2006 CRM-SSC Prize in Statistics
awarded to Dr. Jeffrey Rosenthal

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picture of Jeffrey RosenthalJeffrey Rosenthal, Professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of Toronto, is the 2006 winner of the CRM-SSC prize. Dr. Rosenthal’s elegant and landmark results set him as one of the leaders in the development of Markov chain Monte Carlo methods.  Within 15 years of his PhD, Jeffrey Rosenthal has made outstanding contributions to asymptotic theory related to Markov processes and, with great insight and ingenuity, to clarifying the practical implications of theory in this area.  Jeffrey Rosenthal is a powerful researcher, gifted with a natural ability to translate difficult concepts.  His extensive collaborations reflect his expansive interests and his emphasis on practical aspects of theoretical results. 

Jeffrey received his BSc from the University of Toronto in 1988, and an MA (1990) and PhD (1992) from Harvard University.  His PhD supervisor was Persi Diaconis and it was at Harvard that Jeffrey Rosenthal’s interest in applications and practical issues was piqued.  In a series of elegant papers which are rich with mathematical analysis, Jeffrey has studied convergence rates of MCMC algorithms, for hybrid samplers, slice samplers, time-inhomogeneous chains and time-sampled chains.  He has published several key theoretical papers in the Annals of Applied Probability, the Annals of Probability, the Annals of Statistics and Advances in Applied Mathematics, while papers in the Journal of the American Statistical Association, Statistical Science and SIAM review pay great attention to practical issues.  Jeffrey Rosenthal has received many honours and awards over his career, including being elected IMS Fellow in 2005. 

The University of Toronto connection is very strong with Jeffrey Rosenthal.  His father is a professor of mathematics at that University specializing in operator theory; his mother recently retired as a mathematics lecturer at the Scarborough campus.  One of his brothers is a computer science lecturer at the St. George campus; another is an instructional technology analyst at OISE/UT.  Jeffrey’s wife is the faculty librarian in dentistry.  In fact, his marriage ceremony took place at Hart House at the University of Toronto.

As a colleague with great interests in bringing statistical concepts to a wider audience, Jeffrey is also an outstanding teacher, receiving awards for developing innovation in the classroom.  He has a long-standing interest in learning strategies and has been very active in this area at the University of Toronto.   With his recent book `Struck by Lightning’ Jeffrey Rosenthal makes statistics and probability accessible to the general audience in entertaining ways.   Entertainment is also part of his comedy act at the Bad Dog theatre in Toronto where he performs improv with his troupe.   Improv is an intellectual sport where troupe members cast one-liners at each other to build momentum to a punch line.  Amateur comic Jeffrey Rosenthal and his troupe bring the house down in laughter on wintry Friday evenings.  He also plays and performs guitar, keyboard, harmonica, saxophone, trumpet, penny whistle, and bongo drums.

This announcement of the 2006 CRM-SSC prize was made at University of Western Ontario in London, site of this year's Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada.  The SSC, founded in 1977, is dedicated to the promotion of excellence in statistical research and practice. This prestigious award, jointly sponsored by the SSC and the Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM), is given each year to a Canadian statistician in recognition of outstanding contributions to the discipline during the recipient’s first 15 years after earning a doctorate.

Jeffrey Rosenthal is the eighth recipient of the CRM-SSC Prize. Previous winners of the award were Christian Genest (Laval, 1999), Robert J. Tibshirani (Stanford), Colleen D. Cutler (Waterloo), Larry A. Wasserman (Carnegie Mellon), Charmaine B. Dean (Simon Fraser), Randy Sitter (Simon Fraser) and Jiahua Chen (Waterloo).

Source: Charmaine Dean, Simon Fraser University, Chair of the CRM-SSC Prize Committee