Head of Discipline: Professor Simon WilsonThe Statistics Discipline consists of 7 full time academic staff. Its research is primarily concerned with applying the principles of statistical inference and decision theory to applications in a wide variety of areas of science and engineering. Current examples include environmental science, epidemiology, computer science and astronomy. To this end the Discipline has national and international collaborations with scientists in other disciplines, as well as with statisticians across the globe. All of these research areas are ultimately concerned with developments in statistical theory and methodology, and the interest of the Discipline lies in finding classes of problems that challenge existing methods, and in recruiting young researchers who will rise to such challenges.
OriginsThe Statistics Department was founded in 1966. As well as theoretical and applied statistics, members of the department had research interests in information systems. In 2005 the Department merged with the Department of Computer Science in 2005 to form the School of Computer Science and Statistics, with the Statistics Discipline formed from members of the Department whose principal research and teaching interests were in Statistics.
As well as 7 full-time academics, there are 2 full-time post-doctoral researchers, 10 Ph.D. students and a number of research associates in the Discipline. A common theme is to develop statistical methods of analysis for large and complex data sets that appear in many fields of science, engineering and the humanities. These present problems of both modelling and of computation; finding methods of analysis that can be practically computed in a reasonable amount of time is one of the biggest challenges in current statistical research. Most of the research makes use of the ideas of Bayesian statistical inference.
Recent research highlights of the Discipline include developments in statistical methods to separate the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) and reconstructing palaeoclimate.
For the last 5 years there has been a very active collaboration with Bell Labs on issues surrounding the reliability of telecommunications systems. There are also collaborations with Intel through the TRIL centre on independent living and Sony-Toshiba-IBM on computer graphic and visualisation.
The Discipline's research funding comes from diverse sources. Currently the largest sponsor is Science Foundation Ireland. It funds Simon Wilson's research group STATICA until the end of 2012 through its Principal Investigator grant. John Haslett also receives funding from SFI.Cathal Walsh's research on disease modelling is funded by the Irish Department of Agriculture on disease modelling and statistical issues around independent living is funded through the TRIL centre. IRCSET funds PhD students of Simon Wilson and Rozenn Dahyot, who also receives research funding from Enterprise Ireland.