People Profiles

Derek Bingham, PhD, Statistics and Actuarial Science

September 23, 2015

Dr. Derek Bingham is helping people see the future—and making it a better one in the process.

Bingham completed a PhD in Statistics at SFU in 1999 and became a faculty member at the University of Michigan in the same year. He rejoined SFU's Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science in 2003 as the Canada Research Chair in Industrial Statistics. Bingham was awarded the Centre de recherches mathématiques and the Statistical Society of Canada Prize in 2013. 

Bingham designs experiments for large-scale computer simulations to make predictions about real processes. His work developing new theoretical and algorithmic methodology helps to reduce the ‘messiness’ of these forecasts.

“Right now I’m working as part of an international team of physics experts and engineers to determine the initial conditions of the universe in order to understand how our universe is likely to evolve. It can take two years to run one set of simulation experiments, so I need to make sure the original concept is as efficient as possible,” he says.

Bingham’s past collaborators include the Center for Radiative Shock HydrodynamicsLos Alamos National Lab, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Prior to his current research focus, Bingham designed industrial experiments to help organizations run more efficient and accurate large-scale tests. 

“A lot of products are made of many smaller parts that must come together as a whole. In my PhD work, I was one of the first to design multi-stage experiments for these types of products. Every time you run a test it costs time and resources and so my methods helped reduce waste and resource usage,” he says. 

Bingham explains that the skills he learned in his doctoral program were key to his current role--which is one that he loves.

“I’ve always had lots of ideas — many not so good — but as a graduate student at SFU, I learned how to take good ideas and make them useful to others. These days I feel very grateful to not only get paid for those ideas, but to use them to do research that has a value to industry and science. I also get to work with colleagues who are outstanding scholars, teachers and people. It is really quite a privilege,” he says. 

Author: Jackie Amsden

Statistics and Actuarial Science

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