(Credit: Purdue University.)


An internationally respected Purdue University statistician and computer scientist renowned for his nonparametric regression-based data visualization work and recently honored with the American Statistical Association's 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award for Graphics and Computing will visit the Texas A&M University campus next week as the guest speaker for the biennial Emanuel Parzen Prize Lecture Series, sponsored by the Texas A&M Department of Statistics.

William S. Cleveland, Shanti S. Gupta Distinguished Professor of Statistics and Courtesy Professor of Computer Science at Purdue, will present a 3 p.m. public lecture, "Divide and Recombine for Bigger Data and Higher Computational Complexity," Thursday (Nov. 16) in Room 2406A of the Memorial Student Center on the Texas A&M campus as recipient of the 2016 Emanuel and Carol Parzen Prize for Statistical Innovation. The presentation is free and open to the public.

The Parzen Prize is named for Emanuel Parzen, longtime distinguished professor of statistics at Texas A&M who passed away on February 6, 2016. Established through the Texas A&M Foundation and first awarded in 1994 to recognize Parzen's 65th birthday, it is presented in even-numbered years to North American statisticians in recognition of outstanding careers in the discipline and profession of statistics. In addition to an invitation to deliver the Parzen Prize Lecture, recipients receive a citation and a $1,000 honorarium plus travel expenses.

Cleveland is cited "for innovative, influential, and outstanding research in statistical methodology and computational methods for statistics, including time series analysis, nonparametric local regression (loess), statistical graphics and data visualization including scatterplot brushing and trellis displays, and many other contributions to statistical and computational methods; leadership in developing modern methods at the interface of computer science and statistics for the analysis of and visualization of large and complex data sets."

At the conclusion of his lecture, Cleveland will join Texas A&M statisticians H. Joseph Newton and Simon J. Sheather to present a special tribute to Parzen honoring his lifetime achievement and statistical legacy.

An elected fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Cleveland also is an elected member of the International Statistics Institute. He is the author of two influential books and co-author of another book on the use of computer graphics in visualizing data. He also served as editor for a special issue of the Journal of the American Statistical Association on data visualization. In addition, he is the founder of the Graphics Section of the American Statistical Association.

Cleveland defined data science as it is used today in a talk at the 1999 biennial meeting of the International Statistical Institute and again in a 2001 paper published in ISI Review. The term had been used before, but with different meanings. All totaled, Cleveland has published more than 100 refereed articles in statistical, computational, medical and other journals. His more recent work develops new statistical, graphical and computational techniques for the analysis of massive data sets.

In his current research, Cleveland asserts that the widely used term big data badly misses the mark because it implies that size is the primary factor that matters. Cleveland contends that, in data analysis, computational performance depends very heavily not just on size, but also on the computational complexity of the analytic routines used in the analysis. Small data can present big challenges, with available hardware power being another important consideration.

A member of the Purdue faculty since 2004, Cleveland received an A.B. in mathematics from Princeton University and his doctorate in statistics from Yale University. After graduation, he started at Bell Labs, where he was staff member of the Statistics Research Department and Department Head for 12 years prior to coming to Purdue.

In 1996, Cleveland was chosen national Statistician of the Year by the Chicago Chapter of the ASA. In 2002, he was selected as a Highly Cited Researcher by the American Society for Information Science and Technology in the newly formed mathematics category. He has twice won the Wilcoxon Prize and also is a past recipient of the Youden Prize from Technometrics.

Emanuel Parzen, who joined the Texas A&M Statistics faculty in 1978, retired in 2009 as distinguished professor emeritus of statistics but remained active in his research. In 1994, he was awarded the Samuel S. Wilks Memorial Medal of the American Statistical Association "for outstanding research in time-series analysis, especially for his innovative introduction of reproducing kernel spaces, spectral analysis and spectrum smoothing; for pioneering contributions in quantile and density quantile functions and estimation; for unusually successful and influential textbooks in probability and stochastic processes; for excellent and enthusiastic teaching and dissemination of statistical knowledge; and for a commitment to service on society councils, government advisory committees and editorial boards." In 2005, Parzen received the Gottfried E. Noether Award "for a lifetime of outstanding achievements and contributions in the field of nonparametric statistics, both in research and teaching."

Carol Parzen, who earned her master's of science in adult extension education from Texas A&M in 1981, has had diverse careers in the community. She retired from the Texas A&M Mays College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Business, where she served as assistant director of the CBA Fellows Program. The Parzens were married in 1959 and have two children -- Sara Schandelson, a librarian who resides in Boca Raton, Fla., and Michael Parzen, a senior lecturer of statistics in the Harvard University Department of Statistics -- and six grandchildren.

For more information regarding the 2016 Parzen Prize Lecture, please contact the Department of Statistics at (979) 845-3141. Click here to view online event information.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Carol and Dr. Emanuel Parzen.

  • William S. Cleveland, Shanti S. Gupta Distinguished Professor of Statistics and Courtesy Professor of Computer Science, Purdue University, and 2016 Parzen Prize recipient. (Credit: Purdue University.)

  • Dr. Emanuel and Carol Parzen (Courtesy Photo.)

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