Statistics is an essential part of science, providing the mathematical languageand techniques necessary for understanding and dealing with chance and uncertainty in nature. Statistics involves the design, collection, analysis and interpretation of numerical data, with the aim of extracting patterns and other useful information. Examples include the analysis of DNA and protein sequences, the construction of evolutionary trees from genetic data, the improvement of medical treatments via experimental designs, and the assessment of drought conditions through meteorological data. A main feature of statistics is the development and use of statistical and probabilistic models for random phenomena, which can be analysed and used to make principled predictions and decisions. Examples of such models can be found in biology (genetics, population modelling), finance (stock market fluctuations, insurance claims), physics (quantum mechanics/computing), medicine (epidemiology, spread of HIV/AIDS), telecommunications (internet traffic, mobile phone calls), and reliability (safety of oil rigs, aircraft failure), to name but a few.
The Probability and Statistics Group is recognised internationally for its active and dynamic research programs across a number of areas of statistics and has research strengths in several areas including bioinformatics, biostatistics, computational statistics, discriminant and cluster analyses, experimental design, image analysis, machine learning, mixture modelling, Monte Carlo simulation, multivariate analysis, and applied probability and stochastic processes. The Group has established ongoing collaborations with other disciplines, particularly in the biological and medical sciences, bioinformatics, engineering and information technology, as well as with industry and government bodies.