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The 2021 Founders of Statistics Prize is awarded to Prof. Robert Tibshirani for his 1996 paper on ‘Regression Shrinkage and Selection via the LASSO’.


Professor Robert Tibshirani is selected as the recipient of the 2021 ISI Founders of Statistics Prize for his 1996 paper on ‘Regression Shrinkage and Selection via the LASSO’, published in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, pp. 267-288. Robert Tibshirani is Professor of Biomedical Science and Statistics at Stanford University.

The Lasso paper (Tibshirani, 1996) has had 37,360 citations as of late January 2021 indicating its wide influence across statistics, data science, computer science and broadly in Science, Business and Economics. As we are faced with large and more complex data sets, the Lasso will continue to provide the basic underpinning for developments to handle such data. One reason for the paper’s impact is the clarity with which the paper is written with thorough and clear explanations of the method both analytically and geometrically. In statistics, biostatistics and machine learning, the Lasso (least absolute shrinkage and selection operator) is a regression analysis method that performs both variable selection and regularization in order to enhance the prediction accuracy and interpretability of the resulting statistical model. The Lasso is really the cornerstone of many modern methods of statistics and data science.

The contribution recognized by the Founders of Statistics Prize must be a research article or book published within the last three decades. Each Founders of Statistics (formerly known as Karl Pearson Prize) Award selection committee comprises renowned statisticians from across the world. The prize is given biennially, at the ISI World Statistics Congress (WSC), starting with the WSC in Hong Kong in August 2013. ISI is grateful to Elsevier Publishers for their ongoing sponsorship of the Prize.

We have an outstanding winner of the 2021 Founders of Statistics Prize. On behalf of ISI, We send our best congratulations for this remarkable work and achievement.

About the Founder of Statistics Prize

The Founders of Statistics Prize was established as the Karl Pearson Prize in 2013 in collaboration with Elsevier Publishers to recognize a contemporary contribution that has had a profound influence in statistical theory, methodology, practice or applications. The contribution is a research article or book published within the last three decades. The prize is given biennially at the ISI World Statistics Congress (WSC). It comprises a cash prize of 5,000 euros and travelling expenses to the WSC for the winner to present the Founders of Statistics Lecture.

The 2021 Founders of Statistics Committee members were:

  • Kerrie Mengersen, Australia (Chair)
  • Wei-Liem Loh, Singapore
  • Pablo Augusto Ferrari, Argentina
  • Walter Piegorsch, USA
  • Elvezio Ronchetti, Switzerland
  • Fabrizio Ruggeri, Italy, ISI Awards Coordinator, ex officio.
  • Ada van Krimpen. The Netherlands, ISI Director, ex officio

The ISI appreciates the excellent work and support of these members.

A. John Bailer, ISI President
Fabrizio Ruggeri, ISI Awards Coordinator.