Skip to main content

Professor Jim Smith

My interests span foundational, methodological and applied Bayesian statistics and decision theory often in high dimensions. I published a book in September 2010 with Cambridge University Press on my particular take on Bayesian Decision Analysis. I am currently jointly leading a team of researchers to investigate ways groups of experts can ensure the coherence of their judgments.

One increasingly important domain of these technologies is for managing food crises. Colleagues Martine Barons , Manuelle Leonelli and I now have several publications reporting this work and held several decision conferences to inform this challenging inferential problem. We curently run a number of workshops to disseminate this research. I am one of four members of the Food Global Reseach Priority team that has been set up by the university to co-ordinate and resource research into food security. I am part of a team recently funded by the European Food Standands Agency to elicit expert judgments on food.

I have spent many years studying the theory of graphical models including Bayes Nets, especially focusing on developing dynamic and causal variants of these. Over the last few years I have discovered a new graphical tool - more expressive than the discrete Bayes Net - called a Chain Event Graph. Various dynamic and decision theoretic extensions of this now also appear with Ann Nicholson, Peter Thwaites, Bob Cowell, Christiane Gorgen and Rodrigo Collazo: see below. A book on these models with the last two authors above which will appear next year with Chapman and Hall.

I have recently developed new Bayesian selection methods across various classes of biological models. For example I have been working with a team studying the use of Bayesian models for longitudinal circadian gene expression and dynamic graphical models of fMRI images of the brain. Working with a PhD student I have a particular current interest in developing causal discovery algorithms over novel classes of dynamic models, some of which are given above.

The links between algebraic geometry and various graphical models have also fascinated me for a long while especially their associated semi-algebraic structures and I have recently made some new contributions to this area. I am now investigating the geometry of probability tree models: see my recent pulications.

I have had a long interest in Bayesian decision making under conflict and have recently developed multiattribute utility models for helping the design of military training real time decision makers in such environments. I continue to study Bayesian models of forensic evidence and have a special current interest in assesing strength of activitiy level evidence.

I act as a consultant for the university for a number of well-known companies. In particular I have a long standing interest in methods for combining expert judgments and elicitation. I currently participate in a COST joint European award "Expert Judgment Network: Bridging the Gap between Scientific Uncertainty and Evidence based decision making". With Simon French I led elicition of uncertainty handling after a nuclear accident for SAGE and COBR.

I headed a successful bid as Co-Director of OxWaSP for an exciting new EPSRC funded initiative to train PhD students from Warwick and Oxford to use and develop new methodological and computational statistical techniques to help cope with the massive data sets and models now needing analysis in industry and society. I am also currently an active participant in Warwick University Bridges Programme supervising two students. This trains social scientists to exploit, model and overcome new challenges in a world of Big Data information.

Warwick University was recognised by the EPSRC as one of 5 top universities in the UK in Data Science. The Alan Turing Institute was set up to harness these skills across academics in the UK. I am a Warwick Fellow of the Turing Institute where I spend 40% of my time.

To check out some examples of my current academic work see my more recent publications given below. For your convenience I have subdivided these into my publications in Statistics, Decision Analysis and OR, AI and Machine Learning and Mathematical Biology, by journal classification.

Contact him at