Department of Statistics Unitmark
Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
September 14, 2015, 4:36PM

Eleven years ago, Carnegie Mellon University received a multimillion-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to train the next generation of education research leaders. The award established the Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research (PIER), which implements a scientifically based and rigorous Ph.D. curriculum across several departments, including Psychology, Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction (HCII), Philosophy and Statistics.

Based on PIER’s impressive track record, with respect to training students both in their core disciplines as well as in education research, the DOE’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has funded CMU’s program for the third time with a grant of $3.67 million.

“Carnegie Mellon is among just a handful of universities whose training grants have been funded continuously...

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September 4, 2015, 4:40PM

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed Carnegie Mellon’s Sam Ventura.

He’s not a play-making forward, a hard-hitting defenseman or a lightning quick goaltender, but the 27-year-old junior faculty member in the Statistics Department is hoping to make a big impact nonetheless.

Ventura is among the growing breed of statistical analysts in professional sports, an industry proliferated by Moneyball, the book and subsequent movie about the Oakland Athletics’ reliance on data analytics to build a successful baseball team. Last year, Karim Kassam, a former CMU professor of social and decision sciences, joined the Pittsburgh Steelers as their analytics and research coordinator.

“In any field, if you can objectively back up your decision with data, you’re doing yourself a favor,” said Ventura, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and Ph.D. in statistics at CMU.

A Pittsburgh native and lifelong hockey player and enthusiast, Ventura’s appointment as a consultant with the Penguins stems from his senior year at CMU and Andrew Thomas, a professor who taught a class about applying statistical methods to the sporting world.


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August 14, 2015, 12:00AM

The National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) has announced that Carnegie Mellon University’s Stephen E. Fienberg is the recipient of the 2015 Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research.

NISS, which is dedicated to strengthening and serving the national statistics community, established the award to honor Sacks as its founding director. It recognizes sustained, high-quality cross-disciplinary research involving the statistical sciences.

Nell Sedransk, acting director of NISS, revealed Fienberg as the winner during a reception at this week’s Joint Statistical Meetings in Seattle, Washington. Sedransk said Fienberg was selected “for a remarkable career devoted to the development and application of statistical methodology to solve problems for the...

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March 20, 2015, 12:00AM

Oh, play me some mountain music, like grandma and grandpa used to play.

Maybe you know that line from Alabama’s number one hit “Mountain Music.” What you may not know is Brian Junker, associate dean of CMU’s Dietrich College, has been granting that request weekly at the Schenley Park Visitor’s Center.
Junker, who has played guitar off and on since he was a teenager, took up the banjo eight years ago after becoming perplexed during a performance by local songwriter Emily Pinkerton.

“I couldn’t figure out how the motions that her hand was making corresponded to the number of notes coming out of the instrument,” he said.

He later learned it’s a banjo-playing style known as clawhammer, in which the hand assumes a claw-like shape and the thumb and middle or index finger strum the strings downward with the back of the fingernail.

Pinkerton let him borrow her banjo for a few weeks to give it a try. He enjoyed playing it so much that he bought one for himself.

Known to bring square dancers and cloggers to their feet for some pretty quick stepping, “old-time” or “mountain” music has a distinct and rhythmic sound that...

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February 24, 2015, 12:00AM

It looks like Google Chief Economist Hal Varian’s 2009 prediction that “the sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians” was right on the money.

According to numbers released by the American Statistical Association (ASA), statistics is the most rapidly increasing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) discipline for undergraduate students, even outpacing computer and information technology-related fields.

And, Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Statistics — a global leader in applying statistics to many areas of science, technology, policy and education — is among the fastest-growing statistics departments.

“The Statistics Department — and indeed Carnegie Mellon as a whole — exhibits an ethos that values and benefits from true interdisciplinary work,” said Christopher R. Genovese, head of the Statistics Department in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “Our undergraduate curriculum builds on this by offering authentic engagement with interdisciplinary problems and extensive experience with the analysis of real data. (We have no “textbook” datasets after the introductory courses.) I think...

