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.

(NEW: October 2020): The Right Way to Think About the Future: scenario planning and probabilistic forecasting. I remain enthusiastic about Tetlock's emphasis on probabilistic forecasting; the link is to a current article of his from Foreign Affairs.

(September 2020): I am putting some less mathematical posts on medium.com. Listed here, most recent first.

A few more recent blog-like observations are below.

(August 2020): The serious contender principle worked pretty well for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination: maximum Predictit prices were

Biden Sanders Warren Bloomberg Harris Buttigieg Yang
100 65 51 34 29 24 14
Recall that the principle says that (on average) there should be
2 candidates whose maximimum price exceeds 50
3 candidates whose maximimum price exceeds 33
4 candidates whose maximimum price exceeds 25
5 candidates whose maximimum price exceeds 20
so the fluctuations in perceived winning probabilities are close to typical.

(February 2020): Another 2 minute speech, this time from Persi Diaconis's 75 birthday celebration. I remain available at low rates .....

(January 2020): Because of my interest in probability assessments for the medium-long term future I always look at the annual Global Risks Report. Here is the entire report and here is the key graphic I discuss in class and popular talks. Looking at predictions from 5 or 10 or 15 years ago gives some sense of how accurate such consensus predictions have been. Unfortunately neither the likelihoods nor the economic impacts are honestly quantitative; they just ask participants to assess "on a scale of 1 to 5" with only verbal descriptions of those numerical meanings. Note that the risks assessed as most serious are climate change related.

(December 2019): I have written both a longer PDF review and a shorter amazon.com review of Ian Stewart's Do Dice Play God: The Mathematics of Uncertainty.

(December 2019): Analogous to Wikipedia's nice "zooming in" demonstration of Brownian scaling, Yucheng Wang has made this MP4 demonstration of the emergence of scale-invariance when we grow a network in the plane by adding random points and using a scale-invariant rule for linking them to the existing network. See this page for explanation.

(August 2019): A coincidence question. Almost all probability-related questions on Quora are elementary or inane, but I noted a recent one (ironically, soon deleted) that was more interesting to me.

What are the odds that at least 2 players of a 128 players tournament face each other 2 consecutive years?

Here is my brief analysis.

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

Teaching


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.

Books

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