Professor of Statistics Donald B. Rubin has been awarded the S.S. Wilks Medal by the American Statistical Association for a lifetime contribution to statistics.
"There are so many worthy people who might have received it that I felt very honored," Rubin said, adding that at 51, he may be the youngest person to win the award in the last 30 years.
"One of the very nice things about being a statistician is that you're able to interact with a variety of scientists and researchers in many different fields," he said.
The award committee cited Rubin's contributions to "statistics and methodology, particularly in causal inference; design and analysis of experimental and sample surveys treatment of missing data; Bayesian data analysis, methods of imputations for non-response; equating tests; and a variety of applications."
Rubin said Bayesian data analysis refers to methods that build probability distributions for unknown quantities. Imputation is filling in for missing data, as when people in surveys refuse to answer some questions. Equating refers to the process used by testing organizations such as Educational Testing Services to ensure different forms of a test are basically equivalent.