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2019 Rao Prize Conference 

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The Department of Statistics at Penn State will hold a one-day conference on Monday, May 6, 2019, to honor Professor Grace Wahba, the 2019 C. R. and Bhargavi Rao Prize Recipient, Professor Tailen Hsing, the 2019 C. G. Khatri Lecturer, and Professor Doug Nychka, the 2019 P. R. Krishnaiah Lecturer.

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The C. R. and Bhargavi Rao Prize was established by C. R. and Bhargavi Rao to honor and recognize outstanding and influential innovations in the theory and practice of mathematical statistics, international leadership in directing statistical research, and pioneering contributions by a recognized leader in the field of statistics.

The C. G. Khatri Memorial Lectureship and P. R. Krishnaiah Memorial Lectureship, which began as two Visiting Scholars programs in 1992, honor the memory of C. G. Khatri and P. R. Krishnaiah by inviting outstanding researchers in statistics to deliver lectures at Penn State.

Grace Wahba

Rao Prize Winner

Grace Wahba
The University of Wisconsin - Madison

"How to incorporate personal densities into predictive 
models: Pairwise density distances, Regularized
Kernel Estimation 
and Smoothing Spline
ANOVA models."


Tailen Hsing

Khatri Lecturer

Tailen Hsing

University of Michigan

"Space-Time Data, Intrinsic Stationarity and Functional Models" 


More about Tailen Hsing

Doug Nychka

Krishnaiah Lecturer 

Doug Nychka

Colorado School of Mines

"Non-stationary spatial data: think globally act locally"


More about Doug Nychka

Dr. Ming


Ming Yuan

Columbia University

"Low-Rank Tensor Methods in High Dimensional Data Analysis"


More about Ming Yuan

Bharath Sriperumbudur


Bharath K. Sriperumbudur

Penn State University


About Bharath Sriperumbudur

Alex Smola


Alex Smola

Amazon Web Services

More about Alex Smola

Helen Zhang


Hao Helen Zhang

"Scalable and Model-free Methods for Multiclass Probability Estimation"


More about Helen Zhang




Session 1
Rao Prize Winner: Grace Wahba
Ming Yuan, Columbia University
Bharath Sriperumbudur, Penn State University

Session 2
Khatri Lecturer: Tailen Hsing, University of Michigan
Alex Smola, Amazon Web Services

Session 3
Krishnaiah Lecturer: Doug Nychka, Colorado School of Mines
Hao Helen Zhang, University of Arizona



The one-day (8:00 am - 5:00 pm) conference will be held on the University Park campus of Penn State University in 100 Life Sciences, Berg Auditorium. University Park campus map for more details. 

Poster Session Information

All Rao Prize Conference registrants, in particular statistics Ph.D. students,  are invited to participate in the poster session, third-floor bridge of the Life Sciences Building from 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm lunch included.  
* We strongly encourage students in the Statistics Ph.D. program in particular.

Organizing Committee

Lorey BurghardJim Rosenberger, , and Lingzhou Xue.


For further information, please contact Lorey Burghard at

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