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Donald Richards presents invited address at world’s largest mathematics meeting

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Donald Richards, professor of statistics at Penn State University, presented the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) - American Mathematical Society (AMS) Invited Address at the Joint Mathematics Meeting (JMM) in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 6, 2017. The JMM is the largest mathematics meeting in the world. This year’s meeting is the 100th annual meeting of the MAA and the 123rd annual meeting of the AMS.

Don RichardsRichards’ talk, titled “Distance Correlation: A New Tool for Detecting Association and Measuring Correlation Between Data,” addressed the age-old question of establishing the cause of an event. He discussed a recently developed method for measuring the association of two events -- the distance correlation coefficient -- and its advantages over traditional methods. Richards presented examples covering topics ranging from the classification of galaxies from large astrophysical datasets to the association of homicide rates with the stringency of gun laws.

Richards’ research interests in statistics include multivariate statistical analysis, reliability theory, combinatorics, probability inequalities, representation theory, and harmonic analysis. He applies these methods to questions in topics ranging from astronomy and astrophysics to finance.

Richards was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in 1998 and was elected a member of the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society in 2012. He has served on the editorial boards of several statistics journals, is currently co-editor of Statistics Surveys, and is associate editor of The Journal of the American Statistical Association and Statistics and Probability Letters.

Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Richards held positions at the University of the West Indies, the University of North Carolina, the University of Wyoming, and the University of Virginia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1976 and a doctoral degree in statistics in 1978 at the 

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