Noah Harding Professor of Statistics
Model Building, Biomathematics, Quality Control
B.S.Ch.E. (1960) Vanderbilt University
M.A. (1963) Ph. D.
(1965) Princeton University
Professor Jim Thompson works in the empirical postulation and testing of models for real-world systems. His research in the metastatic progression of cancer has led to models that can be postulated at the micro level but whose closed form solutions are not tractable. He developed the SIMEST algorithm for creating multiple replicates of computer-generated pseudorealities which can then be used for estimating the key parameters of the underlying model. Professor Thompson and his students have also developed mean update algorithms that provide algebraic techniques for finding underlying structures of data sets of high dimensionality.
Early in the AIDS epidemic, Professor Thompson's model of the epidemic indicated that America's lack of public health intervention in shutting down businesses that facilitated high-frequency gay sex would result in the much higher AIDS rates now encountered in the U.S. compared with those in other First World countries. More recently, his analysis of WHO figures indicates that the AIDS "epidemic" in Europe and Canada is not standalone but is driven by contacts with infectives from the United States.
Professor Thompson works with companies in both Texas and Poland in the implementation of statistical process control using the paradigm of Deming. In 1991-92, he obtained United Nations funding for the creation of a quality control task force of 12 Polish Ph.D.'s to implement SPC in Poland.
Professor Thompson is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the International Statistical Institute. He received the ASA's Don Owen Award in 1985 and the US Army's Samuel S. Wilks Medal in 1991. He has authored or coauthored eleven books concerned with various aspects of modeling, including Nonparametric Probability Density Estimation (Johns Hopkins, 1978), Cancer Modeling (Dekker, 1987), Empirical Model Building (John Wiley & Sons, 1989), Nonparametric Function Estimation, Modeling and Simulation (SIAM, 1991), Statistical Process Control for Quality Improvement (Chapman & Hall, 1993), Statystyczne Sterowanie Procesem: Metoda Deminga Etapowej jackosci (Akademicka Oficyna Wydawnicza PLJ, 1994), The Economics of Production and Productivity: A Modeling Approach (Capital, 1996), and Entrepreneurship and Productivity (University Press of America, 1998), Simulation: A Modeler's Approach (John Wiley & Sons, 2000), Statistical Process Control: the Deming Paradigm and Beyond Chapman & Hall, 2001), Models for Investors in Real World Markets (John Wiley & Sons, 2002).
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