University of Idaho - I Banner
A student works at a computer


U of I's web-based retention and advising tool provides an efficient way to guide and support students on their road to graduation. Login to VandalStar.

Jon A. Wellner Lecture

The 2019 Jon A. Wellner Lecture

Tuesday, September 24, 2019
3:00 p.m. – Refreshments in the Paul J. Joyce Faculty-Staff Lounge, Brink Hall
4:00 p.m. – Lecture in TLC 031


Nonparametric Inference Under Shape Constraints: Past, Present and Future


Richard J. Samworth, Ph.D.
Professor of Statistical Science and Director of the Statistical Laboratory, University of Cambridge


Traditionally, we think of statistical methods as being divided into parametric approaches, which can be restrictive, but where estimation is typically straightforward (e.g. using maximum likelihood), and nonparametric methods, which are more flexible but often require careful choices of tuning parameters. The area of nonparametric inference under shape constraints sits somewhere in the middle, seeking in some ways the best of both worlds. I will give an introduction to this currently very active area, providing some history, recent developments and a future outlook.

About the Speaker

Professor Richard J. Samworth's main research interests are in nonparametric and high-dimensional statistics. Particular topics include shape-constrained estimation problems; data perturbation methods (e.g. subsampling, bootstrap sampling, random projections, knockoffs); nonparametric classification; (conditional) independence testing; estimation of entropy and other functionals; changepoint detection and estimation; missing data; variable selection; and applications, including genetics, archaeology and oceanography.


  • Fellow of the American Statistical Association
  • Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics
  • The Royal Statistical Society?s Research Prize in 2008
  • The Guy Medal in Bronze, Royal Statistical Society, in 2012
  • The COPSS Presidents' Award 2018
  • IMS Medallion Lecture 2018
  • The Adams Prize 2017
  • Philip Leverhulme Prize 2014

Previous Lectures

University of Idaho Wellner Lecture

Nonparametric Inference Under Shape Constraints: Past, Present and Future by Richard Samworth

About the Jon A. Wellner Lecture

The Jon A. Wellner Lecture was established by Jon and Vera Wellner to provide educational experiences outside the classroom for students and faculty and to help to raise the profile of the University of Idaho by bringing well-known experts in the fields of statistics and probability to Moscow.


Physical Address:
Brink Hall 300

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 1103
Moscow, ID 83844-1103

Phone: 208-885-6742

Fax: 208-885-5843


Web: Department of Mathematics