Matthias Schonlau, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Prior to his current appointment he spent 14 years outside of academia at the RAND Corporation, the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, AT&T Labs and the German Institute for Economic Research, DIW. He has served as director of the Survey Research Centre at the University of Waterloo, as head of consulting at the RAND corporation, and he was on the board of the European Survey Research association. He won the Humboldt Prize and was elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association. His interests include applied survey research -- in particular open-ended questions -- at the interface to statistical learning. His two books and 80+ peer-reviewed papers have been cited more than 20,000 times.
Time at NISS
I was a NISS postdoc from 1997 to 1999. I was located at AT&T Labs Research in New Jersey to work with the statistics group on methodology for computer intrusion. Alan Karr (NISS) would regularly fly up to New Jersey to meet me, Daryl Pregibon and others at AT&T Labs Research. Likewise, I would fly to NISS for meetings. On one such occasion my flight was delayed by several hours. When I finally arrived at the NISS building, the workshop was in full swing and Alan had already started to give our talk. This was before most people owned cell phones – nobody knew where exactly I was. I entered the room and under the applause of everyone present I finished the talk.
The postdoc gave me a different perspective of what type of problems to tackle and how to tackle them. In that sense it had a profound long-term effect on my career