The Department of Statistical Science (DSS) began the 2005-2006 academic year as a department of Cornell University 's Faculty of Computing and Information Science (CIS). Previously, it was affiliated with Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR). The change recognizes that the research and objectives of DSS mesh with the mission of CIS.
"Association with CIS makes good intellectual sense to both units since statistics was the first information science," said Robert L. Constable, dean of CIS. "In CIS, statisticians and computer scientists will explore a deepening common research ground, and together will hire in core computational statistics."
The work done in DSS impacts areas across campus, including, for example, genomics and computational biology, manipulating data collected by the Lab of Ornithology, empirical legal questions, and computational finance. Statistics at Cornell is growing. It is at the core of most research initiatives, and the department will continue to reach out to new research areas.
DSS's priorities and its support for Cornell's research community remain unchanged, as will its administrative structure.
"We have many joint interests and commonalities," said Martin Wells, chair of DSS and Cornell University professor. "DSS has its roots in the field of mathematics, just as the Department of Computer Science does. Statistics is an information science. We design studies, collect and analyze data, and make conclusions; CIS is the most logical home for work of this nature."
Statistics were originally handled at Cornell by the Statistics Center , which organized efforts surrounding statistics and ran the graduate program. In the late 1990s, DSS was created as was the Masters of Professional Studies in Applied Statistics. As a department, statistics was initially part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) before joining the School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 1997. DSS does not have any faculty per se; statistics faculty are members of various colleges and departments across campus, including ILR, CALS, Biology, Mathematics, and Engineering and Operations Research. In the most recent national research council rankings, Cornell's Statistics Ph. D. program ranked in the top five, earning the highest ranking for any of Cornell's graduate programs.
"We work with many blurred boundaries," said Wells, adding, "and we use them to our advantage. Our collaborative relationships and joint appointments open many doors for us and highlight opportunities where the use of statistics can contribute significantly to the data driven sciences."