About us

Mission

As one of the top ten statistics departments in North America, our mission is to serve as a centre of excellence for statistical and actuarial research and education, across the campus, nationally and internationally. View more information about the Awards given to our faculty, staff and students.


U of T CampusThe Department of Statistical Sciences – Past, Present and Future

The Department of Statistics was initially formed as a graduate department in 1977 and it began operating as a full independent department in 1979 under the inaugural chairmanship of DAS Fraser, FRSC. The formation of the Department was the culmination of a rich history in statistical science at the University of Toronto. The University has produced a surprising number of great leaders in the discipline including Art Dempster, Rudy Beran, David Brillinger, John Chambers, Steve Fienberg, Daryl Pregibon, Mary Thompson, Ross Prentice, Rob Tibshirani, and Larry Wasserman. In actuarial science, the department has the oldest undergraduate program in North America with courses dating back to 1875.

Faculty and programs of research within the department developed many important innovations in statistical science. These include advances in foundational methods, conditional/structural inference and asymptotics; the development of flexible methods in statistical learning including generalized additive models, multivariate analysis, robust estimation, functional data analysis, Bayesian inference, designing efficient algorithms for statistical computation, including the theoretical analysis and design of Markov chain Monte Carlo samplers.

The importance of these innovations is reflected in the number of significant awards bestowed on the Department’s faculty including the prestigious COPSS Award. This highest international research honour in statistics has only been awarded three times to Canadian faculty and each of these was at the University of Toronto. In addition, three of our alumni have been awarded this distinction.

The explosion of interest in Data Science has triggered an accelerated expansion of the Department’s inter-disciplinary research and a rapid growth of our faculty ranks and undergraduate and graduate enrollments which are now among the highest in North America.

Currently the Department is comprised of 34 faculty, 12 staff members and approximately 50 graduate students.

Research in the Department

The department’s research strength is centered on excellence in theory and methods. In addition, many faculty members in the department have very successful collaborative research programs. Active research areas involve overlapping clusters of faculty and include actuarial science and mathematical finance (Badescu, Broverman, Jaimungal, Lin, Wong, Zhang), applied statistics (Alexander, Andrews, Brunner, Lou, Stafford), statistical genomics and genetics (Craiu, Bull, Evans, Kong,  Kustra, Neal, L. Sun, Q. Sun, Wang), statistical theory  (Brenner, Evans, Feurverger, Fraser, Knight, Reid, Srivastava, Stafford, Q. Sun, Volgushev, Wang, Yao, Zhou), probability (Quastel, Rosenthal, Virag), spatial/temporal modelling and functional data analysis (Brown, Knight, Simpson, Stafford, Volgushev, Yao, Zhou), Statistical Computation (Craiu, Duvenaud, Evans, Neal, Rosenthal, Roy), Bayesian inference and statistical learning (Brown, Craiu, Duvenaud, Evans, Kustra, Rosenthal, Roy, Simpson, L. Sun).

Affiliations

The Department has strong ties to the Division of Biostatistics in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the Artificial Intelligence group in the Department of Computer Science, the Probability group in the Department of Mathematics, the Masters of Mathematical Finance Program and Engineering Science in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering.

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