Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor, 2019
Steve MacEachern is professor and chair in the Department of Statistics, and he holds a courtesy appointment as professor of psychology. He is noted for contributions to Bayesian methods, which combine experimental and observational data with our external-to-the-data knowledge of the world in a principled fashion to improve decision making and prediction. MacEachern has developed computational methods and classes of models that have received intensive study within statistics and that are heavily used by industry and throughout the academic world. His development of models for a collection of related distributions, dependent Dirichlet processes, has been particularly influential.
In keeping with his wide-ranging research interests, he has served as advisor for 25 PhD students who have written dissertations on topics that range from the purely mathematical to heavily computational to applied. Much of the work has been dedicated to modelling — the development of novel classes of models, exploration of models’ properties and evaluation of the quality of a model’s fit; to inference — the development and implementation of robust and efficient methods of making decisions; and to synthesis — the acquisition and combination of various sources of data and information to enhance understanding and improve prediction. He has collaborated with 16 current and former faculty members in the Department of Statistics and with many researchers elsewhere.
He has served as president of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis and has had numerous service roles for the American Statistical Association and other professional societies, including serving as program chair for the 2012 Joint Statistical Meetings. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and elected member of the International Statistical Institute. He has won awards for excellence in teaching and research. His research has been funded by the Bureaus of the Census and Justice, the National Science Foundation, the National Security Agency and Ohio State’s Nationwide Center for Advanced Customer Insights.
He joined Ohio State in 1988 immediately upon receiving his PhD in statistics from the University of Minnesota. Prior to his graduate work, he received a BA in Mathematics from Carleton College.