Statistical Science

A conversation with Shanti Gupta

Gary C. McDonald

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Shanti Gupta was born and raised in Saunasi, Mainpuri, India. He attended Delhi University and received B.A. Honours and M.S. degrees in mathematics. He then took a one-year diploma course in applied statistics at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, and his distinguished career in statistics was launched. He came to the United States in 1953 and received his Ph.D. in mathematical statistics in 1956 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill working under the guidance of Professor Raj Chandra Bose. His thesis, "On a decision rule for a problem in ranking means," began his prolific formulation of and investigation into a class of problems referred to as "subset approach to ranking and selection."

Shanti has held research and teaching positions at Delhi College, Bell Telephone Laboratories, University of Alberta, Courant Institute of Mathematical Science at New York University, Stanford University, and, most notably, Purdue University, where he has spent most of his professional career. At Purdue, he became Head of the newly created Department of Statistics in 1968 and served in that capacity until 1995 when he stepped down to devote more fully his time and energy to teaching and research. Under his leadership, Purdue's Department of Statistics grew into one of the premier departments in the country. Twenty-eight Ph.D. dissertations were directed by Shanti over this period of time.

Shanti has provided exemplary service to the profession. A partial list of his activities includes the following: Founding Editor of the IMS Lecture Notes--Monograph Series in Statistics and Probability (1979-1988); Chairman of the Joint Management Committee of the ASA and IMS for Current Index to Statistics (1981-1988); Member of the NRC Advisory Committee on U.S. Army Basic Scientific Research (1983-1988). He served as President of the IMS during 1989-1990. He has also been very active with many of the statistical journals, serving in both editorial and board-member capacities.

Shanti has received many honors in recognition of his valuable contributions. He is a Fellow of the ASA, AAAS and IMS and is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. He has held special short-term visiting positions such as Special Chair, Institute of Mathematics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan; and Erskine Fellow, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. He was one of the special invitees at the 1990 Taipei International Symposium in Statistics and was presented with the key to the city by the Mayor. A recent book, Advances in Statistical Decision Theory and Applications, published in honor of Shanti, contains many papers in the areas where his influence as a teacher and a researcher have been felt: Bayesian inference; decision theory; point and interval estimation; tests of hypotheses; ranking and selection; distributions theory; and industrial applications.

The following conversation took place at the Department of Statistics, Purdue University, on 22 September 1997.

Article information

Statist. Sci. Volume 13, Number 3 (1998), 291-305.

First available in Project Euclid: 9 August 2002

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Zentralblatt MATH identifier

Primary: 62A99: None of the above, but in this section


McDonald, Gary C. A conversation with Shanti Gupta. Statist. Sci. 13 (1998), no. 3, 291--305. doi:10.1214/ss/1028905889.

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