Dr. Murali Haran is a Professor with the Penn State University Department of Statistics. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, he served as a postdoc with NISS from 2003 to 2004, where he worked on statistical techniques called random forests for applications in software engineering research. In addition to NISS, Haran also spent time as a research fellow with SAMSI in 2009 for the program “Space-Time Analysis for Environmental Mapping, Epidemiology and Climate Change,” and has continued to collaborate with SAMSI fellows.
Haran grew up in New Delhi, India, where he attended Delhi Public School – R.K. Puram. He moved to Pennsylvania in order to attend Carnegie Mellon University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science, minoring in mathematics, statistics and film studies. During this period, he became increasingly interested in the intersection of algorithms and statistical probability models. After graduating, Haran went on to earn his graduate degree in statistics at the University of Minnesota, with a Ph.D. in statistical computing using Monte Carlo methods. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association (2016) and was the 2015 Abdel El-Shaarawi Award for his contributions to statistical methods for the environmental sciences.
Haran’s Penn State research has involved statistical methods for studying climate change, modeling the dynamics of infectious diseases, and studying the spread of invasive plant species. These interdisciplinary collaborations have led to methodological research in spatial models, inference based on complex computer models, and a continued interest in statistical computing methods. When talking about his work at NISS and SAMSI, Haran said, “the research collaborations and friendships I have formed… will undoubtedly have a continued impact on my academic career for years to come.”