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Professor Jim Smith

My interests span foundational, methodological and applied Bayesian statistics and decision theory often in high dimensions. My book in 2010 gives my particular take on Bayesian Decision Analysis. I am currently jointly leading a team of researchers to investigate ways groups of experts in very different domains of knowledge can nevertheless 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 appearing this year. Various dynamic and decision theoretic extensions of this now also appear with Ann Nicholson, Peter Thwaites, Bob Cowell, Christiane Gorgen, Rodrigo Collazo, Aditi Shenvi and Rachel Wilkerson: see below.

I have recently developed new Bayesian selection methods across various classes of models. Over the last few years I have written on how these methods can be applied to biological regulation models, for example for longitudinal circadian gene expression, dynamic graphical models of fMRI images of the brain, longitudinal studies of public health and also crime. Working with several PhD students 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 activity level evidence. Through Warwick University I have been Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute in London from September 2017 where I spend much of my time. I am working on a number of projects there for example leading two on the statistical analyses for decision support for pursuing violent criminals, part of a team investigating how to monitor data for policing Modern Day Slavery and another project designed for resource management and planning for prisons for the Ministry of Justice.

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 participated in a COST joint European award "Expert Judgment Network: Bridging the Gap between Scientific Uncertainty and Evidence based decision making" and 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 and two other students who are part of an CDT run by Complexity.

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.

Contact him at


Prof Smith

Office 4.05
Department of Statistics

Office Hours
Monday 1630-1730
Friday 1130-1230
(weeks 2-9)