An introduction to thinking like a probabilist about biology

Louis Gross (June 18, 2012)

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Abstract

This set of lectures and discussions will provide a quick one-day conceptual overview of stochastic issues in biology. Time permitting, I will point out the major conceptual approaches to stochasticity as typically applied in biology (random walks, Markov chains, birth and death processes, branching processes, agent-based models, stochastic DEs, diffusion processes, statistical modeling, Bayesian methods) and make the connection between these and deterministic analogs.

The learning objectives for this day are:

-Assist attendees in developing some intuition concerning how to think about biology from the perspective of probability distributions;
-Encourage attendees to realize that there are diverse methods and models that can be applied across many fields of biology that have similar mathematical underpinnings, and these may be related to simpler deterministic models; and
-Provide attendees with some hands-on experience with analysis of a stochastic process using simple computer tools.