Math 546 versus Math 648-649:
The graduate probability course Math 648-649 has bifurcated into
two courses, Math/AMCS 546 and Math 648-649 (cross-listed Stat 930-931).
Both involve the foundations of measure theoretic probability theory.
Math 648 spends more time on proofs of the major theorems. It is intended
for Ph.D. students in areas such as math and statistics, whose research
may involve creating new theorems.
The new 546 is also a measure-theoretic treatment and handles the
definitions and constuctions at the same level as does Math 648-649.
However, it replaces some of the time spent on proofs of classical
theorems with the formulation and analysis of probability models.
For example these may include hidden Markov models,
latent Dirichlet models, micro-arrays, theory of information channels,
stochastic approximation and gradient descent, preferential attachment,
and randomized algorithms. Math 546 is intended for students planning
graduate study in any field that makes use of probability. While it
is presently only a one-semester course, the topic coverage will not
be restricted to 648 but will cover a good part of 649 as well.
Teaching methodology will be project oriented and partially flipped,
giving students a chance to spend significant class time on deeper study
of specific models of interest to them.
We strongly urge any student other than Math and Stat Ph.D. students
to check out both. The classes 648 and 546 both meet 12:00-1:30
on "odd days" (MWF), with 648 meeting on MW and 546 on MF. This
should mean that any student who is free to take one class could
also fit the other in their schedule. Each class will have 2 meetings
before the classes collide on Monday September 9. This should give
students a chance to figure out which is more suitable. The instructor
for 648 is Zhenfu WANG. The instructor for 546 is Robin PEMANTLE.