 2004), Silesian University of Technology, Institute of Automatic Control, Gliwice
    Poland.  
     
     
  • Joanna Sulkowska (January 2004-April 2004), Jagiellonian University, Law School, Poland.    
  • Jose Luis Batum (October 2002-December 2003),  Centro de Investigation en Matematicas from Batum, Mexico.    
  • Anna Marciniak (May 2003-June 2003), Silesian Technical University, Poland.    
  • Marcin Andraszyk (February 2002-March 2002), Silesian Technical University, Poland.    
  • Marcin Pacholczyk (February 2002-March 2002), Silesian Technical University, Poland.    
  • Jussi S. Klemela (December 1994), Rolf Nevanlinna Institute, Finland.    

Student Awards    

  • Ginger M. Davis (April 2004), Awarded the George R. Brown Fellowship    
  • Richard Ott (April 2004), Awarded the John & Eileen Tietze Fellowship