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Stochastic processes occur in finance as models for asset prices, in telecommunications as models for data traffic, in computational biology as hidden Markov models for gene structure, in chemistry as models for reactions, in manufacturing as models for assembly and inventory processes, in biology as models for the growth and dispersion of plant and animal populations, in speech pathology and speech recognition and many other areas.
This course introduces the theory of stochastic processes including Poisson processes, Markov chains in discrete and continuous time, and renewal processes. These processes are illustrated using examples from real-life situations. It then considers in more detail important applications in areas such as queues and networks (the foundation of telecommunication models), finance, and genetics.
Intended learning outcomes
After completing this subject students should:
- understand the basic concepts of random processes in discrete and continuous time;
- acquire an appreciation of how randomness and variability in time can be mathematically described using probability theory;
- be able to build, analyze and simulate basic stochastic models for simple real-life random phenomena evolving in time.
In addition to learning specific skills that will assist students in their future careers in science, they will have the opportunity to develop generic skills that will assist them in any future career path. These include:
- problem-solving skills: the ability to engage with unfamiliar problems and identify relevant solution strategies;
- analytical skills: the ability to construct and express logical arguments and to work in abstract or general terms to increase the clarity and efficiency of analysis;
- collaborative skills: the ability to work in a team;
- time-management skills: the ability to meet regular deadlines while balancing competing commitments.
Last updated: 5 August 2020