Canadian Journal of Statistics pays tribute to Professor Mary Thompson


  • Author: Professor Changbao Wu
  • Date: 15 Nov 2012
  • Copyright: Photograph appears courtesy of Professor Changbao Wu

The latest issue of Canadian Journal of Statistics is a special issue dedicated to Professor Mary Thompson which has been posted online this week. Guest Editor Professor Changbao Wu here pays tribute to Professor Thompson.

thumbnail image: Canadian Journal of Statistics pays tribute to Professor Mary Thompson

Professor Mary Thompson has had a remarkable career in statistical research. She is internationally recognized for her pioneering and foundational work on the theory of estimating functions, survey methodology, biostatistics, and important interdisciplinary collaborative research. She also held many leadership roles in the Statistical Society of Canada, the Survey Research Centre at the University of Waterloo, and the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project.

The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at the University of Waterloo has been very fortunate to have served as the academic home for Mary during the past 43 years. She played a key role in shaping the department and has been a source of inspiration for students and colleagues. She leads by example and sets the standard for quality, relevance and rigour to which we all aspire in our own work. The department was pleased and honored to host the conference, Foundations and Frontiers, on October 28 and 29, 2011, to celebrate Mary Thompson and her many important contributions to the statistical sciences. The conference featured six thematic sessions representing many of Mary's interests. A banquet, for which Professor K. Steve Brown of University of Waterloo served as Master of Ceremony, was held on the evening of October 28. On this occasion, more informal tributes to Mary were given by colleagues and by graduate students who had the pleasure of working with her.

This special issue of Canadian Journal of Statistics contains nine papers which were presented at the conference. The first paper is based on the banquet speech by David Bellhouse who gave an informative and humorous “historical” account of Mary’s career. Moodie et al. extend the Q-learning methodology to incorporate measured confounding covariates for assessing dynamic treatment regimes. Zhang and Small use a longitudinal data set from a study of Indonesia children to develop a methodology for causal inference with continuous time response processes when covariates are only observed at discrete time points. Chipman et al. discuss sequential learning in computer experiments involving very flexible models and ensemble methodology with particular attention to Bayesian Additive Regression Trees. Lohr and Brick propose methods for small domain estimation when combining data from two surveys with possible biases.

Skinner and Mason discuss weighting methods for regression analysis using unequal probability survey samples and their proposed modified weights lead to more efficient estimation of the regression coefficients. Lindsay and Yao show how the decomposition of the Fisher scores into orthogonal terms can be used to create new decompositions of the Fisher information that are akin to a matrix analysis of variance. Reid provides discussions on likelihood inference in complex settings, such as problems in stochastic modelling, estimating equations, and survey sampling. Li et al. propose variable selection and estimation in generalized linear models using the seamless penalized likelihood approach and show that their proposed procedure has better finite sample performances than several existing methods.

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