Robert E. (Rob) Kass received his Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Chicago in 1980. His early work formed the basis for his book Geometrical Foundations of Asymptotic Inference, co-authored with Paul Vos. His subsequent research has been in Bayesian inference and, beginning in 2000, in the application of statistics to neuroscience. Kass is known not only for his methodological contributions, but also for several major review articles, including one with Adrian Raftery on Bayes factors (Journal of American Statistical Association, 1995) one with Larry Wasserman on prior distributions (Journal of American Statistical Association, 1996), and a pair with Emery Brown on statistics in neuroscience (Nature Neuroscience, 2004, also with Partha Mitra; Journal of Neurophysiology, 2005, also with Valerie Ventura). His book Analysis of Neural Data, with Emery Brown and Uri Eden, was published in 2014.


Kass has served as Chair of the Section for Bayesian Statistical Science of the American Statistical Association, Chair of the Statistics Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal Bayesian Analysis, and Executive Editor (editor-in-chief) of the international review journal Statistical Science. He is an elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been recognized by the Institute for Scientific Information as one of the 10 most highly cited researchers, 1995-2005, in the category of mathematics (ranked #4). In 2013 he received the Outstanding Statistical Application Award from the American Statistical Association for his 2011 paper in the Annals of Applied Statistics with Ryan Kelly and Wei-Liem Loh. With various co-authors, Kass has also written on statistics education and the use of statistics, including the short article Ten Simple Rules for Effective Statistical Practice, which received more than 100,000 views during the first 10 weeks after it was published. In 1991 he began the series of eight international workshops Case Studies in Bayesian Statistics, which were held every two years at Carnegie Mellon, and was co-editor of the six proceedings volumes that were published by Springer. He also founded and has co-organized the international workshop series Statistical Analysis of Neuronal Data, which began in 2002; the eighth iteration took place in the Spring of 2017.


Kass received the 2017 R.A. Fisher Award and Lectureship from the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies. The lecture may be found here (starting at 25:15 in the video) and a shorter version, edited to remove most of the technical material, may be found here with the corresponding CMU press release summary here.


Kass has been been on the faculty of the Department of Statistics at Carnegie Mellon since 1981; he joined the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC, run jointly by CMU and the University of Pittsburgh) in 1997, and the Machine Learning Department (in the School of Computer Science) in 2007. He served as Department Head of Statistics from 1995 to 2004 and was appointed Interim Co-Director of the CNBC (CMU-side director) in 2015. He became the Maurice Falk Professor of Statistics and Computational Neuroscience in 2016 (see announcement here ).


Kass has provided a brief summary of his work in 5 sentences and 4 questions. Some additional detail on Kass's research may be obtained from his NIH bio.

More than 80% of Kass's neuroscience publications have involved spike trains. That work is summarized here.