Newsletter Volume I, Issue II, Spring/Summer 1998
In This Issue:

Letter from the Chair

First of all, Congratulations to Myles Hollander! --- it was recently announced that he is the winner of the 1998-99 Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor award, the university's highest faculty honor.  Needless to say, we are extremely proud of him.   An official award ceremony and public lecture, followed by a reception, will take place at the Turnbull Conference Center in the Fall.  All alumni and friends are warmly invited to attend. 

In August the department will welcome a new faculty member, Lei Li, who recently completed his Ph.D. in Statistics at the University of California, Berkeley.  Dr. Li is an expert in statistical methods for DNA base calling, a fascinating and rapidly developing new area.   He is expected to contribute greatly to the interdisciplinary research in the department, as well as enhancing our strength in time series analysis.  We also look forward to the arrival of nine new graduate students in the Fall.

A highlight of this issue of our newsletter is the section on Research and Grant activity.  Several of our faculty have been successful in gaining outside support this year.  Beyond the grants mentioned there, Jayaram Sethuraman and  Anuj Srivastava (with the participation of De Witt Sumners in Mathematics) were recently awarded an NSF Major Research Instrumentation Grant to fund a Laboratory for Computational Vision in the department.  This will add seven high-performance Silicon Graphics workstations to our computer system, greatly improving our capability in the area of computational research.  Given sufficient
funding in the future, we hope to replace all the slower computers on our network by high-performance workstations.   The trend in the direction of more computationally intensive approaches in statistics is sure to grow, and we want to be competitive in this exciting field. 

To our alumni and friends, please continue to send in items of news that we can put in future newsletters --- we enjoy

hearing from you!
 Last, but not least, for those of you who wish to contribute to the department, we have included a gift form in this issue of the newsletter.

Ian W. McKeague

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Hollander wins highest faculty honor

When Myles Hollander was hired by FSU in 1965, the university didn't know what to expect from a young Brooklyn native with a Ph.D. in Statistics from Stanford.  Certainly, no one at the time could have predicted all of the success that Hollander would achieve while at FSU, or that 33 years later he would receive the university's highest faculty honor, the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor award.

On May 1, 1998 at the first of FSU's two Spring Commencement ceremonies President Sandy D'Alemberte and Provost Lawrence Abele praised Hollander for his contributions to FSU and to the field of Statistics as they announced him as the recipient of the 1998-99 Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor award (the fifth Lawton award in our department's history).  The citation, read by Provost Abele, lauded Hollander for his pioneering efforts in nonparametric statistics and reliability theory, his excellence in teaching, his scholarly publications, and his years of dedicated service on both national and international levels.  Members of Hollander's family were present for the conferring of the award and were recognized by
President Abele in the welcoming address.

Among some of Hollander's other achievements at FSU are a Professorial Excellence Program award in 1997 and a Distinguished Research Professor award in 1996.  Hollander also served as Chair of the Department of Statistics from 1978 to 1981.  He is a Fellow of both the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and is an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute. In 1996, he ended a three-year term as the editor of the Theory & Methods section of the Journal of the American Statistical Association.  He has co-authored three books on statistics, one of which, "The Statistical Exorcist:  Dispelling Statistics Anxiety" ( written with Frank Proschan, Lawton Professor, 1984- 85), is used to teach our entry level "Statistics Through Example" class.  His current research involves the development of probability models for research projects that will have applications in a variety of areas, including biostatistics and reliability.

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New Professor to join the faculty in Fall 1998
This Fall our department will increase its strength in both theory and applications with the addition of Lei Li, from the University of California, Berkeley, to the faculty.

Li received his B.S. in Mathematics and his M.S. in Statistics from Peking University before enrolling in the Ph.D. program at the University of California, Berkeley.  About his decision to enter into a career in statistics, Li says he was drawn to statistics because of his fondness for "mathematics and abstraction" and his desire to study and work on a variety of topics with applications in the real world.

