Pratima Hebbar, Probability Seminar on October 21, 2021
Description of some work with Elizabeth Meckes at SEPC 2021
SEPC 2021 in honor of Elizabeth Meckes. Slides from the talks and more information are available <a href="https://services.math.duke.edu/~rtd/SEPC2021/SEPC2021.html">at this link (here).</a>
An emerging way to protect privacy is to replace true data by synthetic data. Medical records of artificial patients, for example, could retain meaningful statistical information while preserving privacy of the true patients. But what is synthetic data, and what is privacy? How do we define these concepts mathematically? Is it possible to make synthetic data that is both useful and private? I will tie these questions to a simple-looking problem in probability theory: how much information about a random vector X is lost when we take conditional expectation of X with respect to some sigma-algebra? This talk is based on a series of papers with March Boedihardjo and Thomas Strohmer.
David Aldous, Probability Seminar Sept 30, 2021 TITLE: Can one prove existence of an infectiousness threshold (for a pandemic) in very general models of disease spread? ABSTRACT: Intuitively, in any kind of disease transmission model with an infectiousness parameter, there should exist a critical value of the parameter separating a very likely from a very unlikely resulting pandemic. But even formulating a general conjecture is challenging. In the most simplistic model (SI) of transmission, one can prove this for an essentially arbitrary large weighted contact network. The proof for SI depends on a simple lemma concerning hitting times for increasing set-valued Markov processes. Can one extend to SIR or SIS models over similarly general networks, where the lemma is no longer applicable?