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Luc Devroye wins Statistical Society of Canada gold medal

The Statistical Society of Canada (SSC) today announced that Professor Luc Devroye of McGill University has been awarded the 2008 SSC Gold Medal. The Gold Medal is the highest award of the SSC and is awarded to a person who has made substantial contributions to statistics or probability, either in mathematical development or in applied work. The Gold Medal is intended to honor outstanding current leaders in their fields. The formal announcement of this award was made by SSC President Christian Genest at the SSC Annual Meeting held in Ottawa.

Born in Belgium, Luc Devroye studied at the Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven, at Osaka University and at the University of Texas in Austin, where he received his Ph.D. in 1976 under the supervision of Professor Terry Wagner. He joined the School of Computer Science at McGill University in Montréal in 1977 and has remained there ever since, becoming a Full Professor in 1987 and a James McGill Professor in 2003.

Professor Devroye's research interests are quite wide. His Ph.D. was in the area of non-parametric statistics and density estimation, an area in which he has been very active and influential publishing five books. His work has led to a comprehensive theory of nonparametric density estimation, and to distribution-free approaches to pattern recognition. Another area of major interest for Professor Devroye has been random number generation. He is the author of the highly successful book "Non-Uniform Random Variate Generation." Published in 1986, this book is one of the most comprehensive accounts of algorithms and general methodologies for generating random variables with specified distributions. In recent years this topic has become increasingly important in view of the increased interest in computational and simulation based approaches to inference, particularly in the area of Bayesian statistics. Other research interests include the probabilistic analysis of algorithms as well as the study of random trees, graphs, and other complex data structures.

In his career Professor Devroye has received many prestigious awards including an E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship (1987), a Humboldt Research Award (2004), and the Killam Prize (2005). He has supervised students from every continent but Australia and hopes that one day all students from all countries will have access to excellent free education.

The Gold Medal award citation reads: "To Luc Devroye, for outstanding research contributions in the fields of random number generation, density estimation, pattern recognition, and the analysis of algorithms and data structures."

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