Grace Wahba

Professor Wahba has recommended books in the following areas:

Grace Wahba (born August 3, 1934) is a now-retired I. J. Schoenberg-Hilldale Professor of Statistics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is a pioneer in methods for smoothing noisy data. Best known for the development of generalized cross-validation and “Wahba’s problem”, she has developed methods with applications in demographic studies, machine learning, DNA microarrays, risk modeling, medical imaging, and climate prediction.

She was educated at Cornell (B.A. 1956), University of Maryland, College Park (M.A. 1962) and Stanford (Ph.D. 1966), and worked in industry for several years before receiving her doctorate in 1966 and settling in Madison in 1967. She is the author of Spline Models for Observational Data. She was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in 2000 and received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of Chicago in 2007. She retired in August 2018.


  • Member, National Academy of Sciences

  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

  • Fellow, American Statistical Association

  • Fellow, Institute of Mathematical Statistics

  • Fellow, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

Selected Awards

  • Inaugural Senior Breiman Award, August 2017

  • COPSS Fisher Award, August 2014

  • Inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award, Cornell University, November 2009

  • Gottfried E. Noether Senior Researcher Award, Joint Statistics Meetings, August 2009

  • Received the Honorary D.Sc from the University of Chicago, June 2007

  • Named “Statistician of the Year” by the Chicago Chapter of ASA, 2004

  • IJ Schoenberg-Hilldale Chair in Statistics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004-

  • Hilldale Award in the Physical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2003

  • Outstanding Alumni Award, Department of Mathematics, University of Maryland, 2001

  • International Meetings on Statistical Climatology Achievement Award, 1998

  • Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies Elizabeth Scott Award, 1996

  • First Emanuel and Carol Parzen Prize for Statistical Innovation, 1994