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May 21, 2014

People Behind JMP Software: Russ Wolfinger

Today, we're releasing the latest version of JMP Clinical and would like to introduce you to someone who is essential to this product (as well as JMP Genomics): Russ Wolfinger.

You may know him as a blogger in this space, but Russ' real job at JMP is Director of Scientific Discovery and Genomics. He has a PhD in statistics from North Carolina State University (NCSU) and is a co-author of more than 100 articles. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, and a leading member of the MicroArray Quality Control (MAQC) Consortium.

Russ started working in software development at SAS in 1989 as a way to earn money after graduate school while his wife was finishing her PhD. "I was immediately hooked and still absolutely love writing code," Russ says.

For his first 10 years at SAS, he worked on developing statistical procedures in linear and nonlinear mixed models, multiple testing and density estimation, and then moved into the scientific discovery and genomics areas. Russ currently leads a JMP R&D team that writes analytical tools for the life sciences.

You can meet Russ in person if you attend our hands-on workshops on clinical genomics in the UK, Italy, France and Switzerland in April -- he's the keynote speaker.

Arati: What do you like most about JMP and its customized life sciences products, JMP Genomics and JMP Clinical?

Russ: We offer a magical combination of deep analytics and dynamic visualization.

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Arati: Do you use JMP in your job or for personal projects? If so, how?

Russ: Of course! Examples include using JMP Journals for presentations instead of PowerPoint, a volleyball stat tracker and a 3D star viewer.

Arati: What are your favorite JMP Clinical features?

Russ: We recently added the ability to define and statistically analyze time windows. This is invaluable in understanding time trends across domains of a clinical trial. Our Subject Profiler is also very good.

Arati: What new feature of JMP Clinical 3 do you consider most significant?

Russ: The extensive capabilities for drill-down and swim-up, neatly organized into tabbed reports.

Arati: What’s most exciting to you as a developer?

Russ: The chance to work with very talented and fun colleagues to have a positive impact on the world with software that harnesses the immense power of statistics and graphics for interpreting data, understanding scientific mechanisms and predicting outcomes.

Arati: What books are you reading right now?

Russ: I'm reading Purpose in the Living World by Jacob Klapwijk and Myth of Religious Neutrality by Roy Clouser.

Arati: What do you like to do in your free time?

Russ: I coach volleyball (two daughters play) and work out, do home projects and play guitar.

Arati: Pick two of the following to identify: your favorite programming language, favorite algorithm, favorite formula, favorite theorem or favorite software tool.

Russ: Among formulas, my favorites are mixed model equations because they elegantly accommodate linear models, covariance structure and shrinkage estimation. My favorite algorithm is sweep, an important part of [SAS CEO] Jim Goodnight's first SAS programs and still going strong — I wonder how many times sweep code has been called?