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September 6, 2012, 2:19PM

Sonia Siok (SDS & Stat, Dec 2012) has been named an Andrew Carnegie Society Scholar for 2012-2013. ACS Scholars "embody Carnegie Mellon's high standards of academic excellence, volunteerism, leadership, involvement in student organizations, athletics or the arts."

Meg Hayes (IS & Stat, 2011; MS in IS, Dec 2012) has been chosen for this year's Student Service Award by the Carnegie Mellon Alumni Association and will be honored at Ceilidh Weekend in October.

September 6, 2012, 2:17PM

The ASA President's recent AMSTAT NEWS column was devoted to the rise of undergraduate programs in Statistics.
Our program was chosen as one to watch!


Our undergraduate program was further highlighted in a feature article focusing on maintaining high academic quality in an active, fun research environment.


August 2, 2012, 12:00AM

"Principles of Uncertainty," written by Carnegie Mellon University's Joseph B. (Jay) Kadane, has won the International Society for Bayesian Analysis' coveted DeGroot Prize.

The prize, awarded every two years to honor an outstanding statistical science book, was established to recognize Morris H. (Morrie) DeGroot, the founding head of Carnegie Mellon's Department of Statistics and renowned author of statistics and decision theory books.

"Jay Kadane's book, 'Principles of Uncertainty,' carries out two fundamental dimensions of Jay's career in statistics: the subjective Bayesian foundations of the field of statistics and the critical importance that statistical thinking and methods must play in a wide range of application areas," said John Lehoczky, dean of the Dietrich...

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August 1, 2012, 12:00AM

More than 1,500 high-school students from about 70 countries presented projects to judges from a variety of disciplines during the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 13–18.

The American Statistical Association sponsors special awards for the best use of statistics. The ASA Pittsburgh Chapter hosted a large team of local statisticians, who reviewed the statistical content and merit of all the presented projects.

During the first day of review, the judges narrowed the field to around 50 projects that showed a sophisticated level of statistical analysis. Of those, 15 were selected for final interviews the following day with multiple teams of judges. The judges eventually selected three winners and four honorable mentions. In general, the judges were impressed with the quality and variety of the students’ research, as well as their poise and intellectual maturity during the interview process.

The first-place award of $1,500 went to Shreya Mathur, 15, from Oxford High School in Oxford, Mississippi, for “Developing a Novel...

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May 9, 2012, 12:00AM
  • Best Oral Presentation of a Honors Thesis:
    "Incorporating Flexibility into the Normalized Cut Image Segmentation Algorithm"
    Yi Xiang Chong
    Advisor: Rebecca Nugent
  • 1st place poster:
    Anti-Piracy Laws and Box Office Sales: A Case Study in France
    Brandon Ngiam, Carl Sturges, Anna Svirsko
    Advisor: Bill Eddy
  • 2nd place poster:
    Reducing Costs for the Port Authority
    Mike Pane, Nick Rock, George Volinchenko
    Advisor: Bill Eddy
  • 3rd place poster:
    Analysis of Pittsburgh Bus Schedule and Data
    Shirui Hu, Eliot Knudsen, I-Ta Yang
    Advisor: Bill Eddy
  • Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order):

    Analysis of Film Distributor's iTunes Promotion
    Liz Lorenzi, Joon Su Min, Laura Patzer
    Advisor: Bill Eddy

    Census on Parking Meters at Carnegie Mellon University
    Nancy Geronian, Jung Moon Jang, Jeff Lee, Kaylee Makel, Victor Wilczynski
    Advisor: Brian Junker

    Internet Piracy at CMU: Student Behavior & Opinions
    Cam Bogie, Ben Gorman, Chelsea Grindle, Jongwoo Lee, George Nardi, George Volinchenko
    Advisor: Brian Junker