Do one thing, and do it well

Professor Haavard Rue is an internationally known expert in Bayesian computational statistics. In KAUST, Professor Rue has established the Bayesian Computational Statistics & Modeling research group that focuses on developing efficient Bayesian inference schemes and tools to improve Bayesian inference and modeling within the class of latent Gaussian models.

Education and early career

Haavard Rue received his Ph.D. from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 1993. He started as a faculty at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 1994, and from 1997 as a full Professor.  He also held adjunct positions at the Norwegian Computing Center and the Arctic University of Norway. From 2017, Rue is a Full Professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal, Saudi-Arabia.

Areas of expertise and current scientific interests

Rue has pioneered the field of Bayesian computational statistics by developing fast deterministic approximations for latent Gaussian models and developing the stochastic partial differential equations approach for spatial Gaussian fields. Most of his research is centered around developing model components, various tools and new priors for this class of models, and make them available in the R-INLA package.

Editorial activities

Rue is also an Editor of the journal Stat (the ISI’s journal for the rapid dissemination of statistical research), and previously an associated editor of  Journal of Royal Statistical Society series B, Scandinavian Journal of Statistics, Annals of Statistics, Statistical Surveys and Environmetrics.

Career recognitions

Rue has presented two read papers for the Royal Statistical Society (2009, 2011), published in series JRSS series B. Rue is an elected member of The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Royal Norwegian Society of Science and Letters, and The Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences, and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute.

Why Bayesian computational statistics?

I did my MSc degree in Marine Hydrodynamics but switched to the field of Statistics for the Ph.D. My research activity has always been very computational in style, which goes well with my interest in the field of computing in general. The current research topic, which is about all the aspects of latent Gaussian models, is huge and the perfect blend of statistics,  statistical modeling, and computing. It is a highly relevant area where what we do have an impact on how statistics is done.


What attracted me most to KAUST, was the strong focus on research and the ability to create and maintain a research group, additional to the quality of the faculty, students and life on campus in general.

Awards and Distinctions

  • Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters 
  • Member of the Royal Norwegian Society of Science and Letters
  • Member of the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences
  • Elected member of the International Statistical Institute

Education Profile

  • Ph.D Norwegian Institute of Technology, Trondheim, Norway, 1993
  • MEng Norwegian Institute of Technology,Trondheim, Norway, 1988