Douglas Nychka elected IMS Fellow

By Brian Bevirt
08/28/2015 - 12:00am

Doug Nychka, a CISL scientist, was named a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) at the 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings in Seattle, Washington on 10 August 2015. “I was both surprised and flattered that my colleagues felt that the body of work I’ve produced was this significant, wrote recommendations for my nomination, then selected me for this honor,” said Doug after the ceremony. “NCAR, and CISL in particular, also share this honor because my individual accomplishment is really tied to their longstanding support for the role of statistics in climate research, creating IMAGe, and giving a statistician a management role.”

Doug rock climbing
Doug enjoys recreational rock climbing on the uplifted sandstone behind the NCAR Mesa Lab. This is the "touch monkey" route (11b) on Der Zerkel.

Doug was recognized for his “outstanding theoretical contributions to nonparametric regression and the statistical analysis of dynamical systems; for development of widely used statistical software; for leadership in statistical climatology research and advocacy for statistics.” The IMS is an international scholarly society of about 4,500 members worldwide devoted to the development and dissemination of the theory and applications of statistics and probability. The qualifications for IMS Fellow include distinction in research in statistics or probability and support from several letters of recommendation. Other IMS Fellows include statisticians, probabilists, applied mathematicians, economists, engineers, and geneticists.

Other awards in Doug’s career include the 2004 Jerry Sacks Award for Multidisciplinary Research, and being elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 2003. In addition to being Director of IMAGe, he is also a Senior Scientist in the Geophysical Statistics Project (GSP). His work enriches the scientific and educational activity at NCAR by adding a perspective on data analysis and uncertainty quantification to modeling and scientific computing. He also uses the large scientific projects at NCAR to engage the mathematical science communities in new applications and to motivate new mathematics and statistics. Recent research interests include spatial statistics for large data sets and an application of hierarchical models to the reconstruction of past climate. The newest R package from his work is LatticeKrig, a spatial data package that uses sparse matrix algorithms to handle large spatial data sets.

Doug Nychka is well known for groundbreaking and multidisciplinary research that spans a wide range from basic statistical science to atmospheric science, climatology, environmetrics, and the geosciences. Through his own work and through his direction as a project leader, active research collaborator, and mentor of early-career statisticians, he has influenced the modeling and analysis of atmospheric data, such as those in ocean winds, dispersion of pollutants, extreme precipitation, and the assessment of climate models.