## Conferences Celebrate C. R. Rao’s 90th Birthday

*S. B. Rao and T. J. Rao, C. R. Rao Advanced Institute of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science*

Two recent conferences celebrated the 90th birthday of C. R. Rao, a Fellow of the American Statistical Association. The International Conference on Frontiers of Interface Between Statistics and Sciences took place in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India, December 30, 2009, through January 2, 2010, and was organized by a new institute named after C. R. Rao: C. R. Rao Advanced Institute of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science (C. R. RAO AIMSCS). The Advances in Statistical Science conference took place in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, January 10–11 and was organized by the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI).

The Hyderabad conference was attended by 250 people from the United States, Europe, and Japan and a number of C. R. Rao’s students working in different parts of the world. The highlights of the conference were plenary talks by Abel Laureate S. R. S. Varadhan, IEEE Medal of Honor Laureate T. Kailath, and Robert Koch Fellow S. E. Hasnain and the presentation of about 170 research papers on bioinformatics, econometrics and socioeconomic planning, astrostatistics, machine learning, game theory, data mining, mimo wireless, operations research, cryptology, environmetrics, and multivariate statistical inference.

A one-day session was organized by K. R. Parthasarathy on quantum statistical inference that highlighted the role of the quantum Cramér-Rao bound, which provides a more precise bound than Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty.

T. J. Rao and G. M. Naidu organized a session devoted to research contributions made by C. R. Rao that generated several technical terms in statistics bearing his name and led to considerable research. In sessions organized by J. S. Rao, references also were made to his contributions to multivariate analysis, diversity measures, and characterizations of probability distributions.

T. N. Srinivasan and T. K. Kumar organized sessions on econometrics, and A. Kondapi organized sessions on biotechnology.

The conference was inaugurated on December 30, 2009, with a function to honor C. R. Rao for his achievements in the field of statistics and his service to India. A highlight was the release of a special postal cover bearing a portrait of C. R. Rao and cancellation with the logo of C. R. RAO AIMSCS.

On the eve of the international conference, a function was held to celebrate the opening of Prof. C. R. Rao Road, a stretch covering the University of Hyderabad and several educational institutions. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation resolved to name the road after C. R. Rao in recognition of the services rendered by the “legendary figure of Indian Science, Padma Vibhushan Prof. C. R. Rao, world’s renowned statistician.”

The conference in Kolkata also was well attended by participants from a number of countries. A highlight of the conference was the presentation of an album containing 168 photos taken of C. R. Rao with others at various functions during his 40 years of service at ISI.

At the age of 90, C. R. Rao continues to be active, publishing research papers and promoting statistical education and research in India. He has published about 50 papers and helped edit 14 statistics handbooks since he retired in 2000.

Prof (Dr) S Demansaid:I was on the International Committee for the CR Rao’ 90th Birthday Conference and I was also invited to present a paper in econometrics session. I had a great time at the conference including facing a blockade by Telengana Protestors at the University Gate, of course not against the conference per say. It was my lucky day for using my skills of negotiating with the students’ protestors who ultimately allowed us to go through the main gate of the university. My fellow colleagues were very curious and asked me what I told the students so that they let us through. I said that I spoke to them in their own language and at their level and we understood each others.

This was the second occasion when I attended an international conference in honour of an International dignitary and doyen in the subject. My first conference was in Honour of Professor Robert Aumann and to felicitate 1994 Noble Prize to Prof John Nash, Prof Selton and Prof Harsanyi for their contribution to application of Game theory to economics. This prompted me to brows the Noble Prizes given to non economists although there is no Nobel Prize in Statistics or Mathematics. Among the recipients notables are: John Nash, Harsnyai (1994 Noble Prize) and Robert Aumann (2005 Nobel Prize). Profs Nash & Aumann are more known as mathematicians than economists. In fact, Nash’s main work is in Differential Geometry, partial differential equations and work on Game theory was in passing. In fact, he has not worked on Game theory or economics since his seminal paper on Nash Equilibrium. I guess in 1950 when he was 21 year old, a Graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. However, he shared 1994 Nobel Prize with Harsnyai and Selton for their work on game of incomplete information and noncooperation and its application to economics. Of course, Game theory has never been a recognized subject until1980s. in fact, first formal mathematical definition of Common Knowledge was given by Robert Aumann in 1972, again a Mathematician although the concept was known to Confucius and known as his dialogue with his teacher:

“I know that you know, you know that I know, I know that you know that I know, and so on”,(See, last Emperor of China and my PhD Thesis which was examined by Prof Rao). I discovered two other students, Prof T Parthasarthy and Prof Raghavan, well known Game theorists were also Prof Rao’s students.

Prof. Aumann received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2005 for his work on conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis. He shared the prize with Thomas Schelling, an economist. If we keep that thought in background and contrast with Prof Rao’s contribution to Econometrics, a well recognized branch of knowledge of economics (part of Ontology), it far exceeds the contribution of Nash & Aumann put together. In fact, many volumes of published by North-Holland, econometrics journals and interviews attest to this. If one include Prof Rao’s research contribution to biochemistry, physics and biology, etc., that is phenomenal. Although US President conferred on Prof CR Rao title of National Science Laureate and gave him a Gold Medal in 2002 I really don’t understand why Prof Rao was not nominated for Nobel Prize for his contribution to application of statistics to various subjects including economics in which there is a Nobel Prize.