Archive for Jean-Paul Benzécri

Jean-Paul Benzécri (1932-2019)

Posted in Books, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2019 by xi'an

I learned last weekend that Jean-Paul Benzécri had died earlier in the week. He was a leading and charismatic figure of the French renewal in data analysis (or analyse des données) that used mostly algebraic tools to analyse large datasets, while staying as far as possible from the strong abstraction of French statistics at that time. While I did not know him on a personal basis, I remember from my lecturer years there that he used to come to Institut de Statistique de l’Université de Paris (ISUP), Université Pierre et Marie Curie, once a week and meet with a large group of younger statisticians, students and junior faculty, and then talk to them for long hours while walking back and forth along the corridor in Jussieu. Showing extreme dedication from the group as this windowless corridor was particularly ghastly! (I also remember less fondly hours spent over piles and piles of SAS printout trying to make sense of multiple graphs of projections produced by these algebraic methods and feeling there were too many degrees of freedom for them to feel rigorous enough.)