David Hand (statistician)


David Hand OBE
Brainwash Festival 2015 - David Hand (1).jpg
Born (1950-06-30) 30 June 1950 (age 71)
Alma materOxford University
University of Southampton
AwardsGuy Medal (Silver, 2002)
IEEE-ICDM Outstanding Contributions Award (2004)
George Box Medal (2016)
Scientific career
InstitutionsInstitute of Psychiatry
Open University
Imperial College London
ThesisThe Classification of Incomplete Vectors (1977)
Doctoral advisorBruce Godfrey Batchelor[1]

David John Hand OBE FBA (born 30 June 1950 in Peterborough[2]) is a British statistician. His research interests include multivariate statistics, classification methods, pattern recognition, computational statistics and the foundations of statistics.[3] He has written technical books on statistics, data mining, finance, classification methods, and measuring wellbeing, as well as science popularisation books including The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day; Dark Data: Why What You Don’t Know Matters; and Statistics: A Very Short Introduction. In 1991 he launched the journal Statistics and Computing, which is now celebrating its third decade.

Hand was a professor of statistics at the Open University from 1988 until 1999, when he moved to Imperial College London, where he is now Emeritus Professor of Mathematics. Between 2010 and 2018 he took an extended sabbatical to serve as Chief Scientific Advisor at Winton Capital Management. He served as president of the Royal Statistical Society in 2008-2009, then again in 2010 after Bernard Silverman stood down.[4] He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2003.[2]

He has received various awards for his work, including being elected Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries in 1999, the Guy Medal in Silver of the Royal Statistical Society in 2002, the IEEE ICDM Outstanding Contributions Award in 2004, the Credit Collections and Risk Award for Contributions to the Credit Industry in 2012, the George Box Medal for Business and Industrial Statistics in 2016, and the International Federation of Classification Societies Research Medal in 2019. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to research and innovation.[5][6]

In April 2013 he joined the board of the board of the UK Statistics Authority as a non-executive director[7] and served on the European Statistical Advisory Committee, advising the European Commission from 2016-2021. He chaired the Administrative Data Research Network from 2014-2017 and serves on many other advisory committees, including chairing the Advisory Board of the ONS’s Centre for Applied Data Ethics.

Selected works


He has published 31 books, inter alia:

  • 2001. (with Mannila H. and Smyth P). Principles of Data Mining. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0262082907
  • 2007. Measurement Theory and Practice: the World Through Quantification. Wiley, ISBN 978-0470685679
  • 2014. (with Paul Allin). The Wellbeing of Nations: Meaning, Motive and Measurement. Wiley. ISBN 978-1-118-48957-4
  • 2014. The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles and Rare Events Happen All the Time. Farrar Straus Giroux. ISBN 978-0-374-17534-4
  • 2020. 2020. (with Paul Allin) From GDP to Sustainable Wellbeing: Changing Statistics or Changing Lives? Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-3030530846
  • 2020. Dark Data: Why What You Don’t Know Matters Princeton University Press ISBN 978-0691182377


He has published over 300 scientific articles, inter alia:

  • Hand D.J. and Henley W.E. (1997) Statistical classification methods in consumer credit scoring: a review. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A, 160, 523-541.
  • Hand D.J., Blunt G., Kelly M.G., and Adams N.M. (2000) Data mining for fun and profit. Statistical Science, 15, 111-131.
  • Hand D.J. and Yu K. (2001) Idiot’s Bayes - not so stupid after all? International Statistical Review, 69, 385-398.
  • Bolton R.J. and Hand D.J. (2002) Statistical fraud detection: a review. Statistical Science, 17, 235-255.
  • Hand D.J. (2006) Classifier technology and the illusion of progress (with discussion). Statistical Science, 21, 1-34.
  • 2008. (with Ross Quinlan, Qiang Yang, Philip S. Yu and Zhou Zhihua et al.). Top 10 algorithms in data mining. Knowledge and Information Systems 14.1: 1-37.
  • Hand D.J. (2009) Measuring classifier performance: a coherent alternative to the area under the ROC curve. Machine Learning, 77, 103-123.
  • Hand D.J. (2018) Statistical challenges of administrative and transaction data (with discussion). Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A, 181, 555-605.


  1. ^ David Hand at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ a b Prof David Hand Authorised Biography at Debrett's People of Today. Accessed 2011-01-27.
  3. ^ "Professor David Hand". Imperial College London. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  4. ^ "Past President". The Royal Statistical Society. Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  5. ^ "No. 60367". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2012. p. 11.
  6. ^ "New Year Honours List 2013 - General List" (PDF). Cabinet Office. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  7. ^ London, Main campus address: Imperial College; Campus, South Kensington; SW7 2AZ, London; maps, tel: +4420 7589 5111 Campus; in, information | About this site | This site uses cookies | Report incorrect content | Log. "Appointments to the Board of the UK Statistics Authority | Imperial News | Imperial College London". Imperial News. Retrieved 7 June 2019.