Oscar Hernan Madrid Padilla was born in Honduras, and is the first son of a family of five siblings. He grew up in some of the poorest areas in Honduras in the regions of Olancho and Santa Barbara. He attended a school where only two teachers would teach all grades simultaneously. Despite these challenges, his parents encouraged an interest in mathematics from an early age. This became crucial when in high school Oscar discovered the Honduran Mathematical Olympiads, which took Oscar in a journey that led him to be part of the first ever representation of Honduras at the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2008, where Oscar received an honorable mention. Thanks to them, Oscar made connections with CIMAT (Mexico) where, thanks to a scholarship, he pursued a Bachelor degree in Mathematics which he completed in 2013. After his time in Mexico, Oscar attended the University of Texas at Austin where he completed a Ph.D. in statistics. He then became Neyman Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2019, Oscar became Assistant Professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he has been since.
Broadly speaking, Oscar’s research lies at the intersection of statistics and computer science. More specifically, he works on problems related to high dimensional statistics, network problems, change point detection, quantile regression, and more recently on causal inference. He aims to develop computationally efficient algorithms that also enjoy strong probabilistic guarantees of convergence in a frequentist sense.
Oscar also enjoys teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses in mathematical statistics, optimization, and high-dimensional statistics. He also serves as mentor to undergraduate, master, and PhD students. Two of his female undergraduate mentees are currently pursuing graduate degrees in Cornell University and MIT. Oscar was also a mentor to Dr. Gabriel Ruiz who now works in Adobe. Currently, Oscar is advising four talented Ph.D. students who have already published or gotten papers accepted in journals such as Journal of Machine Learning Research, Journal of Causal Inference, and Computational Statistics and Data Analysis.
“To me, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates triumph over adversity, honoring those in our community who shattered barriers, exemplifying determination and proving that obstacles are conquerable.”