While at Berkeley, Li has had a unique opportunity to combine his training in applied statistics with his background in theory while working on the Human Genome project - an ongoing project conducted by faculty and researchers at the University of California in collaboration with the Human Genome Centers at Lawrence Berkeley Labs and Lawrence Livermore National Labs.  Li's current research on the project involves the DNA base-calling problem in genetics. The use of innovative statistical methodology in the genome project is expected to have a great impact that reaches far beyond statistics.
Li's other areas of research interest are time series analysis, signal processing, statistical modeling, model selection, computation and algorithms.  In March of this year, Li presented a talk, "A Statistical Model for DNA Base-Calling" to our department as part of our colloquium series.  His first opportunity to share his knowledge of statistics as an instructor at FSU will be in STA 5126, Introduction to Applied Statistics, this Fall.

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 Senior Fulbright Research Scholar enjoyed his visit with us
John Einmahl from the Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands visited our department as a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar from December 1, 1997  until June 1, 1998.  During his time here, Einmahl worked on a variety of research projects including one in collaboration with Ian McKeague on the use of empirical likelihood methods in nonparametric
statistics.  Einmahl  also gave three talks in our colloquium series, on “Small Nonparametric Tolerance Regions,”  “The Strong Local Behaviour of the Product-Limit Process with Applications,” and “Statistics of Extremes.”  One of his Ph.D. students, Nino Mushkudiani, joined him as a visiting scholar in our department from January 18- March 28.

Before his return to the Netherlands, Einmahl said about his visit, “Visiting here is a great experience!  I enjoy my stay very much, both the professional and the social part, including all the nice trips I made with my wife, Fia, and two children during the weekends.  In particular, we love all the nature and wildlife here.  Apart from the fact that both Florida and the Netherlands have no mountains and a lot of water, everything is quite different here from back home.  Not surprisingly, the weather is somewhat better here than in Eindhoven.

Last but not least, I want to mention that I am pleasantly surprised by (and grateful for) the kindness and helpfulness of all the members of the department.  In conclusion, it is annoying that my visit here is almost over and I sincerely hope to be able to come back soon.”

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Selected Faculty Publications and Presentations

Huang, L.-S., Testing goodness-of-fit based on a roughness measure, Journal of the American Statistical Association
92, 1399-1402, 1997.

Huffer, F.W. and Wu, H., Markov Chain Monte Carlo for autologisitic regression models with application to the
distribution of plant species, Biometrics, 54(2), 70-85, 1998.

Huffer, F.W. and Lin, C.-T., Computing the exact distribution of the extremes of sums of Consecutive Spacings,
Computational Statistics and Data Analysis 26, 117-132, 1997.

Huffer, F.W. and Lin, C.-T., Approximating the distribution of the scan statistic using moments of the number of
clumps, Journal of the American Statistical Association 92, 1466-1475, 1997.

McKeague, I.W., Introduction to Aalen's "Nonparametric inference for a family of counting processes,"  In:
Breakthroughs in Statistics, Volume III, (N.L. Johnson, S. Kotz, eds.), 1997, Springer, New York.

McKeague, I.W. and van der Laan, M., Efficient estimation from right-censored data when failure indicators are
missing at random, The Annals of Statistics, 26, 164-182, 1998.

Niu, X.-F., Edmiston, H.L., and Bailey, G.O., Time series models for salinity and other environmental factors in the
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, FSU Department of Statistics technical report No. 900, 1998.
A portion of this paper was presented at the Joint Statistical Meetings held in Chicago in 1996 (the paper will
soon appear in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Sciences).

Srivastava, A. and Fuhrmann, D., Gradient flows on projection matrices for subspace estimation,  In Proceedings of
the Annual Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems & Computers,  1997.

Srivastava, A. and Grenander, U., Metrics for target recognition, In Proceedings of the SPIE, Applications of Artificial
Neural Networks in Image Processing III, 1998.

Duane Meeter presented the paper “How Not to Lie with Statistics”  in a  Department of Revenue Continuing
Education Seminar in Altamonte Springs on December 2, 1997.

Duane Meeter gave a talk on “True Stories of Statistical Consulting” to the Department of Mathematics at the University
of Mississippi, Oxford on March 6, 1998.

