Interview with Feng Li, PhD
We contacted our former colleague Feng Li who graduated with a PhD at the Department of Statistics in Stockholm University in June 2013. We wanted to hear more about his life and work in China. He tells us about the bittersweet experience of leaving life as a doctoral student, but he also tells us about a very interesting work as a teacher and researcher at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing.
Feng says it has been a while since he defended his thesis but he still feels as if everything happened yesterday. He still remembers the second day after the disputation, when he woke up, looked around and everything was as usual, nothing had changed except that he was no longer a student. He had very much enjoyed being a student, and he will miss it.
He was very glad that he got very positive response on his thesis, Bayesian Modeling of Conditional Densities (Stockholm University, 2013).
We were then of course very curious about Feng’s current work and research. He is now working as an assistant professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing. The job includes three aspects: research, teaching and administrative duties. The most important part of the job is Feng’s research.
He tells us that he is currently extending his previous work to more general situations. As he is working at a university that is specialized in economics and finance, most foundation of his research is rooted in economics. ”Thanks to my colleagues, I can understand the complicated economic data. There is also a very open atmosphere here” says Feng. ”Hopefully I can get some idea out in the forthcoming years."
A research project on Big Data
Feng is currently working with his new colleagues to build up a big computational environment in the university, Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing. Unlike other big data projects, this project will build and analyze the big economics data. He explains ”We have enormous data resources in micro and macro economics but we did not find a proper way to explore them until the big data revolution came. There is a great need for statistics accomplished with computer facilities. Working at the statistical department and having computational statistics and Bayesian modelling background will help me a lot in the project.”
Lecture at the Stockholm University Research Days
Feng was visiting us when he gave his popular lecture at the Stockholm University Research Days. We asked him about the lecture, and he gave us a very humble answer. Although Feng’s education includes ten years of statistics since he began his university studies, he considers himself at a very early stage on the way to being a proficient statistician. About the main theme of his lecture, he says that ”nowadays, statistics is involved in so many areas and one can hardly find a place without the need of statistics. I believe the education in statistics should be as easy and available as possible. I also believe that thinking statistically will help us a lot in understanding the more and more complicated world.”
Life in Beijing
Feng leads a great but pretty busy life in Beijing. This semester he is teaching two courses, Econometrics and Statistical Learning. He tells us that the teaching load is OK, but the two courses are taught in two different campuses. Besides teaching he is also involved in designing new courses for students, including high-performance computing in statistics. They are planning to create open courses, to let more students learn statistics over the Internet.
Meanwhile, he is continuing his research based on his previous work. There are still a lot of extensions which he can explore from his PhD thesis. ”Of course they are challenging but it's fun”, says Feng.
Sending his regards
Feng rounds up our interview by sending his regards to everyone at the Department of Statistics. ”I would take this opportunity to say hi to everyone in the department. I miss you all. Welcome to visit Beijing and me when you get the opportunity!”
25 oktober 2017
Webbredaktör: Jenny-Leontine Rosen
Sidansvarig: Statistiska institutionen