David Sprott Distinguished Lecture Series

Professor David Sprott was the first Chair (1967-1975) of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at the University of Waterloo and first Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics (1967-1972). The David Sprott Distinguished Lecture Series was created in recognition of his tremendous leadership at a formative time of our department, as well as his highly influential research in statistical science.

Search by year: 2019-2018, 2017-2016, 2015-2014, 2013

2019-2018 Distinguished Lectures 


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Xiao-Li Meng

Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Statistics at Harvard University; and the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Harvard Data Science Review.

Building Deep Statistical Thinking for Data Science 2020: Privacy Protected Census, Gerrymandering, and Election

Thursday October 16, 2019

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Hans Föllmer

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Humboldt University in Berlin. He received numerous awards, including the Prix Gay-Lussac/Humboldt of the French Government, the Georg-Cantor medal of the German Mathematical Society.

Optimal Transport, Entropy, and Risk Measures on Wiener space

Thursday September 26, 2019

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Damir Filipovic

Damir Filipović 

Swissquote Chair in Quantitative Finance at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and a Swiss Finance Institute Senior Chair

A Machine Learning Approach to Portfolio Risk Management

Thursday April 25th, 2019

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Emery Brown

Emery Brown

Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School; an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH); and the Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and Computational Neuroscience at MIT

Uncovering the Mechanisms of General Anesthesia: Where Neuroscience Meets Statistics

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

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Pauline Barrieu

Pauline Barrieu

Professor of Statistics at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she is Head of the Statistics Department and co-Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Time Series (CATS)

Assessing financial model risk

Monday June 25th, 2018

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2017-2016 Distinguished Lectures 

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Susan A. Murphy 

University of Michigan will be joining Harvard University in September 2017. Fellow of the College on Problems in Drug Dependence, member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Medicine and a 2013 MacArthur Fellow.

Challenges in Developing Learning Algorithms to Personalize Treatment in Real Time

Thursday September 28th, 2017

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Peter Diggle 

Distinguished University Professor of Statistics in the Faculty of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University. He also holds Adjunct positions at Johns Hopkins, Yale and Columbia Universities.

A Tale of Two Parasites: how can Gaussian processes contribute to improved public health in Africa?

Thursday May 11th, 2017

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David Donoho 

Professor of Statistics and the Anne T and Robert M Bass Professor of the Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University.

Factor Models and PCA in light of the spiked covariance model

Thursday October 20th, 2016


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Jack Kalbfleisch 

Emeritus Professor of Biostatistics and Statistics at the University of Michigan and Distinguished Emeritus Professor at the University of Waterloo.

Match making in a Kidney Paired Donation Program

Thursday October 6th, 2016

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Martin Wainwright 

Chancellor's Professor with a joint appointment between the Department of Statistics and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, with the University of California at Berkeley.

Some new phenomena in high-dimensional statistics and optimization

Thursday May 12th, 2016  


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2015-2014 Distinguished Lectures 

Raymond Smiling

Raymond J. Carroll

Distinguished Professor of Statistics, Nutrition and Toxicology at Texas A&M University. He is a recipient of 1988 COPSS Presidents' Award and 2002 R. A. Fisher Lectureship.

Constrained maximum likelihood estimation for model calibration using summary-level information from external big data sources.

Thursday September 24th, 2015  

William Smiling

William Woodall 

Professor of Statistics in Department of Statistics, Virginia Tech University.

Monitoring and Improving Surgical Quality

Thursday May 14th, 2015 


Eduardo S. Schwartz

Professor of Real Estate and Professor of Finance, Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The real options approach to valuation: challenges and opportunities

Thursday, September 25th, 2014


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Art B. Owen

Professor of statistics at Stanford University, where he has held a faculty position since 1985.

Empirical likelihood

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014


2013 Distinguished Lectures 

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Jerome Friedman

Professor of statistics at Stanford University, where he has held a faculty position since 1982.

Sparsity, boosting and ensemble methods

Friday, September 13th, 2013

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David Spiegelhalter

Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.

Don't know, can't know: communicating risk and deeper uncertainty

Thursday January 10th, 2013