David Aldous's Home Page

I have retired from Berkeley, effective end-June 2018. However I will continue with light-duty research and professional activities. In particular I have been updating and expanding my open research problems page. But I am focussing more on my ongoing "Probability and the Real World" activities, below.

July 2018 official launch! Previously haphazard material now organized and expanded.
"Probability and the Real World" project
What aspects of the real world involve chance? What does mathematical probability tell us about those aspects? What concepts from mathematical probability can be illustrated by interesting real data? This web site records my efforts to articulate some answers to such questions. It is aimed at readers who have either read some "popular science" style account of probability, or taken a college course involving probability.

Short cut to Reviews of non-technical books relating to Probability.

Not a Blog: Essays, Musings and Observations

The link goes to an index page, mostly brief articles of mine addressed to students and faculty in probability and statistics and the mathematical sciences. A few recent blog-like observations are below.

(19 August 2019): The serious contender principle is working pretty well so far for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination: maximum Predictit prices so far are

Biden Harris Sanders Warren Buttigieg Yang
36 29 23 31 20 14

(May 2019): Yuval Peres has started a blog Mathematics Uncorked on research-level problems in probability and related fields.

(January 2019): The most thorough book-length discussion of the Fermi Paradox has been given by Milan M. Cirkovic: see my review here.

(September 2018): I was asked to give a 2-minute talk at the dedication ceremony for the new David Blackwell Hall. Several people kindly said they enjoyed the talk, so here it is.

(August 2018): My review of an excellent book The Money Formula: Dodgy Finance, Pseudo Science, and How Mathematicians Took Over the Markets.

(July 2018): Were there unusually many upsets in the 2018 World Cup? Here is a little statistical analysis from the "round of 16" and subsequent matches. Of these 16 matches, 9 were won by the favorite and 7 by the underdog. This sounds like around 2 more underdog wins than expected, but this is too little data to say anything more precise.

A more sophisticated analysis [see details of what follows] exploits the probabilities for each match winner. This allows us to attach more weight to "major upsets". We use a formula that represents the overall "extent of upsets" on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 means "every match won by the favorite" and 100 means "every match won by the underdog". The formula is designed so that, before the tournament starts, each number between 0 and 100 would be equally likely.

The bottom line is 90. That is, in only 10% of tournaments would one expect more than this level of upsets. The single main upset, as most would agree, was Russia's win over Spain.

FYI A BBC article on other aspects of the World Cup

My Research Site
Short cut to Papers and preprints and to slides from recent talks and to open research problems.


For the record, here is a complete list of courses since 2001 (only the most recent version of each course is listed).

For many years I supervised these Undergraduate Research Projects.


Probability Approximations via the Poisson Clumping Heuristic Springer, 1989
Reversible Markov Chains and Random Walks on Graphs (with Jim Fill) Draft chapters

Professional Activities

Personal stuff
Humor, photos, outside activities, .......

Contact information

Postal Address: T.B.A.
Telephone: fuhgeddaboudit
E-mail address: aldousdj@berkeley.edu