Dr Joris Mooij (1980) has been appointed professor of Mathematical Statistics at the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam.
Mooij’s research focuses primarily on causality. It is well known that correlation alone does not imply causation. How, then, to estimate causal relations from data, and how to predict what happens under interventions? These are central questions in causality, a topic of rising interest within the fields of statistics and machine learning. Mooij’s work in this area covers a broad spectrum, ranging from foundations to applications, and his contributions combine statistical, modelling, and algorithmic aspects.
As a professor, Mooij will continue to investigate fundamental questions in this research area, with the ultimate goal of enabling the automated and reliable large-scale estimation of causal models from data in order to predict effects of interventions on systems. Several steps will have to be taken to realise this goal. Firstly, extending and solidifying the foundations of statistical causal modelling. Secondly, the development of reliable algorithms for estimation of such models from data and for making data-driven causal predictions. Finally, the validation of these methods in practical applications within diverse domains, for example in biology, medicine or business analytics.
In addition to conducting and leading research, Mooij will teach several classes on statistics and data science, including a new course - Causality - for the MSc in Mathematics.
Mooij has been affiliated with the UvA’s Faculty of Science since 2013, first as assistant professor and then as associate professor. From 2007 to 2010 he worked as a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen, Germany. In 2007, Mooij obtained his PhD from the Radboud University Nijmegen, having previously obtained an MSc in Mathematics and an MSc in Physics from the same university. Over the years, Mooij has served the scientific community in a number of roles. He is currently Action Editor of the Journal of Machine Learning Research. Mooij has received several personal grants to fund his research group, including a VIDI grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and an ERC Starting Grant from the European Research Council. His research is also funded by various industry partners.