Applied Probability section meeting: Probabilistic coupling and geometry workshop

Written by Stephen Connor on . Posted in Sections and local group meeting reports

A workshop on probabilistic coupling and geometry was held 9-10 December 2019 at the University of Warwick to mark Professor Wilfrid Kendall's 65th birthday. 

Probabilistic coupling refers to the practice of constructing two (or more) probability measures on a single measurable space in order to compare them. Some of its main applications include representing one process in terms of another, proving stochastic comparison arguments, bounding the rate of convergence of Markov processes, and simulation algorithms.

Wilfrid Kendall has made significant contributions in all of these areas and beyond. In addition, he has played important roles within the probability and statistics community: he was the co-founder of the Academy for PhD Training in Statistics (APTS), which for the last 13 years has provided fundamental training courses for first year PhD students across the UK; in 2011 he helped to found the Applied Probability Section of the Royal Statistical Society; and from 2013-2015 he was president of the Bernoulli Society.

Some 45 people attended the workshop, which was funded by a London Mathematical Society Conference Grant, and co-sponsored by both the Bernoulli Society and the Royal Statistical Society. The workshop's principal speakers were as follows: Sayan Banerjee (University of North Carolina), Julia Brettschneider (University of Warwick), Prof. Krzysztof Burdzy (University of Washington), Elisabetta Candellero (Università degli Studi Roma Tre), Prof. Huiling Le (University of Nottingham), Prof. Gareth Roberts (University of Warwick), Prof. Jeffrey Rosenthal (University of Toronto) and Giacomo Zanella (Università Bocconi). 

Over the course of the two day workshop, attendees were treated to 15 high-quality talks. These were all either delivered by Wilfrid's collaborators and colleagues, or concerned work inspired by his research. Topics covered include: change points in dynamic networks; analysis of dead pixel patterns in x-ray detectors; Archimedes' principle; Stein's method; a number of perfect simulation and MCMC techniques; stochastic control; card shuffling; an oil and water model; phylogenetic tree analysis; random growth models; random walks with memory. The mixture of theory and applications, and the broad range of subjects, showed just how widely Wilfrid has influenced the field of probability during the last forty years. The proceedings concluded with a conference dinner sponsored by the Department of Statistics at the University of Warwick.

Further details about the workshop can be found at https://tinyurl.com/wsk65.

Applied Probability section

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