Applications open for 2013 John M Chambers Statistical Software Award

November 26, 2012

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

In 1998, John Chambers won the ACM Software Systems award for the S language, which the ACM heralded as having "forever altered how people analyze, visualize, and manipulate data". The R language is "not unlike S", and John continues pushing the frontiers of statistical computing as a member of the R Core Group. Ang his legacy continues in another way: he donated his ACM prize to a fund for the John M. Chambers Statistical Software Award. Recipients of the award include authors of several R packages, including Michael Kane (for the bigmemory package), Yihui Xie (animation), Hadley Wickham (reshape and ggplot), and Deepayan Sarkar (for lattice, now a part of standard R). 

Applications are now open to individuals or teams for the 2013 prize, which offers $1000 in cash and a travel allowance to the JSM conference in Montreal, where the award will be presented. The official announcement hasn't yet been updated on the web, so I've included the announcement after the jump below.

John M. Chambers Statistical Software Award – 2013
Statistical Computing Section
American Statistical Association

The Statistical Computing Section of the American Statistical Association announces the competition for the John M.  Chambers Statistical Software Award. In 1998 the Association for Computing Machinery presented its Software System Award to John Chambers for the design and development of S. Dr. Chambers generously donated his award to the Statistical Computing Section to endow an annual prize for statistical software written by an undergraduate or graduate student. The prize carries with it a cash award of $500, plus a substantial allowance for travel to the annual Joint Statistical Meetings where the award will be presented.

Teams of up to 3 people can participate in the competition, with the cash award being split among team members. The travel allowance will be given to just one individual in the team, who will be presented the award at JSM.  To be eligible, the team must have designed and implemented a piece of statistical software.  The individual within the team indicated to receive the travel allowance must have begun the development while a student, and must either currently be a student, or have completed all requirements for her/his last degree after January 1, 2012.  To apply for the award, teams must provide the following materials:

Current CV's of all team members.

A letter from a faculty mentor at the academic institution of the individual indicated to receive the travel award.  The letter should confirm that the individual had substantial participation in the development of the software, certify her/his student status when the software began to be developed (and either the current student status or the date of degree completion), and briefly discuss the importance of the software to statistical practice.

A brief, one to two page description of the software, summarizing what it does, how it does it, and why it is an important contribution.  If the team member competing for the travel allowance has continued developing the software after finishing her/his studies, the description should indicate what was developed when the individual was a student and what has been added since.

An installable software package with its source code for use by the award committee. It should be accompanied by enough information to allow the judges to effectively use and evaluate the software (including its design considerations.)  This information can be provided in a variety of ways, including but not limited to a user manual (paper or electronic), a paper, a URL, and online help to the system.

All materials must be in English.  We prefer that electronic text be submitted in Postscript or PDF.  The entries will be judged on a variety of dimensions, including the importance and relevance for statistical practice of the tasks performed by the software, ease of use, clarity of description, elegance and availability for use by the statistical community. Preference will be given to those entries that are grounded in software design rather than calculation.  The decision of the award committee is final.

All application materials must be received by 5:00pm EST, Monday, February 18, 2013 at the address below.  The winner will be announced in May and the award will be given at the 2013 Joint Statistical Meetings.

Information on the competition can also be accessed on the website of the Statistical Computing Section ( or see the ASA website, for a pointer), including the names and
contributions of previous winners. Inquiries and application materials should be emailed or mailed to:

Chambers Software Award
c/o Fei Chen
Johnson & Johnson
[email protected]

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