The Al-Kindi Distinguished Statistics Lectures are an annual event in Statistics at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). A distinguished guest speaker presents a series of two lectures and remains in residence for some days. The first lecture is intended to demonstrate to a general audience the breadth of use of Statistics in applications. The second lecture is intended for a specialized audience.

The lectures are named after Al-Kindi (801-873 CE), a prominent figure in the House of Wisdom, whose book entitled "Manuscript on Deciphering Cryptographic Messages" is believed to be the earliest writing on Statistics. In his book, Al-Kindi gave a detailed description of how to decipher encrypted messages using Statistics and frequency analysis. This text arguably gave rise to the birth of both Statistics and cryptanalysis.

Our upcoming Al-Kindi Distinguished Statistics Lectures will be presented by Prof. Mark Girolami. Date: TBA, 2025.



2025: Mark Girolami, Sir Kirby Laing Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Cambridge, UK

Lecture 1: TBA

Lecture 2: TBA

Videos 1 & 2, Pictures


2024: Michael I. Jordan, Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor of EECS and Statistics, UC Berkeley, USA

Lecture 1: An Alternative View on AI: Collaborative Learning, Statistical Incentives, and Social Welfare

Lecture 2: On Distribution-Free Risk Control

Videos 1 & 2, Pictures


2023: Peter Rousseeuw, Emeritus Professor of Statistics, KU Leuven, Belgium

Lecture 1: Detecting Cellwise Outliers in Your Data

Lecture 2: New Graphical Displays for Classification

Videos 1 & 2, Pictures


2022: Susan A. Murphy, Mallinckrodt Professor of Statistics and of Computer Science, Harvard University, USA

Lecture 1: We used Reinforcement Learning; but did it work?

Lecture 2: Inference for Longitudinal Data After Adaptive Sampling

Videos 1 & 2, Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3, Picture 4, Picture 5


2021: Peter Bühlmann, Professor of Statistics and Mathematics, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Lecture 1: Statistical Leaning: Causal-oriented and Robust

Lecture 2: Deconfounding

Videos 1 & 2Pictures


2020: Peter Diggle, Distinguished Professor, Lancaster University, UK

Lecture 1: Design and Analysis of Prevalence Surveys for Neglected Tropical Diseases

Lecture 2: TBA

Video 1


2019: David L. Donoho, Professor of Statistics and Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in the Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University, USA

Lecture 1: Deepnet Spectra and the Two Cultures of Data Science

Lecture 2: Optimal Singular Value Thresholding in Correlated Noise

Video 1Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3, Picture 4, Picture 5, Picture 6

2018: Jim Berger, The Arts and Sciences Professor of Statistics, Duke University, USA

Lecture 1: Reproducibility of Science: p-values, Multiple Testing, and Optional Stopping​

Lecture 2: Gaussian Process Emulation of Computer Models with Massive Output

 Video 1​Picture 1Picture 2​Picture 3Picture 4Picture 5

2017: Steve Marron, Amos Hawley Distinguished Professor of Statistics, UNC-Chapel Hill, USA

Lecture 1: Object-Oriented Data Analysis

Lecture 2: Object-Oriented Data Analysis of Manifold Data

Video 1​Picture 1Picture 2Picture 3Picture 4​Picture 5​ 

2016: Noel Cressie, Distinguished Professor of Statistics, University of Wollongong, Australia

Lecture 1: The Carbon Club

Lecture 2: A Conditional Approach to Multivariate Spatial Modelling

Video 1​​, Video 2​Picture 1Picture 2Picture 3Picture 4Picture 5​

2015: Raymond J. Carroll, Distinguished Professor and Jill and Stuart A. Harlin 83 Chair in Statistics, Texas A&M University, USA

Lecture 1: What Percentage of Children in the U.S. are Eating an Alarmingly Poor Diet? A Statistical Approach

Lecture 2: Constrained Maximum Likelihood Estimation for Model Calibration using Summary-Level Information from External Big Data Sources

Video 1​​, Video 2​Picture 1Picture 2Picture 3Picture 4Picture 5