Dr. Larry Shepp, the Patrick T. Harker Professor in the statistics department at the Wharton School, passed away on April 23 at the age of 76.
Wharton Dean Thomas S. Robertson noted that Dr. Shepp was "internationally recognized as a distinguished mathematician and probabilist of the highest caliber." Dr. Shepp was awarded his BS in applied mathematics from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1958, an MA in 1960 and a PhD in 1961, both in mathematics from Princeton.
Dr. Shepp joined the Penn faculty in 2010. Previously, he held positions at Rutgers University, 1997-2010, where he was named Board of Governor's Professor in 2004; Columbia University, 1973-1996; and at Stanford University, 1978-1992.
Dr. Shepp was a distinguished member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories, 1962-1996.
His research focused on automatic pattern recognition and the connectedness of random graphs and genetics. His major research interests were in probabilistic, combinatorial and statistical analysis of models for problems arising in physics, engineering and communications. Dr. Shepp's most recent focus was in the field of diabetes research. He hoped to develop an algorithm that would allow blood glucose meters to communicate with an insulin pump to automate the delivery of insulin to patients.
He developed the "Shepp-Logan" algorithm in the early 1970s, which became the worldwide standard for all CT machines. He later expanded this algorithm to MRI scans. His work was key to transforming these technologies into efficient diagnostic tools. Dr. Shepp was the winner of the Putnam Intercollegiate Mathematics Competition, the Paul Levy Prize and the IEEE Distinguished Scientist Award. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institute of Medicine and the Academy of Arts and Sciences. He made contributions to the fields of medical imaging, broadband technology, operations management and finance. He published more than 180 papers during his career.
Dr. Shepp is survived by his wife, Britt-Louise; three children; and seven grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dr. Shepp's name to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at http://jdrf.org