Duke PhD students and PhD alums win professional statistics awards

Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 9:15am

Several Duke  PhD students and PhD alums were recognized as award winners at the Joint Statistical Meetings in Montreal this week.
First,  two recent PhD graduates are the 2012 winners of the major Savage Award for ".. outstanding doctoral dissertations in Bayesian econometrics and/or statistics." They are:

  • Anirban Bhattacharya & advisor David DunsonAnirban Bhattacharya (Duke StatSci PhD 2012), who won the 2012 Savage "Theory & Methods" Award  for his thesis on "Bayesian Shrinkage in High Dimensions"  advised by David Dunson. This award  is bestowed each year to the author of  " ... a dissertation that makes important original contributions to the foundations, theoretical developments, and/or general methodology of Bayesian analysis" 
  • Avishek Chakraborty (Duke StatSci PhD 2010) who won the 2012 Savage "Applied Methodology" Award  for his thesis on "Modeling Point Patterns, Measurement Error and Abundance for Exploring Species Distributions" advised by Alan Gelfand. This award  is bestowed each year to the  author of " ... a dissertation that makes outstanding contributions with novel Bayesian analysis of a substantive problem that has potential to impact statistical practice in a field of application"

Second, one recent PhD graduate and two current PhD students were awarded 2013 Student Travel Awards from the Section on Bayesian Statistical Science of the American Statistical Association. These awards are made based on a submitted research paper. The winners present their papers at the Joint Statistical Meetings and were recognized at the 2013 meetings in Montreal.  The winners are:

  • Fernando Bonassi Sudipto Bannerjee and Fernando Bonassi (Duke StatSci PhD 2013), for his paper with Mike West on "Sequential Monte Carlo with Adaptive Weights for Approximate Bayesian Computation"


  • Tsuyoshi Kunihama, Sudipto Bannerjee and Tsuyoshi Kunihamafor his paper with David Dunson on "Bayesian Modeling of Temporal Dependence in Large Sparse Contingency Tables"


  • Tommy Leininger, for his paper with  Alan Gelfand, Jenica Allen and John Silander on "Spatial Regression Modeling for Compositional Data with Many Zeros"Sudipto Bannerjee and Tommy Leininger