Dan Simpson
Office: Sidney Smith 6026A

I am the Canada Research Chair in Spatiotemporal Modelling and an Associate Professor in the Department of Statistical Sciences at the University of Toronto. My research interests include

  • Spatial and spatiotemporal models with computationally efficient Gaussian random fields (Gaussian processes),
  • Methods for building and assessing Bayesian models, including prior specification, model criticism, and model checking.
  • Computational statistics, including approximate inference methods (such as INLA), Markov chain Monte Carlo methods, and methods for assessing the quality of approximations to posterior distributions.
  • Applications of statistics in environmental science (specifically modelling air quality) and global health (specifically modelling global maternal cause of death on a global scale).

All of my papers can be found on my Google Scholar page and most are available on arXiv.

Considerably less serious writing, which mostly consists of strange jokes that only I find funny, can be found on Andrew Gelman’s blog, which I inexplicably have the keys to.

Bio sketch

I have made major contributions to the understanding of computationally efficient methods in spatial statistics, and of how to specify prior distributions for complex Bayesian models. I have been a maintainer and developer on both the R-INLA and Stan projects, which are widely used open source software projects popular in the applied statistics and scientific communities. I have also been a member of Stan’s leadership bodies, first the NumFOCUS board and then the Stan Governing Board that grew out from it.

Prior to my commencement at the University of Toronto, I was a Reader (a weird UK academic grade that simultaneously maps to full professor in the US and Associate Professor in Australia because why should words have meaning) at the University of Bath in the UK. I held postdoctoral positions at the University of Warwick (CRiSM Fellow), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), University of Helsinki, and Umeå University.

curriculum vitae CV as pdf

Potential grad students and postdocs

The PhD program in the Department of Statistics at the Univeristy of Toronto has a centralized application system. The details can be found here. If you want to chat about potential PhD projects, please feel free to email me, but I have no control over admissions.

Please contact me if you’re looking for a postdoctoral position as I may have funding available.