How far does a drunkard get?
Occasion: Graduate Student Colloquium
Place: Tulane University
AbstractWe are interested in the distance that a random walker travels in a certain number of steps. This classical problem which was asked around 1905 by Karl Pearson, one of the fathers of modern statistics, paradoxically becomes especially interesting in the case of short walks of only 3 or 4 steps. For instance: what is the average distance traveled in 3 steps? This innocent question has a surprising mix of combinatorial, analytical and computational aspects. The talk, for the most part, does not assume any advanced math and will try to highlight ideas and methods of the relatively new field of "experimental mathematics".
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