Thursday, June 13, 2019

Congratulations Mirabelle Huynh & Wayne Oldford, winners of the annual Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science Teaching Award!

Mirabelle and Wayne smiling


The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science is proud to announce the winners of the 2019 Teaching Award goes to Mirabelle Huynh and Wayne Oldford!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Master of Actuarial Science program celebrates 10 wonderful years

Diana Skrzydlo and Mary Hardy


The Master’s of Actuarial Science program (MActSc) celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a banquet dinner on Friday May 31, 2019, welcoming back MActSc alumni, faculty, and special guests. 

At the dinner, the faculty's newest scholarship, the Mary R. Hardy Graduate Award in Actuarial Science was announced. This endowed award was created in recognition of Mary Hardy’s immense contributions to the program and the actuarial profession. This award will be given annually to an incoming MActSc student who demonstrates both academic excellence and a strong commitment to serving the public good through volunteering and community service.

It’s not too late to donate!  Please join us in honouring Mary Hardy by supporting this award. Contributions of any size can be made on the scholarship website.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Michael Wallace breaks down assumptions

Michael Wallace

In his second year of undergraduate studies at the University of Cambridge, Michael Wallace realized that statistics are everywhere when he discovered SIGNIFICANCE magazine. He’s since written a number of articles for the magazine as he believes in helping everyone understand statistics and the importance of the subject in our lives.

He began his post-secondary education thinking that he wanted to study pure mathematics, but his attention turned to statistics because he saw the practical applications. While much of his work is theoretical in the field of biostatistics, working with a lot of equations, Wallace is motivated by real-world questions that we are looking to answer.

While completing his PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Wallace put his theoretical education to work with eye doctors at the University of London. Researchers there were completing a study with patients living with amblyopia, a condition where one eye experiences worse vision than the other. Common treatment includes the use of an eye patch over the good eye to retrain the bad eye through use. In this particular study, the eye patch gathered data.

This practical work taught Wallace about the importance of communication. This included learning how to ask the right questions (even if you think one may sound foolish), being prepared to admit that you don’t know what someone means, and being tactful. Helping the physicians – who are not statisticians – quickly understand complex ideas, such as measurement error, was very important. For example, although an eye doctor assesses your eyesight using an eye chart, measurement error may occur if a patient, unsure of a letter, manages to guess it correctly rather than acknowledge that they cannot see it clearly.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Dr. Ping Yan's latest work is published by Springer

Quantitative Methods for Investigating Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Dr. Ping Yan's latest work explores systematic treatment of the mathematical underpinnings of work in the theory of outbreak dynamics and their control, covering balanced perspectives between theory and practice including new material on contemporary topics in the field of infectious disease modelling. 

His work entitled "Quantitavtive Methods for Investigating Infectious Disease Outbreaks" has been published by the highly respected Springer Publishing Company. 

Dr. Ping Yan is an adjunct professor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, at the University of Waterloo. His work focuses on applying statistical and mathematical models in communicable diseases transmission, prevention and control, with a wide range of topics from estimation of HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis disease burden to informing policy regarding pandemic influenza preparedness, vaccination and emergency response.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Survey Research Centre (SRC) is hosting a Data Analysis Workshop

Survey Research Centre logo

The SRC's workshop is titled Survey Research Data Analysis: 101 and Beyond (PDF)

This event will take place on Wednesday May 15 to Thursday May 16, 2019 in Mathematics 3 (M3). 

This workshop provides a crash course on using statistical methods and software when conducting data analysis in survey research. There will be a hands-on opportunity to conduct basic data analysis using SAS software. This workshop is presented by Dr. Christian Boudreau, Co-director of the SRC, along with Grace Li from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Project.

More information, including registration fee, can be located on the SRC website

Please register by emailing Janice Lam.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Celebrating 3rd annual DataFest competition at the University of Waterloo

Datafest 2019

50 undergraduate students took part analyzing and applying data in the 48 hour on campus 2019 ASA DataFest competition earlier this month. Globally, over 2,000 students partake in this competition at several of the most prestigious colleges and universities including the University of Waterloo.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Actuarial Short Course XI - Financial Engineering I

Group photo of the Jakarta course

On April 12-15, 2019, the Risk Management, Economic Sustainability, and Actuarial Science Development in Indonesia (READI) Project, funded by Global Affairs Canada, conducted a short course on “Financial Engineering I” in Jakarta, Indonesia. The training was the 11 of the series of short course held in collaboration with the University of Waterloo in which the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science faculty members have led the teaching on all short courses. Prof. Ken Seng Tan, PhD, ASA, CERA, and Sunlife Fellowship in International Actuarial Science, was the instructor of the four days intensive training program. READI also invited Steven Chen, FSA, FCIA, CFA, MAA, an alumni of the University of Waterloo, as the guest speaker to provide a practitioners’ perspective on Financial Engineering.

Read the full article and learn more about the READI project on their website.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

University of Waterloo ranks first for insurance/actuarial publications

Overall Rankings

The University Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Global Research Rankings of Actuarial Science and Risk Management and Insurance has ranked the University of Waterloo the number one non-business, degree-granting school worldwide. Waterloo was ranked first in both the number of papers in the leading risk and insurance journal, as well as in the top four leading actuarial journals.

“I am extremely proud of the results of the UNL rankings,” said Stefan Steiner, Chair of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. “Ranking first worldwide in the non-business school list is testament to the strong research happening at the University of Waterloo.”

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Congratulations Peijun Sang, 2019 Pierre Robillard award recipient!

Peijun Sang

The Statistical Society of Canada (SSC) awarded Peijun Sang as the winner of the 2019 Pierre Robillard Award of the Statistical Society of Canada. This prize recognizes the best PhD thesis in probability or statistics defended at a Canadian university in a given year. Peijun’s thesis, entitled “New Methods and Models in Functional Data Analysis" was written while he was a doctoral student at the Simon Fraser University, working under the supervision of Jiguo Cao.

His current research interests are focused on functional data analysis methods. Data from electroencephalogram signals, function magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging are important examples. He is interested in applying functional data analysis techniques to study functional connectivity between imaging data collected from different regions of the brain. He is concerned with large sample properties of high dimensional functional regression models that have been proposed for this type of data. He is also interested in dependence modelling with copulas for discrete and time-to-event outcomes.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Mu Zhu Elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association

Mu Zhu

Professor Mu Zhu of Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at University of Waterloo is elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA). The citation reads: “For outstanding research contributions to statistical learning in recommender systems, ensemble approaches to variable selection, unbalanced classification and rare target detection; and service to the profession.”

The designation of ASA Fellow has been a significant honor for nearly 100 years. Under ASA bylaws, the Committee on Fellows can elect up to one-third of one percent of the total association membership as fellows each year.

The 2019 class of ASA Fellows will be formally presented at the award session at this year’s Joint Statistical Meetings in Denver, Colorado.