Will Perkins awarded EPSRC first grant

Dr Will Perkins has been awarded an EPSRC first grant, working at the interface of Probability, Combinatorics and Computational Complexity with a focus on Gibbs distributions. These probability distributions have proved invaluable in describing the behaviour of physical systems. Moreover, the simple framework of Gibbs distributions has become ubiquitous in fields far from statistical physics under the name "probabilistic graphical models": these fields include Bayesian statistics, optimisation, machine learning, mathematical biology, artificial intelligence, and many others. Will's project aims to develop new rigorous analytic and computational methods for understanding Gibbs distributions, and in particular, the physical heuristics that underly two associated algorithms, Markov Chain Monte Carlo and Belief Propagation.