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Press Release

Jonathan Potts

For immediate release:
July 13, 2004

Carnegie Mellon Names Schervish Head of Department of Statistics

PITTSBURGH — Carnegie Mellon University Statistics Professor Mark J. Schervish has become the new head of the university's Department of Statistics effective July 1.

Schervish, who has been at Carnegie Mellon since 1979, earned a doctoral degree in statistics from the University of Illinois; a master's degree in applied mathematics from the University of Michigan; and a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Michigan State University. He is the author of "Theory of Statistics" and the co-author of "Rethinking the Foundations of Statistics" and "Probability and Statistics." His research focuses on foundations of inference, spatial statistics and applications of statistics to the environment, engineering and finance. True to the Statistics Department's interdisciplinary approach, Schervish's research has included collaborations with roboticists on developing methods for robots to detect landmines and with civil engineers in determining the distribution and effects of contaminants in drinking water.

"I have always been proud to be part of this department, and I look forward to contributing at a new level to one of the premier statistics departments in the world," Schervish said.

Schervish succeeds Statistics Professor Rob Kass, who has led the department since 1995. Kass spearheaded several major initiatives, including a series of Bayesian statistics workshops that have cemented the university's reputation as a pioneer and leader in Bayesian statistics, and a program, supported by the National Science Foundation, to train students and post-doctoral fellows to conduct the type of multi-disciplinary research that makes Carnegie Mellon's Statistics Department distinctive. During Kass's tenure as department head, the department expanded its impact on Carnegie Mellon's research strengths, including cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology and brain imaging; statistical genetics and proteomics; astrophysics; data mining and cybersecurity; and computational finance.

"Mark Schervish is a perfect choice to lead this outstanding department. He is a superb theoretician who has also made important contributions to applied research problems involving the environment, robotics, semiconductor fabrication and finance," said John Lehoczky, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon and the Thomas Lord Professor of Statistics.

"He is also a dedicated educator who is highly effective teaching undergraduate courses or Ph.D. seminars, and he will continue the emphasis the department has put on developing an innovative and effective undergraduate curriculum."

The Department of Statistics is one of eight departments in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the second-largest academic unit at Carnegie Mellon. The college emphasizes interdisciplinary study in a technologically rich environment, with an open and forward-thinking stance toward the arts and sciences.


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