Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award 2019
Xiaoxiao Sun, who completed his Ph.D. in statistics in 2018, is now a tenure-track assistant professor at the University of Arizona. He has combined creativity, computational skills and statistical knowledge to take on important challenges in the modern development of data science. Although he focused on statistical theory and methodology development in his doctoral research, he also spearheaded several bioinformatics projects, including one that addressed the issue of statistical computing in big data. For decades, asymptotic theory has been the most common theoretical analysis in statistics and has been used to extrapolate the statistical inference in moderate size samples. But some have questioned whether this analytical method can be translated into practice with the rise of big data. He came up with a simple two-step translational method for big data analysis that performs better than competing methods in terms of both accuracy and computational time.