Biography for Richard D. Gill

Richard D. Gill

Short biography

Born 1951, British (and since 1996 also Dutch). Studied mathematics at University of Cambridge (1970-1973) followed there by Diploma of Statistics (1973-1974). Worked 1974-1988 at Mathematical Centre Amsterdam (later became CWI). PhD in 1979 with thesis Censoring and Stochastic Integrals. I spend Autumn 1980 at the Statistical Research Unit, University of Copenhagen. This led eventually to our book The Weight-lifters Guide to Counting Processes (ABGK), published by Springer. From 1983 I was head of the department of mathematical statistics at CWI. Around this time I was also special professor at Leiden University. In 1988 I moved to the department of mathematics, University of Utrecht (chair in Mathematical Stochastics). 1992 to 1996 I was scientific secretary of the Bernoulli Society for Mathematical Statistics and Probability, and Editor-in-Chief of Statistica Neerlandica. 1995 to 1998 I was department chairman in Utrecht. In the academic year 1998-1999 I took a sabbatical (Perth and then Eurandom). Around this time I was elected a member of the Dutch Royal Aacdemy of Sciences. I'm very proud of my Saint Flour Lecture Notes on Survival Analysis. It was very great fun to be Program Chairman of the ISI conference in Seoul. In the Spring Semester of 2003 I was on sabbatical in Greifswald, Germany. From July 1, 2006, I have moved to the department of mathematics at the University of Leiden (chair of Mathematical Statistics). In the Autumn of 2006 I'm on on sabbatical at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.

My research interests are in biostatistics, genetics, survival analysis, semiparametric models, causality, machine learning, statistical image analysis, and quantum statistical information. I am fascinated by foundational aspects of statistics, probability, and quantum physics.

The field of quantum information (the most revolutionary part of nano-science) exposes the stochastic (random) nature of quantum physics. The interaction between the real world we live in and the quantum world "behind the scenes" is not deterministic. In my work I apply ideas and methodology from probability and statistics to experimental and technological problems in quantum science (reconstruction of quantum states and operations; experimental proof of quantum non-locality, ...).

I see fantastic challenges in the new biosciences for probability and statistics, and I'm especially interested in statistical problems of forensic DNA profiling, where I believe fundamental ideas from stochastic genetics need to be applied to take account of statistical dependence in marker genes when genetic profiling is applied to real human populations.

Presently I consider myself a Rabid Pragmatist as far as statistics is concerned, a neo-Laplacian frequentist regarding probability, and I espouse a radical neo-Copenhagen view on quantum physics (the past is particles, the future is a wave).

I am married to Sophia Hoffstädt; we have two sons Paul, (b. 1977), Peter, (b. 1980), and one daughter, Arike (b. 1983). We usually live with three chickens; their predecessors the cyberchicks Ruth, Rachel and Rebecca are immortalised on internet. During the summer our roof is inhabited by swifts. We also have many other creatures in and around the house (bats, newts, frogs, hedgehogs, ...)

My hobbies are walking and hiking, cycling, bird-watching, music, art, reading, indoor-climbing, cmpjooters, philosophy religion and history,...

Favourite books: The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx; The God of Small Things by Arundhatti Roy; Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer + The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev; Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu; The Mahabharata; The Leopard (il Gattopardo) by Giuseppe di Lampedusa; Gulag Archipelago by A.N. Solzhenitsyn.

Favourite music: Requiem for Adam by Terry Tiley; In Memoriam by Alfred Schnittke; Trittico Botticelliano by Ottorino Respighi; Vanishing Borders by Northern Lights; Requiem for my Friend by Zbigniew Preisner (strange, this attraction to requiems - let me add Mozart, Verdi, Faure to the list).

Favourite films: Fargo; Novecento; Bladerunner; The Thin Red Line; Terminator II.

Favourite painters: Bellini, Giorgione, Caravaggio, Vermeer, Caspar David Friedrichs, Gerhard Richter.

Religion: I am religious and an atheist.

Health: I've experienced several severe depressive episodes in my life. As the Chinese say: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Since I was so far fortunate enough to survive these episodes in one piece, they have taught me a great deal. Sometime I might write about this

Update (2006)

New chickens have come and gone (chicken soup). More next year?

Another splendid film is Don't Come Knocking (Wim Wenders)

Some more splendid books: God Against the Gods (Jonathan Kirsch); A World Full of Gods (Keith Hopkins); A History of God (Karen Armstrong)
also many books by Orhan Pamuk and Jonathan Safran Foer ...

The darling of my computers is an Intel dual core MacBookPro, dual-booting Mac OSX and Windows XP (just because it can be done). Thanks to Parallels Virtual Desktop, I also have a whole farm of virtual Linux machines on it (Fedora Core; Ubuntu; ...) as well as a virtual Windows XP
I'm also fond of our old Apple LC 630 upgraded to Power Mac 6500 (Alchemy) and with a Sonnet G3 processor, running Mac OS 9. Then I have a love-hate relationship with my wife's Albert Heijn PC (Fujitsu-Siemens, 7 years old) running several Linuxes as well as MS Windows XP

All our computers are named, in PIE, after various items from Proto Indo-European culture