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Welcome New Faculty, Visitors, and Students


The Department of Statistics welcomes our new faculty, visitors, and students this fall.

Jennifer Neville

Dr. Jennifer Neville joined the Department of Statistics as an Assistant Professor. She has a joint appointment with the Department of Computer Sciences. Jennifer received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Dr. Neville's research focuses on data mining and machine learning techniques for relational data. In relational domains such as bioinformatics, citation analysis, epidemiology, fraud detection, and web analytics, there is often limited information about any one entity in isolation, instead it is the connections among entities that are of crucial importance to pattern discovery. Relational data mining techniques move beyond the conventional analysis of entities in isolation to analyze networks of interconnected entities, exploiting the connections among entities to improve both descriptive and predictive models. Dr. Neville's research interests lie in the development and analysis of relational learning algorithms and the application of those algorithms to real-world tasks.


Joe Nolan

Dr. Joe Nolan joined the Department of Statistics as a Visiting Assistant Professor. He graduated with distinction from Eastern Illinois University before receiving his Ph.D. from Purdue University, Department of Statistics.

Dr. Nolan's research interests include Statistics/Mathematics Education, Applied Statistics, Modeling, Experimental Design, and Nutrition. He has also been recognized on multiple occasions for excellence in teaching. This semester Dr. Nolan will be teaching STAT 512, Applied Regression Analysis.


Man-Suk Oh

Dr. Man-Suk Oh joined the Department of Statistics as a Visiting Scholar. She received her Ph.D. in Statistics from Purdue University in 1989. She is a Professor at Ewha Women's University in South Korea. Her research interests are Bayesian analysis, Monte Carlo simulation, Clustering, and Microarray data analysis.


Luo Si

Dr. Luo Si joined the Department of Statistics with a courtesy appointment as an Assistant Professor. He has also joined the Department of Computer Sciences as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Si will be teaching CS 590I, Information Retrieval, this semester.

Dr. Si earned his Ph.D. in Language and Information Technologies from Carnegie Mellon University in 2006. His research spans a range of topics in information retrieval, machine learning, text mining, speech and multimedia processing, and data mining. Recent research focuses on federated search (distributed information retrieval), probabilistic models for information filtering, and text/data mining for life science.

Dr. Si has designed systems with his colleagues and acquired good results in evaluation campaigns such as TREC (Text Retrieval Conference) and CLEF (cross-lingual evaluations forum). He has published more than 35 conference, journal and workshop papers.


Christa Sorola

Christa Sorola joined the Department as a Limited Term Lecturer. She received her M.S. in Math from Baylor University in 1996. She will be teaching STAT 301, Elementary Statistical Methods, this semester. Prior to this position she worked at USAA Insurance Company as an Actuarial Analyst.


Olga Vitek

Dr. Olga Vitek joined the Department as an Assistant Professor. She has a joint appointment with the Department of Computer Sciences. She earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Statistics at Purdue. In the past she held a position of biostatistician in the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland, and was a post-doctoral fellow in the Aebersold lab at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle.

Dr. Vitek's research is in statistical and computational methods for high-dimensional molecular biology, in particular for structural genomics and mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Methodological aspects of her work include design and analysis of experiments, Bayesian modeling and statistical computing. Dr. Vitek will teach STAT 503, Statistical Methods for Biology, this semester.


Jian Zhang

Effective September 18, 2006 Dr. Jian Zhang joined the Department as an Assistant Professor. He received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 2006. His research interests include Machine Learning, Computational Statistics, Bayesian, Information Retrieval, Nonparametric Regression/Density and Models, and Massive Data. His recent research focuses on probabilistic models for multi-task learning.

Professor Zhang developed algorithms for regularized linear methods, text classification, novelty detection, and adaptive filtering. The novelty system he developed achieved top performance in Topic Detection and Tracking (TDT) evaluation from 2001 to 2004.


Twenty-four new graduate students including 8 Ph.D. students and 16 M.S. students have entered the Department of Statistics graduate program since the end of the spring semester. The new graduate students attended a departmental orientation on Sunday, August 13, 2006. The following week students attended several orientations and workshops.

Currently, the Department of Statistics has 48 faculty members, 18 full and part-time staff members, and 95 graduate students (63 Ph.D. students and 32 M.S. students).

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