First-Passage Processes in Physics and Beyond

PIRSA ID: 22110115
Series: Colloquium
Event Type: Seminar
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A fundamental aspect of a random walk is determining when it reaches a specified threshold position for the first time.  This first-passage time, and more generally, the distribution of first passage times underlies many non-equilibrium phenomena, such as the triggering of integrate and fire neurons, the statistics of cell division, and the execution of stock options.  The computation of the first-passage time and its distribution is both simple and beautiful, with profound connections to electrostatic potential theory.  I will present some aspects of these fundamentals and then discuss applications of first-passage ideas to diverse phenomena, including stochastic search processes and a toy model of wealth sharing.

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