Jayaram Sethuraman presented the paper “Further Properties of Dirichlet Measures” at the Bernoulli Society
Meeting in Calcutta, India in December, 1997.

Doug Zahn presented the paper “Requests, Promises, Complaints, and Apologies” with his wife, Andrea, to the
International Conference of the International Alliance for Learning, Irvine, CA, January, 1998.

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Research and Grant Updates
(Sethuraman and Srivastava, Lin and Niu, Hollander, Huang, and Zahn)
Research Algorithms and Performance in Bayesian Automatic Target Recognition

Funding Source:  US Army
Investigators:      Jayaram Sethuraman and Anuj Srivastava
Grant Period:       3/98-2/99

Researchers in computational statistics have long desired to develop systems which match human ability in recognizing known and unknown objects from camera pictures.  There has been only limited success in the pursuit of this goal.  In this research we propose to derive efficient algorithms for Automated Target Recognition (ATR) using images obtained from standard remote sensors such as videos, radars, and infrared cameras. 

Using statistical models for military targets, remote sensors and surrounding clutter, a Bayesian framework is developed for target detection, tracking and recognition.  This framework is general enough to include situations with multiple targets, multiple sensors, and their relative motions.  Important issues, such as ATR performance analysis, accuracy of models and computational efficiency of algorithms, are under study.  Under this project, we have established a high-performance network of graphics intensive Silicon Graphics Octane and O2 workstations.  Also, along with Prof. Ulf Grenander of Brown University, we have prepared an instructional CD, titled Bayesian Automated Target Recognition.  This CD will be distributed free of cost to academic and government researchers working on similar problems.

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Statistical Analysis of Environmental Laboratory Data
Funding Source:   Florida Department of Environmental  Protection
Investigators:        Pi-Erh Lin and Xu-Feng Niu
Grant Period:         4/98 - 4/99
The Everglades Round Robin (ERR) Inter-laboratory Comparison Program was initiated by FDEP in 1995 for the purpose of assessing the comparability of phosphorus data from laboratories engaged in analysis of samples from Everglades research.  Different experimental designs were used among the five ERR events completed.  In each ERR event, environmental samples were distributed to a selected population of environmental testing laboratories.  The laboratories analyzed the samples and submitted the results to the FDEP for subsequent evaluation.  Since the reporting of the first three sets of ERR results, the FDEP staff have worked towards developing a standardized method for assessing the intra- and inter-laboratory precision of the results.
In this study we propose a statistical approach for analyzing the ERR data sets.  A linear model with a laboratory as a treatment effect will be proposed for the analysis of the data set at each study site for a particular event.  Assumptions in the model will be carefully examined.  A nonparametric procedure will be used for identifying outliers in the measurements based on residuals, and the mean value for each site in each event will be estimated based on the model after removing the outliers.
The goals of the project include the development of:  a standard protocol for the analysis of ERR events, a rating system to evaluate individual laboratory performance for each sample from a  testing event, and  new experimental designs for evaluating laboratory performance.

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Models and Analysis of Recurrent Data with Intervention

Funding Source:   National Institutes of Health
Investigator:          Myles Hollander
Grant Period:         7/98 - 6/01
The research is joint with Edsel Pena (Bowling Green State University) who has also received a similar grant from NIH. The research is for the development and analysis of models that govern the occurrence of recurrent events in medical settings (e.g. recurrence of angina pectoris in patients with coronary disease, epileptic seizures, migraine headaches, ear infections
in infants,etc.) The models will take into account medical intervention. Due to such intervention, the inter-arrival times of the recurrent events typically will not be identically distributed and may not be independent. These complications  necessitate the development of new models and new statistical techniques for estimation and for model-validation.

