KAUST Assistant Professor Raphaël Huser receives American Statistical Association award

KAUST Assistant Professor Raphaël Huser recently won the American Statistical Association’s 2019 Section on Statistics and the Environment Early Investigator Award. Image courtesy of Raphaël Huser.

By David Murphy, KAUST News

KAUST Assistant Professor Raphaël Huser recently received the American Statistical Association's (ASA) 2019 Section on Statistics and the Environment (ENVR) Early Investigator Award for his outstanding contributions to environmental statistics. He accepted the award at the 2019 Joint Statistical Meetings held in Denver, Colorado, U.S., from July 27 to August 1.

Huser is based in the KAUST Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering Division, and his research focuses on the development of new models and methods for extreme events observed in space and time, with various applications in the environmental sciences.

The ASA award citation noted the impact of his research and granted the award "[f]or the development of highly flexible models for extreme events observed in space and time and the detailed study of their joint tail behavior; for the development of novel computationally efficient methods for multivariate extreme value distributions; and for an exceptionally wide range of environmental and risk assessment applications."

The University's Assistant Professor Raphaël Huser (left) is shown here receiving the American Statistical Association's 2019 Section on Statistics and the Environment (ENVR) Early Investigator Award. Pictured with him are University of British Columbia Professor Emeritus James V. Zidek (center), the chair of the ENVR Award Committee, and University of Cincinnati Associate Professor Emily Kang (right), the second recipient of 2019's ENVR Early Investigator Award. Image courtesy of Raphaël Huser.

"I am...extremely grateful [to receive the award]," Huser stated. "I'm especially grateful to my students and postdocs for their constant hard work; and to my collaborators; as well as to my statistics colleagues at KAUST and those from ENVR of the ASA; and to my nominators, without whose support this would not have been possible." 

Developing novel statistical models to better understand extreme weather events

Huser received his Ph.D. degree in statistics from the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in 2013. He also received his bachelor's degree in mathematics and his master's degree in applied mathematics from EPFL. After joining KAUST in 2014 as a postdoctoral fellow, Huser then transitioned to his current role as an assistant professor at the University in 2015. He is currently the principal investigator of the KAUST extSTAT research group.

KAUST Assistant Professor Raphaël Huser (center) noted he is grateful to members of his extSTAT research group (pictured here) for their support of his research efforts. Image courtesy of Raphaël Huser.

Areas of application involving Huser's research include the modeling of natural hazards such as heavy rainfall, heat or cold waves, strong wind gusts and devastating landslides and the assessment of financial risk in stock markets. He noted that the group will keep working at the forefront of these examples of extreme events and risk assessment by continuing to develop specialized models and methods for complex spatio-temporal processes.

"Extreme events behave fundamentally differently from averages. In the extSTAT research group, we develop novel statistical models to better understand the stochastic behavior of such rare assess and better predict their potential impact," he explained. "In the future, I will continue working on these topics, aiming at modeling increasingly complex spatio-temporal extreme-value processes, which require flexible and specialized models as well as efficient inference approaches in high dimensions."

Related stories: