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.
(19 August 2019):
serious contender principle is working pretty well so far for the
2020 Democratic presidential nomination: maximum Predictit prices so far are
(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
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|
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org