William S. Cleveland (Bill) received a B.A. in math from Princeton; his thesis advisor was Willy Feller, a famous probabilist. He received a PhD in Statistics from Yale; his advisor was Leonard Jimmie Savage who had resurrected Bayesian statistics by proving it was the optimal approach to statistical decision making. Manny Parzen and Marvin Zelen invited Bill to spend a summer at the
Statistics Department of SUNY at Buffalo. Bill then moved on to the Statistics Department at Bell Labs in 1971. There, he had much contact with John Tukey, who revolutionized statistics by developing and injecting into the field:
analytic methods defined algorithmically, what today we call machine learning; exploratory data analysis and data visualization; and computational methods and systems for data analysis. Bill embraced Tukey’s ideas. In 1999, in a talk at the ISI 52nd ISI Session, and in 2001 in a paper in the ISI Review, Bill advocated an action plan that would add algorithms, data exploration, and computing with data to the field of statistics, and named it “data science”, defining the term as it is used today. Bill also carried out significant work on these additions. In data visualization he published many papers, and wrote two books, The Elements of Graphing Data and Visualizing Data, now classics, and started the new field of graphical perception. He developed the widely used machine learning non-parametric methods loess and stl. In 2004, Bill became the Shanti S. Gupta Distinguished Professor of Statistics at Purdue University. Bill and graduate student Saptarshi Guha developed the Divide and Recombine statistical approach to big data, and implemented it by the RHIPE
software: R and Hadoop Integrated Programming Environment (RHIPE).
AWARDS: 2020, Honorary Doctorate from Hasselt University, Belgium; 2016, The Lifetime Achievement Award for Graphics and Computing from the American Statistical Association; 2016 Parzen Prize from Texas A&M University, given every two years since 1994 to a “statistician whose outstanding research contributions include innovations that have had impact on practice”; 2002 Highly Cited Researcher from the American Society for Information Science and Technology; 1996, Statistician of the Year from the Chicago Chapter of the ASA; Three prizes for papers in the journal Technometrics: Youden Prize twice, and the Wilcoxon Prize once. Bill is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the American Association of the Advancement of Science, and is an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute. Currently, Google Scholar shows 46,993 citations to his work.
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