RAND Statistics Seminar Series

Fifty Years of Empirical Bayes

Presented by Bradley Efron, Stanford University
Thursday, October 27, 2005
10:30 a.m.
RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA
Forum m-1226-1228
Please contact Teddi Sanchez if you would like to attend this seminar.


Scientific inference is the process of reasoning from observed data back to its underlying mechanism. The two great schools of statistical inference, Bayesian and frequentist, have competed over the past two centuries, often bitterly, for scientific supremacy. Empirical Bayes, a novel hybrid, appeared in the early 1950's, showing promise of immense possible gains in inferential accuracy. Nevertheless it has languished in the statistics literature, with its gains viewed as suspicious and even paradoxical by Bayesians and frequentists alike. New scientific technology, exemplified by dna microarrays, has suddenly revived interest in empirical Bayes methods. This talk, which is aimed at a general scientific audience, examines the ideas involved through a series of real examples, and proceeds with a minimum of technical development.

Speaker Biography

Bradley Efron, PhD
Max H. Stein Professor
Professor of Statistics and of Health Research
Policy; CHP/PCOR Fellow

Professor Efron is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, president of the American Statistical Association, recipient of the MacArthur Prize, and winner of the Wilks Medal of the American Statistical Association. Professor Efron is renowned internationally for his pioneering work in computationally intensive statistical methods that substitute computer power for mathematical formulas, particularly the bootstrap method. The goal of this research is to extend statistical methodology in ways that make analysis more realistic and applicable for complicated problems. He consults actively in the application of statistical analyses to a wide array of health care evaluations.

Attending a Seminar

RAND Visitors are welcome to attend the statistics seminars, but must RSVP at least one day prior to the seminar. To ensure your attendance, contact Ms. Teddi Sanchez at (tsanchez@rand.org) with your name, company or university affiliation, and national citizenship (for security purposes). Light refreshments will be served.

For directions to RAND see: http://www.rand.org/about/locations/santa-monica.html
Visitors must enter through the north-parking garage, which is accessible from Main Street in our new office building. Inform the attendant that you are there for the Statistics Seminar Series and you will be directed to the appropriate parking area. If there is no attendant present, use the intercom and tell them that you are here for the Statistics Seminar Series. After parking, follow the instructions to the appropriate conference area. (1776 Main Street)

Reminder: the old RAND surface parking lots have been permanently closed.

For further information and to be added to the mailing list contact Teddi Sanchez (tsanchez@rand.org).