Lijoi, a Bostonian Wanting to Transmit Enthusiasm for StatisticsBORN IN THE US AND RAISED IN CALABRIA, THE NEW PROFESSOR OF PROBABILITY HAS BEEN STUDYING WITH REGAZZINI AND CIFARELLI AT BOCCONI AND HAS A KNACK FOR THE IMPACT OF HIS DISCIPLINE ON APPLIED AREAS
Antonio Lijoi was a PhD student last time he set foot in Bocconi almost eighteen years ago. He has recently come back to hold the position of Full Professor of Probability and Mathematical Statistics at the Department of Decision Sciences. “I am amazed by the dramatic changes the University has undergone. I feel comfortable in a place where research and internationalization are top priorities. Compared to my previous academic experience, for example, I have appreciated the recruitment process in the international Job Market. It definitely allows Bocconi to gain a prestigious standing and promote excellent research”.
Lijoi has moved from the University of Pavia attracted by the idea to help develop the Data Science area. “It is an ambitious project that could put Bocconi at the forefront of this research area globally. The recently established Bocconi Institute of Data Science and Analytics will promote a Visiting Students Initiative. Research does not just mean being stuck in your office and solving interesting problems on your own. It also means sharing the results with younger researchers and communicating them enthusiasm for the discipline”.
Antonio Lijoi holds dual citizenship: U.S. and Italian. Indeed, he was born in the U.S. where his parents moved from Calabria. In the mid ’70s his family decided to return to their hometown “I moved from Boston to a village of 3,000 people on the shores of the wonderful Ionio sea. Though I had established a strong tie to my new ‘home’, during high school I decided I was going to attend university far from there, as I wanted to go back to a big city”.
Being interested in quantitative disciplines, Lijoi enrolled in Economics and Social Sciences at Bocconi, after having read about it in the Corriere della Sera newspaper. There he met Eugenio Regazzini and Michele Cifarelli. “I am very grateful to both of them. Their pioneering research contributed to the development of the Italian school of Bayesian Nonparametric Statistics, which now benefits from an excellent international reputation”.
Today, Bayesian Nonparametrics is Lijoi’s main research field. “In the last two decades my research area has experienced a huge boost. Exciting theoretical advances have been complemented by an increasing impact in several applied areas. For example, Bayesian nonparametric modeling has proved successful in genomics, survival analysis, clinical trials, machine learning, just to mention a few. A relevant goal I wish to pursue in Bocconi is to instill in students the importance of modern Statistics methods, whose knowledge is a prerequisite in an increasingly data-driven society”.
by Claudio Todesco