2018 News

Department Participation in the 10th Annual “Exploring Your Universe” Event on Sunday, November 4, 2018

On Sunday, November 4 our department participated in the 10th annual “Exploring Your Universe” event at UCLA. We thank our volunteers Stephanie Stacy, Sydney Kahmann, Wei Li, Yidan Sun, and Sam Baugh who fascinated a future generation of statisticians. Our booth had more than 200 visitors. Kudos to Stephen Smith who developed the Shiny app for computing M&Ms proportions. We gave more than 180 M&M bags away!

The Journal of Environmental Statistics has just published a new special volume called “Novel or Unusual Ideas in Environmental Statistics”.

The special volume is accessible at this link.

In Memorial of Sean E. Wang

It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of Sean E. Wang, who died May 23, 2018 after a brief illness. Sean was a well known and liked alumni of our department. He received his doctorate in 2013 after completing BS and MS degrees in Mathematics at UCLA. He has been present as an alumni, participating in DataFest, seminars and other activities. He was also a committed Bruin, attending sports events and evangelized for the university and its mission.

A memorial will be held on Friday, June 15th in Whittier.

Sean’s parents, TJ and Shean Wang, shared the following message:

“We are very comforted, touched and grateful after seeing so many online memories shared by Sean’s friends. As Sean’s parents, we know him mostly as a dear son with lots of his own persistence and style. We want him to enjoy life in his own way and have a positive impact on his friends and communities. It seems that he did, in his short 38 years of life. We are very sad but feel grateful, too. We know that many of his friends are concerned about what happened. We only have limited information. Sean left us without warning. … We believe he passed away of heart failure on 5/19, but we are still waiting for the coroner’s official report. We sincerely welcome his friends come to say goodbye to him. We do not have any dress code, except no shorts and no reddish clothes please. Blue and gold, UCLA T-shirts, etc. are very much appreciated. We are planning to set up a memorial scholarship fund with the UCLA Statistics Department, a good suggestion from some of you.”

Here is information on the memorial on Friday, June 15th in Whittier:


More information on the impact Sean had can be found at:


There are also memorial threads for the various groups that Sean contributed to.

Those who had the good fortune to know Sean also know how much he will be missed.

Ph.D. alumnus Ariana Anderson creates ChatterBaby, an app that interprets the cry of a baby

Ph.D. alumnus and affiliated faculty member Ariana Anderson lead a team of researchers to create an app called ChatterBaby. That app uses artificial intelligence to interpret a baby’s cry based on its sound frequencies and the patterns of sounds / silence in it. It can identify whether a cry is due to fussiness, hunger or pain. This is helpful for parents who are deaf and parents / caregivers who do not understand what a baby is trying to communicate. ChatterBaby is also being used to collect data to see if crying can be used as a tool to diagnose autism. More details of this story are available from this UCLA Newsroom article and from this Wired article.

Congratulations to Professor Song-Chun Zhu who is part of the University of Virginia’s new $27.5M Center on Research in Intelligent Storage and Processing in Memory (CRISP)

Professor Song-Chun Zhu is part of the University of Virginia’s new $27.5M Center on Research in Intelligent Storage and Processing in Memory (CRISP) It is one of six Joint University Microelectronics Program (JUMP) centers nationwide that are managed by the Semiconductor Research Corporation with cost-sharing from DARPA. Each research center will examine a different challenge in advancing microelectronics—a field that is crucial to the U.S. economy and its national defense. The six JUMP centers are located at the University of Virginia, UC Santa Barbara, Carnegie Mellon, Purdue, University of Michigan and Notre Dame.

UV’s CRISP Center will bring together researchers from eight universities in an effort to remove the separation between memories that store data and processors that operate on that data — a separation that has been part of all mainstream computing architectures since 1945 when von Neumann first outlined how programmable computers should be structured. Unfortunately, that technology led to today’s “memory wall” in which data access has become a major performance bottleneck. Professor Zhu, along with his colleague Jason Cong (CS), will work with CRISP researchers and become instrumental in removing that bottleneck.

Jessica Li is a recipient of the Johnson & Johnson Women in STEM2D (WiSTEM2D) Scholars Award

Congratulations to faculty member Jingyi Jessica Li who is an inaugural winner of the Johnson & Johnson Women in STEM2D (WiSTEM2D) Scholars Award. Recipients of this prize are outstanding women at significant points in their research careers in the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design (STEM2D). Jessica will receive $150,000 in funding and three years of mentorship from Johnson & Johnson leaders as well as members of the award’s Advisory Board. Details of the announcement are available at this link. A profile of Jessica and those of the other winners are available here.

The 2018 de Leeuw Seminar is happening on 4/26/2018 at 1:30PM – 3:30PM in the California Room of the Faculty Center

More information is available here.

Judea Pearl wins 2017 – 2018 Edward A. Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award!

The Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award is funded from a gift endowment established by the late Edward A. Dickson, Regent of the University of California, to honor outstanding research, scholarly work, teaching, and service performed by an Emeritus or Emerita Professor since retirement. Professor Emeritus Judea Pearl was one of three selected for this award which will be presented at the UCLA Emeriti Association annual dinner.

Since his retirement, in July 1994, Dr. Pearl’s research accomplishments have increased markedly, both in volume and in impact, resulting in hundreds of scientific articles, 13 Ph.D. graduates, two seminal books, many accolades and numerous awards. In particular, his recent work on causal inference has revolutionized the way scientists in almost every discipline view and process cause-effect relationships in their respective fields. More details are available at this link.

UCLA Statistics is recruiting for several faculty positions now!

We are currently recruiting faculty. More details are available here.

Jessica Li has been awarded a 2018 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship

Congratulations to faculty member Jingyi Jessica Li who has been awarded a 2018 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. This very prestigious fellowship is awarded to early-career scholars who represent the most promising scientific researchers working today. Fellows receive a $65,000 award to support their research. More details are available here.