The Lambert Award for Young Statisticians Goes To Raphael Huser

Today Raphael Huser, Assistant Professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), received the Lambert Award for Young Statisticians for his contribution in modeling the distribution of extreme weather events. Raphael Huser's research brings risk assessment of extreme climatic events to a new level thanks to a realistic modeling of their Spatio-temporal properties.
Extreme weather-related events present enormous costs both in human lives and economic losses. Data reported by the European Academies Science Advisory Council show that in the past thirty years extreme events worldwide went up from 335 events in the '80s, to 545 in the '90s, and 716 between 2002-2011.

To assess the risk connected to extreme natural phenomena, Raphael Huser has developed during his Ph.D. at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) a new methodology that takes into account not only the statistical modeling of extreme events at individual locations but also the dependence between separate locations. "If there is a geographical interdependence for two individual locations," Huser explains "the overall risk of simultaneous extreme events increases."

The methodology endowed with the Lambert Award was applied to assess the risk of floods connected to extreme rainfall events over the plateau region in Switzerland, between the Alps and the Jura mountains.

Raphael Huser is an Assistant Professor in the Computer, Electrical, and Mathematical Science and Engineering Division of KAUST. Professor Huser's research interests lie between statistics of extreme events and risk assessment, with a particular focus on environmental applications.

"The importance of this work is that it is the first attempt to statistically model the extremes of complicated space-time phenomena" Huser concludes "offering a useful basis for improving well-established hydrogeological and climatic models."

Currently, Raphael Huser is an assistant professor in the Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering Division of KAUST, Saudi Arabia, where he leads the Extreme Statistics group which focus on the development of statistical models for rare events, as well as efficient inference methods to fit them to data.

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Prof. Raphael Huser obtained his PhD degree in 2013 from EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland), where he worked, under the supervision of Prof. Anthony Davison, on spatio-temporal models for predicting the outcomes of extreme rainfall events. After a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at KAUST, carried out in Prof. Marc G. Genton's Team, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics and Computational Science within the CEMSE Division at KAUST. The 2015 Lambert Award for Young Statisticians, is the second award Prof. Huser receives for his research after the EPFL Doctorate Award in 2014.


The Johann Heinrich Lambert Award was established in 2013 by the Swiss Statistical Society (SSS) to recognize the work of young statisticians under 35 years and consists of a certificate and a prize of 1,000 Swiss Francs, and it entitles the awardee to a plenary talk at the 'Swiss Statistics Meeting'. 


King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is an international, graduate-level research university located on the shores of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia. KAUST is dedicated to advancing science and technology through interdisciplinary research, education and innovation. Goal-oriented and curiosity-driven research is conducted by students, faculty, scientists and engineers to address the world's pressing scientific and technological challenges related to water, food, energy and the environment. KAUST seeks to contribute to the transformation of Saudi Arabia to a knowledge-based economy, promoting economic development and achieving the widest public benefit.


Media Contact for KAUST

Michelle D'Antoni

+966 12 808 3178

Media Contact for Dr. Huser

Francesca Serra

+966 12 808 0533