John Kinney Memorial Lecture*

Thursday, August 29, 2013
10:20 am
1400 BPS, Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48823


The Search For Randomness**


Persi Diaconis

Mary V. Sunseri Professor of Statistics and Mathematics
Stanford University
Persi Diaconis

I will take a careful look at some of our most primitive images of random phenomena: flipping a coin, spinning a roulette wheel, and shuffling cards. For each, there is a well-developed mathematical theory BUT comparison with the real thing shows that we are lazy and often the usual laws of probability break down. This has implications for both the casino and for routine mathematical modeling (big models and big data).

From, “Diaconis left home at 14 to travel with sleight-of-hand legend Dai Vernon, and dropped out of high school, promising himself that he would return one day so that he could learn all of the math necessary to read William Feller’s famous two-volume treatise on probability theory, An Introduction to Probability Theory and Its Applications. He returned to school (City College of New York for his undergraduate work graduating in 1971 and then a Ph.D. in Mathematical Statistics from Harvard University in 1974), learned to read Feller, and became a mathematical probabilist”.

Professor Diaconis has contributed much to probability, statistics and mathematics. He has received numerous honorary degrees and awards including a MacArthur Fellowship, 1982 – 1987, and election to the National Academy of Sciences, 1995.

* The John Kinney Memorial Endowment Fund was established by Larry and Lois Dimmitt to support lectures in the memory of John Kinney. Professor Kinney was a member of the Departments of Statistics and Probability and Mathematics at MSU, 1965 - 1983. He would have been very pleased to know that Persi Diaconis will present the inaugural John Kinney Memorial Lecture. John also thought “out-of-the-box.”
**Professor Diaconis will give his second lecture in the Departments of Statistics and Probability and Mathematics on Friday, August 30 at 10:20AM in C405 Wells Hall. PLEASE NOT THE HAS CHANGED The title of that talk is “Mathematics and Statistics for Large Networks.” Click here for more information.
Department of Statistics and Probability
619 Red Cedar Road Rm C413
East Lansing, MI 48824 |
Phone: (517) 355-9589 | Fax: (517) 432-1405