Student Focus: Gaurav Agarwal

Gaurav Agarwal is a statistics Ph.D. student in the Environmental Statistics Group under the supervision of Professor Ying Sun. Photo courtesy of Gaurav Agarwal.

-By David Murphy, KAUST News

Gaurav Agarwal joined KAUST in the fall of 2016 as a statistics Ph.D. student in the Environmental Statistics Group under the supervision of Professor Ying Sun. Before joining KAUST, Agarwal completed a bachelor's degree in statistics from Hindu College, Delhi, and a master's degree in statistics from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur.

Statistics have been a passion and obsession for Agarwal from his school days. He has followed his love of statistics through his undergraduate degree and now wants to take it to new heights through his research.

Detecting the outliers

His current research focuses on developing statistical methods with environmental applications such as the mechanisms responsible for salt tolerance in plants.

"My first project at KAUST was motivated by this application in collaboration with the Salt Lab led by Professor Mark Tester. We plan to make the developed statistical methods easily available to use through a web application. Its user-friendly interface makes data analysis easier for people with little background in statistics. In my current research, we are developing data visualization and outlier detection techniques which have applications in the quality control of the radiosonde wind data," Agarwal noted.

Choosing KAUST

"I have found a good work-life balance at KAUST, and I am engaged in extracurricular activities such as the Global Expo, cultural events, dance and sports. After finishing my course requirements and actively beginning my research at KAUST, I got the opportunity to attend the NCAR Annual Graduate Workshop 2017 on environmental data analytics. I also had the chance to present my research at one of the biggest statistical conferences, the Joint Statistical Meetings 2017," Agarwal added.

"I like the multicultural community of KAUST—here, you get to meet new people from different disciplines and different cultures. The students at KAUST are highly competent, which creates a very professional environment in which to work," he concluded.