Xiao-Li Meng

Xiao-Li Meng

Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Statistics

Research Interests: 
Statistical theory and principles for data science
Philosophical and foundational issues in statistics
Statistical computing and computational statistics
Signal extractions and uncertainty assessments

  • Statistical Theory and Principles toward the foundation of Data Science;
  • Multi-resolution Inferences, such as accumulating statistical evidence for individualized treatments (high resolution prediction) and dealing with partial prior knowledge (low resolution information);
  • Multi-phase Inferences, such as handling uncongeniality between data pre-processors (e.g., imputers) and data analysts and preserving information in a distributed pre-processing system;
  • Multi-source Inferences, such as comparing large observational datasets with small probabilistic samples and designing methods to gain combined information guided by  bias-variance trade-off;
  • Philosophical and Foundational Issues in Statistics, such as connecting and the interplay between Bayesian, Fiducial, and  frequentist (BFF) perspectives, and their extensions, including belief function;
  • Statistical Computing  and Computational Statistics, such as Markov chain Monte Carlo, EM-type algorithms and their self-consistent generalizations, and user-friendly combining rules for multiple-imputation inference;
  • Signal extractions and Uncertainty Assessments in natural, social, and medical sciences, such as in astronomy/astrophysics and in psychology/psychiatry;
  • Elegant Mathematical Statistics, especially distribution theory and stochastic algebra


  • 1990: Ph.D. in Statistics - Harvard University
  • 1987: M.A. in Statistics - Harvard University
  • 1986: Diploma in Graduate Study of Mathematical Statistics - Research Institute of Mathematics, Fudan University, Shanghai, P.R. China
  • 1982: B.S. in Mathematics - Fudan University, Shanghai, P.R. China


  • 2018-present:  Founding Editor-in-Chief,  Harvard Data Science Review
  • 2012 - 2018; Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University (on leave 2017-2018)
  • 2004 - 2012: Chair, Department of Statistics, Harvard University (on leave 2010-2011)
  • 2001 - present: Professor, Department of Statistics, Harvard University
  • 2001 - 2005: Research Associate (Professor), Department of Statistics and the College, The University of Chicago
  • 1991 - 2001: Assistant/Associate/Full Professor, Department of Statistics and the College, The University of Chicago
  • 1993 - present: Faculty Research Associate, Population Research Center, National Opinion Research Center (NORC), The University of Chicago
  • 1982 - 1984: Instructor of Mathematics, Department of Basic Science, China Textile University, Shanghai, P.R. China

Sample Publications

Curriculum Vitae (contains links to most lecture videos and articles)

Biography (Harvard Data Science Review)

The XL-Files (a collection of IMS Bulletin columns: comments after each are welcome!)


Contact Information

SC 300C
p: (617) 495-1603