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Center for Statistics and Machine Learning Established at Princeton

1 January 2015 656 views No Comment

Princeton University recently established the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning. John Storey, a professor of molecular biology at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, has been named the center’s director.

The center will anchor the teaching of and research in statistics and machine learning on campus, Storey said, offering an undergraduate certificate and graduate training in the field.

“Given the growing importance and prominence of machine learning and statistics in both industry and academia, it is crucial for Princeton undergraduates to have access to a first-rate education in these areas,” Storey said. “The interest from students here has gone up tremendously. They’re living in this data-rich world.”

The idea to establish a center at Princeton emerged from a campus gathering in 2011 when faculty and others met to discuss their common interest in statistics and machine learning.

“It’s kind of a beautiful thing how organically it happened,” Storey said. The faculty and other researchers realized how much work they were doing, how much they had in common, and the increasing prominence of the field.

Storey said data-driven scientific discovery is a significant component in a wide area of study—from politics and economics to neuroscience and his own field of genomics, where “we’re sequencing everything we can get our hands on, generating massive amounts of data.”

The university began offering undergraduates a certificate in statistics and machine learning during the 2013–2014 academic year, a program that Kosuke Imai, a politics professor, directs.

Like many cross-disciplinary programs at Princeton, the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning will involve faculty from various departments: Storey, Imai, and others, including Jianqing Fan, the Frederick L. Moore, Class of 1918, Professor in Finance and chair of the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering.

For more information about the program, visit the Princeton University website.

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