McCourt School of Public Policy
Linkage Seminar

William E. Winkler: A High-Impact Career in Statistical Computing – Yves Thibaudeau

August’s Linkage Seminar was in memoriam of William E. Winkler.

Yves Thibaudeau, a Principal Researcher at the U.S. Census Bureau, discussed Bill’s career and legacy. Bill Winkler was a giant in statistical computing. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Bill completed his PhD at Ohio State University under the supervision of Louis Sucheston before joining the Faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 1974. He joined the Energy Information Administration in 1980 and then the Census Bureau in 1987, where he spent most of his career as a Principal Researcher. Yves will discuss the early work of Bill in probability theory as a PhD student at Ohio. Much of what Bill did after that involves advances in log-linear modeling. Yves will review Bill’s contributions from his early work in sample design to his theoretical work on I-projection published in the Annals of Probabilities, and to his fundamental work in record linkage and editing-imputation, all of which involve an outstanding mastery of log-linear modeling. Bill’s multiple enhancements of the EM algorithm in the context of log-linear latent class estimation have been consequential and have spawned multiple new collaborations and third-party research initiatives. We will expand on the work of authors who went on to further exploit Bill’s ideas and extend his results. Among them Thibaudeau (1993, 2002), Armstrong and Mayda (1993) Belin and Rubin (1993), Larsen and Rubin (2001), Christen (2012), Sadinle (2013), Manrique-Vallier and Reiter (2015).

Yves Thibaudeau: Yves got his PhD from Carnegie Mellon in 1988. His first job was working on the record-linkage staff at the Census Bureau under Bill Winkler. Since then Yves has worked at the Census Bureau almost without interruption. Yves is currently the Principal Researcher for record linkage in the Center for Statistical Research and Methodology.