Daniels proheadshotWelcome to the Department of Statistics & Data Sciences—the newest department in the College of Natural Sciences. Please visit our website to get to know our faculty, thoroughly explore all of our programs, and discover the ways you can be a part of our community.

As a starter, though, let me give you a quick overview of the Department.

We have 12 core faculty members: one full-time faculty member, seven joint faculty members, and four other committed faculty members. We offer both a PhD and MS in Statistics degree, two graduate portfolio programs, and two undergraduate certificate programs. We teach over 5200 students in our 70+ courses. We serve the university community through our 800+ hours of free statistical consulting, software short courses, seminar series, Statistics in Action speaker series, and the annual Summer Statistics Institute. We have a growing research program garnering $6.3M in awarded grants in just the past two years.

In spring 2016, I received great news that The University of Texas at Austin was awarded a $1.02 million BD2K training grant from the National Institutes of Health to train a new generation of scientists in statistics, biology, and computer science in order to solve important public health problems involving big data and improve overall health. The grant will fund a new predoctoral training program in biomedical big data at UT. The goal is to develop scientists with expertise in statistics, computer science, or biology while also obtaining essential training in all three core areas (statistics, biology, and computer science). This will equip the graduates from the program to make important scientific discoveries using big data. As the program director for Biomedical Big Data Training grant, I am excited to lead the integrated training experience for our students.

I am pleased to recognize several of our faculty for a variety of accomplishments.  James Scott was awarded the 2016 International Society of Bayesian Analysis (ISBA) Bayarri Award. This award is given every two years to recognize the research contributions of a Bayesian statistician under 35 years old, and the recipient is invited to give a plenary lecture at the world meeting of ISBA. Peter Mueller was elected to be the chair of the Section on Bayesian Statistical Science (SBSS) of the American Statistical Association (ASA) [he will be chair-elect in 2016, chair in 2017, and past chair in 2018]. In August of 2016, Steven Walker was awarded a grant from NSF on New Statistically Motivated Solutions to Classical Inverse Problems.  Additionally, I was appointed to the National Academies’ Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CATS). 

Faculty are currently working on funded (by NSF, NIH, ARO, among other agencies) research projects on a variety of topics including (nonparametric) Bayesian approaches for missing data, causal inference, and assessing tumor heterogeneity using next generation sequencing data, optimizing HIV treatment monitoring under resource constraints, arbovirus surveillance and control, and statistical foundations for analyzing large collections of networks. 

We welcomed our fourth cohort of Ph.D. students this fall. We were again able to recruit top students this year from Duke University, University of Illinois, Texas A&M, and Politecnico di Milano (Italy). Students who come here find a graduate program carefully designed to offer them rigorous training in the theory, methodology, and practice of statistics, while simultaneously allowing space to explore and develop their original ideas. 

Furthermore, we continue to provide training using statistical tools and methodologies across campus through our MS in Statistics, graduate portfolio, undergraduate certificate, and Graduate Fellows programs. In our Graduate Statistical Analysis Program, students take what they learn in the classroom and use it to add value to businesses and other organizations. This past year, a student team, under the guidance of Dr. Matt Hersh, completed a project for NetSpend (read the story here). We look forward to expanding this program under the direction of Dr. Kam Hamadieh.

Finally, the Department remains committed to providing additional training opportunities in the areas of statistics and data analysis during the year through our software short courses and the annual Summer Statistics Institute. We are excited to be celebrating our 10th Annual Summer Statistics Institute in May 2017. Find details about the workshop here

Join our Events and News mailing list to receive additional information about all SDS related opportunities and events: https://utlists.utexas.edu/sympa/subscribe/sds_eventsandnews

With best wishes,  
Mike Daniels