Statistics is a wonderful discipline. It has it all: mathematics and philosophy, analysis and empiricism, as well as applicability, relevance, and the fascination of data. It demands clear thinking, good judgment, and flair. Statisticians are engaged in an exhausting but exhilarating struggle with the biggest challenge that philosophy makes to science: how do we translate information into knowledge? Statistics tells us how to evaluate evidence, how to design experiments, how to turn data into decisions, how much credence should be given to whom to what and why, how to reckon chances, and when to take them. Statistics deals with the very essence of the universe: chance and contingency are its discourse and statisticians know the vocabulary. If you think that statistics has nothing to say about what you do or how you could do it better, then you are either wrong or in need of a more interesting job. ~ Stephen Senn. Dicing with Death: Chance, Risk and Health
The research, teaching, and collaboration of the faculty in the Department of Statistics at Columbia have led to progress in the theory and applications of probability and statistics, from the development of likelihood ratio tests by Wald and Wolfowitz in the 1940s, through the work on decision theory by Howard Raiffa and Herbert Robbins in the 1950s, to pioneering work in more recent decades in probability theory, mathematical finance, Bayesian statistics, machine learning, and applications in epidemiology, bioinformatics, neurobiology, survey research, astronomy, and many other fields.
The Department offers a full range of courses in probability and theoretical and applied statistics. In addition to the department’s undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the department also participates in the university’s master’s programs in mathematical finance, actuarial science, data science, and quantitative methods in social science. The department hosts outstanding visiting faculty and postdoctoral fellows, and conducts specialized summer courses, workshops and seminars in advanced statistics, probability, and interdisciplinary topics. Our annual focus series consists of conferences devoted to cutting edge topics in modern statistics.