I was drawn to the discipline of statistics by a fascination with randomness, and by the way it blends mathematics and scientific content. I have enjoyed interactions with researchers in many areas, especially the natural sciences, which have given me opportunities to learn about these fields and to make contributions to them. Underlying these separate analyses are paradigms of statistical methodology that have been developed over the last 100 years. This evolution accelerates as statisticians confront new challenges in the information age.
I am especially interested in formulating methods for analyzing data that arise in the form of random functions, such as time series, and which involve large quantities of data and computationally intensive analysis. My recent work has centered around projects in astronomy.
Small bodies with radii >100 km have recently been detected in the outer regions of the solar system (the Kuiper Belt) using large telescopes. The purpose of the Taiwanese American Occultation Survey (TAOS) is to measure directly the number of these objects (KBO's) down to the typical size of cometary nuclei (a few km). When a KBO moves in between the earth and a distant star it will block the starlight momentarily. A telescope monitoring the starlight will thus see it blinking. Foremost among the statistical problems is the necessity of developing methods to detect very rare, faint events in very large quantities of data.
A gamma-ray pulsar is a rotating neutron star that emits gamma-ray photons. A statistical challenge is to infer from a sequence of arrival times of such photons, whether the source is periodic, corresponding to a pulsar, or whether it is constant, corresponding to background radiation.
I am involved in a collaboration here at Berkeley with astronomers, statisticians, and computer scientists, that is aimed at developing methods to detect and identify transient events in the massive data produced by large surveys.
M. J. Lehner, N. K. Coehlo, Z.W.. Zhang, F. B. Bianco, J.-H. Wang, J. A. Rice, P. Protopapas, C. Alcock, T. Axelrod, Y.-I. Byun, W. P. Chen, K. H. Cook, I. de Pater, D.-W. Kim, S.-K. King, T. Lee, S. L. Marshall, M. E. Schwamb, S.-Y. Wang, and C.-Y. Wen. (2010). The TAOS Project: Statistical Analysis of Multi-Telescope Time Series Data. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 122, 959-875
J.-H. Wang, M. J. Lehner, Z.-W. Zhang, F. B. Bianco, C. Alcock, W.-P. Chen, T. Axelrod, Y.-I. Byun, N. K. Coehlo, K. H. Cook, R. Dave, I. de Pater, R. Porrata, D.-W. Kim, S.-K. King, T. Lee, H.-C. Lin, J. J. Lissauer, S. L. Marshall, P. Protopapas, J. A. Rice, M. E. Schwamb, S.-Y. Wang, and C.-Y. Wen. (2009). Upper Limits on the Number of Small Bodies in Sedna-Like Orbits by the TAOS Project. Astronomical Journal, 138:1893-1901.
F. B. Bianco, Z.-W. Zhang, M. J. Lehner, S. Mondal, S. K. King, J. Giammarco, M. J. Holman, N. K. Coehlo, J.-H. Wang, C. Alcock, T. Axelrod, Y.-I. Byun, W. P. Chen, K. H. Cook, R. Dave, I. de Pater, D.-W. Kim, T. Lee, H.-C. Lin, J. J. Lissauer, S. L. Marshall, P. Protopapas, J. A. Rice, M. E. Schwamb, S.-Y. Wang, and C.-Y. Wen. (2010). The TAOS Project: Upper Bounds on the Population of Small KBOs and Tests of Models of Formation and Evolution of the Outer Solar System. Astronomical Journal, 139:1499-1514.
Bickel, P. Rice, J, and Meinshausen, M. (2009). Efficient blind search: optimal power of detection under computational cost constraints. Annals of Applied Statistics 3, 38-60.
Bickel, P., Kleijn, B., and Rice, J. (2008). Event weighted tests for detecting periodicity in photon arrival times. The Astrophysical Journal 685, 384-389.
Bickel, P., Kleijn, B., and Rice, J. (2007). On detecting periodicity in astronomical point processes. In Statistical Challenges in Modern Astronomy,Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, 371.
Meinshausen, N. and Rice, J. (2006) Estimating the proportion of false null hypotheses among a large number of independently tested hypotheses. Annals of Statistics 34: 373-393.