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Faculty Focus:  Li-Shan Huang

In 1997 Professor Li-Shan Huang was awarded a NSF Research Planning Grant for Women Scientists and Engineers .    The grant includes summer salary and professional travel and allows Huang to devote more time to her current research projects and to the development of future grant proposals.  Her current research projects are:
“Meteorologically-dependent Trends in Urban Ozone” joint with Richard L. Smith (UNC, Chapel Hill).  This project presents a new approach to the problem of assessing the ozone trends to analyze the effect on ozone regulations as imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“Testing the Adequacy of a Linear Model via Critical Smoothing”  A new test is proposed for testing the goodness-of-fit of a simple linear model; the test is based on critical smoothing in local linear regression, bootstrapping to assess the significance, and a visual error criterion to measure nonlinearity of a bootstrap sample.
“Goodness-of-Fit Test for Parametric Regression Models” joint with J. Fan (UNC, Chapel Hill).  This project develops new some tests, the adaptive Neyman test and the wavelet thresholding test, for examining the adequacy of a family of parametric models against large families of nonparametric alternatives.
Huang received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill after receiving her B.S. in Mathematics from the National Central University in Taiwan.  She was awarded a First- Year Assistant Professor Research Award from FSU in 1996.  She will be on leave visiting Peter Hall at the Australian National University during 1999.
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Zahn visits the UK again
Doug Zahn returned to London again this summer to present another of his short courses on statistical consultancy to statisticians in the British civil service.  Still overseas,  Zahn reported by email that the first two weeks of his popular six-day course (presented in 2-day segments separated by a month)  have gone very well.
Zahn in front of Buckingham Palace,  Summer 97
He and his wife Andrea have been spending and  will continue to  spend their time between classes on trips to Australia, Thailand, and other parts of England.
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Other News & Events
Professor and Chair, Ian McKeague, was among the 37 FSU outstanding teachers, researchers and advisors who were recognized at this year’s Faculty Awards Ceremony.  McKeague received a 1997-98 University Teaching Award for excellence in graduate teaching.
Ph.D. candidate Blake Whitten was recently selected as a 1998 Outstanding Teaching Assistant at FSU.  In Fall 97 and Spring 98, Blake solo taught a section of STA 2122 , Introduction to Applied Statistics.  This Summer he will teach two sections of STA 3014, Fundamental Business statistics in the “C” session.
Mourad Tighiouart, soon-to-be Dr. Mourad Tighiouart, received the 1998 Yongyuan and Anna Li Award for the best student colloquium of the 97-98 year.  Mourad’s colloquium “Nonparametric Bayesian Inference for Survival data” was one of four presented by our graduate students in the competition (the other participants were Blake Whitten, Tom Jagger, and Ivo Dinov).  Mourad has accepted a position as Assistant Professor  in the Mathematics and Statistics Department at Utah State University.
Doctoral Student Marc Loizeaux’s paper “Bayesian Landmark Estimation for Spatial Point Patterns” was selected for an SRCOS (Southern Regional Council on Statistics) R. L. Anderson Student Paper Award.  The 1998 SRC was held at Navarre Beach, Florida on June 7-11.  Marc presented his work at the conference in a poster session on June 9th.
The Department started the Stochastic Inference Group this year under the direction of Dr. Srivastava and Dr. McKeague.  The group, which meets informally, has as its goal the development of stochastic inference techniques for problems of interest in applications such as image understanding and signal analysis.  More information on the group can be found at
Guests in our 1997-1998  colloquium series  included:   Yanqing Sun, UNC Charlotte; Basil de Silva, Dept. of Statistics & Operations Research in the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia;  Priscilla Greenwood, University of British Columbia; John Einmahl, Dept. of Mathematics & Computing Science, Eindhoven University of Technology,
The Netherlands; Sam Efromovich, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Bani Mallick, Imperial College, London, England; Yi Lin, University of Pennsylvania; Jianqing Fan, Dept . of Statistics, UNC, Chapel Hill; Darrin Short, United Kingdom Office for National Statistics, London, England; Erol Pekoz, Dept. of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley; Hemant Ishwaran, Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Ottawa, Canada; Lei Li, Dept . of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley; and Robert Wardrop, Dept. of Statistics, University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Speakers from our  department were Duane Meeter, Fred Huffer, Anuj Srivastava, Kai-Sheng Song, Myles Hollander , Li-Shan Huang, and the four students  who competed  in the Yongyuan & Anna Li  competition.  Abstracts of the talks can be found at .

