Outstanding Science Alumni Awards 2006
LOH Wei Yin
LOH Wei Yin
BSc 1973, BSc(Hons) 1974, MSc 1975
Professor of Statistics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
LOH Wei Yin graduated from the University of Singapore with a BSc(Hons) in 1974 and an MSc in 1975, and continued to study for a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. After obtaining his PhD in 1982, he became an assistant professor in the Department of Statistics of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was promoted to full professor in 1990, in a short span of 8 years.
He has made significant and lasting impact in statistics. He has written 60 papers on areas ranging from statistical theory for interval estimation and hypothesis testing to machine learning algorithms for classification and nonparametric regression. His work on statistical theory which deals with fundamental issues in Efron's bootstrap method, D.R. Cox's test of separate families, and Pearson's chi-squared test of independence in a contingency table has been widely cited. He has also developed or co-developed four computer algorithms for classification and regression, which are widely used by people within and outside academia.
He has also taken an active interest in applied research. He is currently participating in two large collaborative projects: (i) a five-year clinical trial on smoking cessation in Wisconsin, a project funded by the US National Institutes of Health which involves numerous medical scientists and psychologists from several US universities, and (ii) a study of the air and sea weather patterns over the Earth's oceans in the last fifty years, a joint project with the geoscientists at a US Naval Research laboratory.
Professor Loh has served on the editorial boards of several international journals. In particular, he was an associate editor of the Annals of Statistics in 1989-91, editorial board member of Communications in Statistics in 1988-91, editorial committee member of the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society in 1992-99, associate editor of Statistica Sinica in 1991-2002, editorial committee member of the Journal of Machine Learning Research since 2001, and associate editor of the ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery in Data since 2006.
In recognition of his academic achievements, he was elected Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in 1991 and Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1998. Professor Loh is well known for his excellence in teaching and for being a caring teacher. To date, he has graduated 23 PhD students, many of whom work in industry and others in universities. He was awarded the Benjamin Smith Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1999, an annual award presented by the College of Engineering of the University of Wisconsin-Madison to the faculty member who contributes most to the instruction of engineering students.
In other services to the scientific community, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the International Chinese Statistical Association in 1993-96 and a member of the Committee on Nominations of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in 1995. He has also served on the review panel of the Research Council of Norway in 2005-09 and of the National Science Foundation since 2004.