Art Owen, The Canadian Journal of Statistics Award 2014

Art B. Owen
The Canadian Journal of Statistics Award
2014
“Self-concordance for empirical likelihood” (Volume 41, no. 3, pp. 387-397)

The Canadian Journal of Statistics Award is presented each year by the Statistical Society of Canada to the author(s) of an article published in the Journal, in recognition of the outstanding quality of the paper’s methodological innovation and presentation. This year’s winner is the article entitled “Self-concordance for empirical likelihood” (Volume 41, no. 3, pp. 387-397) by Art B. Owen.

Empirical likelihood provides likelihood-based confidence regions and tests without requiring the user to know a parametric family generating the data. The computation of the empirical likelihood ratio function for the mean reduces to a convex optimization. This paper reformulates empirical likelihood optimization as the minimization of a self-concordant convex function. Under self-concordance there is a mathematical guarantee of convergence for Newton iterations with backtracking. Art Owen is a professor of Statistics at Stanford University. He holds a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo, and a PhD in Statistics from Stanford University. His research interests focus on measuring uncertainty from data with minimal assumptions. This includes the method of empirical likelihood, which provides likelihood inferences without assuming parametric model forms. He has also worked on randomized quasi-Monte Carlo which attains close to an error rate n -3/2 for integration of smooth multidimensional functions while allowing sample driven error estimates.

The award-winning paper will be presented by Professor Owen at the Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada to be held in Toronto, Ontario, May 25-28.