M.S. student Karla Mutuc was married on August 31, 1997 to Dmitriy Blaginin (M.S. in Math  ‘97 and currently working on a second Master’s degree in Computer Science).
Cedric Brown, Ivo Dinov, Steven Katz, Jade Lee, Selena Menchan, Lihong Qi, and Hocine Tighiouart received
M.S. degrees this Spring.  Dinov, who also  received a Ph.D. in Math, is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the UCLA Medical School.  Lee (who will be married on June 25th to Robert Freeman) is with the EPA in Washington, DC.  Selena is working for Lockheed Martin in Orlando, FL.  Qi will be in the Ph.D. program in Biostatistics at the University of Washington this Fall.  Tighiouart is continuing into the Ph.D. program in our department.
1994 Ph.D. graduate Hulin Wu welcomed his new daughter, Isabella Jenny Wu, into the world on November 8, 1997.  Pictures of Isabella can be found at  Hulin, a senior biostatistician with the Statistical  & Data Analysis Center in the Harvard School of Public Health, also recently received the First Independent Research Support and Transition (FIRST) Award from NIH (National Institutes of Health) to support his research project “Models and Inferential Tools for HIV-1 Dynamics In Vivo”.
Theresa “Teri” Berceli (M.S. 1996) was recently married to Gabriel Jimenez (FSU Law School graduate 1997).  Teri has been working at Pratt & Whitney in West Palm Beach since her graduation.
Emily Niu, daughter of Professor Xufeng Niu, recently won the local “Math Counts” competition, placing first in the region.  Emily, 14, is a student at Deerlake Middle School in Tallahassee.   With a Statistician for her father and an accountant for her mother, Emily naturally credits her parents with teaching her their math skills and encouraging her to succeed.

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Gift Form
For those of you who would like to help support the Department of Statistics at FSU, we have set up a web-version of our gift form that can be printed out and mailed in to the FSU Foundation.

About Our Funds...
The Statistics General Development Fund  was created to provide general support for our department in a variety of areas.    The fund has most recently been used for providing lunch for invited speakers, refreshments for the departmental colloquium series, and for meetings of the faculty and graduate teaching assistants.   Other uses of the fund in the past include funding for travel, supplies, and equipment expenses for the use of graduate students; the purchase of audio equipment for classroom use; and, emergency loans for graduate students.
The Ralph A. Bradley Student Award was named for our department’s founder, Dr. Ralph Bradley.  The award is presented to a graduating Ph.D. student who has demonstrated outstanding achievement, culminating in the presentation of the best doctoral dissertation of the year.  Since its inception in 1979, 17 graduate students have received the award.  They are:  Ramon Leon, 1979; Carlos A. B. Pereira, 1981; Harry S. Joe, 1982; Frank M. Guess, 1984; Wai T. Chan, 1985; Edsel A. Peña, 1986; James A. Sconing, 1986; James H. Clair, 1988; Brett D. Presnell, 1989; B. Narasimhan, 1991; T.V. Kurien, 1991; Gang Li, 1992; Yanqing Sun, 1993; Hulin Wu, 1994; Crisanto Dorado, 1995; and Jeffrey Stein, 1997.
The Yongyuan and Anna Li Fund was established in October 1997 by Anna Li in memory of her husband Yongyuan Li who died from cancer on April 7, 1997.  Yongyuan was a promising Ph.D. student in our department and the Yongyuan and Anna Li Award was created to commemorate that promise by recognizing our current and future outstanding graduate students with an award for the student who presents the best student colloquium each year in our department’s colloquium series.  Ph.D. candidate, Mourad Tighiouart, was the first recipient of the award in 1997.

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Alumni Update Form

If you would like to update your records or let us know about a news item or an event in your life, please send an email to or print out, complete, and return the web-version of our Alumni Update Form .

Comments?  Suggestions?  We look forward to hearing from you and to receiving your submissions for future newsletter items.  You may reach us by mail, phone, fax, or email.