University of Southern California

Professors Receive National Science Foundation Grant
IOM Professors Yingying Fan and Gareth James Awarded Prestigious Three-year $200,826 Grant
November 30, 2009 • by Anne Bergman

Two USC Marshall faculty members, Yingying Fan and Gareth James, both of Information and Operations Management, have received a joint three-year National Science Foundation grant in the amount of $200,826.

Fan, who is the principal investigator of the winning project, describes it as a "hot topic in statistics," one with a broad impact on both statistics and fields outside statistics.

"Over the last decade, because of technological advances in fields such as image processing, economics and finance, people have the ability to gather larger data sets and extract as much information as possible," Fan explains. "We shall use this grant to analyze this data; most specifically we want to find important factors from a large number of sectors."

As an example, Fan cites factors affecting housing prices, such as home size, the number of bedrooms, yard size, etc. There could be hundreds or thousands of
other factors that affect housing prices."We're trying to find the way to
pinpoint the most important variables; a method to deal with this problem," she says.

Fan and James will also develop software as part of the project to implement their proposed methods to find the most important variables.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science" in many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences.

"It's very hard to get an NSF grant because it's very competitive," says Fan. "I'm so glad to get it."

One of the requirements of an NSF grant is for recipients to integrate their research with education so that "today's revolutionary work will also be training tomorrow's top scientists and engineers."

To that end, Fan and James' research project will contribute to the training and development of future data analysts, including both statisticians and researchers outside statistics who analyze data.

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.