STAT C206A (= MATH C223A): Reversible Markov Chains and Random Walks on Graphs (Fall 2011)

Instructor: David Aldous

Class time: MW 5.00-6.30 in room 3113 Etcheverry.

Office Hours: Thursdays 1.00-3.00 in 351 Evans

email: (put "STAT 206" in subject)


STAT 205AB is helpful but not really necessary; upper-division level probability theory and some prior knowledge of finite Markov chains is assumed.

Grading: Students taking the course for credit are expected to read a research paper and present it in class (16 minutes) during the final 3 weeks of classes. Talks can be blackboard-and-chalk, or a laptop presentation.

Here is a list of possible papers to read. More papers can be found by doing a Google Scholar search of citations to the books below. I encourage you to choose something related to your own interests.


The course is based on the online draft book Reversible Markov Chains and Random Walks on Graphs (Aldous-Fill) and on the (print and online) book Markov Chains and Mixing Times (Levin-Peres-Wilmer). Also useful is the monograph-length paper Mathematical Aspects of Mixing Times in Markov Chains (Montenegro - Tetali).

Class-by-class schedule

The overall plan for the first 1/3 of the course is to start off with the interesting parts of chapters 2-4 of RWG, which is comparatively classical, and then turn to the first few chapters of MCMT with emphasis on the specific examples discussed there.

Student talks

Wednesday 11/16

Monday 11/21

Wednesday 11/23 No class

Monday 11/28

Wednesday 11/30

Monday 12/5