Statistical Science

A Conversation with Howell Tong

Kung-Sik Chan and Qiwei Yao

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Howell Tong has been an Emeritus Professor of Statistics at the London School of Economics since October 1, 2009. He was appointed to a lectureship at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology shortly after he started his Master program in 1968. He received his Ph.D. in 1972 under the supervision of Maurice Priestley, thus making him an academic grandson of Maurice Bartlett. He stayed at UMIST until 1982, when he took up the Founding Chair of Statistics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 1986, he returned to the UK, as the first Chinese to hold a Chair of Statistics in the history of the UK, by accepting the Chair at the University of Kent at Canterbury. He stayed there until 1997, when he went to the University of Hong Kong, first as a Distinguished Visiting Professor, and then as the Chair Professor of Statistics. At the University of Hong Kong, he served as a Pro-Vice-Chancellor and was the Founding Dean of the Graduate School. He was appointed to his Chair at the London School of Economics in 1999. He is a pioneer in the field of nonlinear time series analysis and has been a scientific leader both in Hong Kong and in the UK. His work on threshold models has had lasting influence both on theory and applications. He has drawn important connections between time series and deterministic dynamical systems, linking statistics with chaos theory, and the models he has developed have found significant applications in fields as diverse as economics, epidemiology and ecology. He has made novel contributions to nonparametric and semi-parametric statistics, especially in model selection and dimension reduction for time series data. He has written four books (one with Kung-Sik Chan and another with Bing Cheng) and over 162 papers (sometimes with collaborators) in Statistics, Ecology, Actuarial Science, Control Engineering, Reliability, Meteorology, Water Engineering, Engineering Mathematics and Mathematical Education. His 1990 monograph Non-linear Time Series Analysis—A Dynamical System Approach is a classic. He is a Foreign Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, an elected member of the ISI, a Fellow of IMS and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries (UK). He won a Chinese National Natural Science Prize (Class II) in 2000 and the Royal Statistical Society awarded him the Guy Medal in Silver in 2007.

The following conversation is partly based on an interview that took place in the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in July 2013.

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Statist. Sci., Volume 29, Number 3 (2014), 425-438.

First available in Project Euclid: 23 September 2014

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Chan, Kung-Sik; Yao, Qiwei. A Conversation with Howell Tong. Statist. Sci. 29 (2014), no. 3, 425--438. doi:10.1214/13-STS464.

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