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During this period of preparing for the special issue of the Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality in honour of Steve Fienberg, we received news of the tragic events that occurred at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27th, 2018 and the sudden senseless death of Joyce Fienberg. Whilst Steve was a great support and mentor to me as I embarked on my PhD research at the Hebrew University and the University of Southampton in 2004, he was married to an extraordinary woman who showed endless kindness to me and all of Steve’s students and mentees. I had a wonderful visit to CMU during my sabbatical period in November 2011 spending much quality time with both Steve and Joyce.
As my mentor, Steve marked my PhD dissertation in 2007, provided me with advice and support as I embarked on an academic career and provided many recommendation and promotion letters over the years. I can honestly credit Steve with where I am at today in my academic career. Steve was instrumental in bringing differential privacy to the forefront of research in statistical disclosure limitation and provided many opportunities to bring statisticians and computer scientists together for collaborations. Our most recent initiative was the Data Linkage and Anonymisation Programme at the Isaac Newton Institute of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge from July through December 2016. Steve was to participate in the programme but alas his illness took the better of him during that time. In fact, Steve was to participate in all three programmes that were running at the Institute: Data Linkage and Anonymisation, Theoretical Foundations for Statistical Network Analysis and Probability and Statistics in Forensic Science which only goes to show the breadth and depth of his research activities and achievements. He was sorely missed.
I can only hope that these words of devotion and appreciation will provide some comfort to Steve and Joyce’s family. I end with a Hebrew blessing - Zichronom livracha – may their memories be a blessing.
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