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Assistant Professor

Departments of Statistics and Mathematics, and the College

Jian Ding’s research area is centered around discrete probability, in particular problems with a combinatorial flavor. He studies Gibbs measures, Markov chain Monte Carlo methods, random walks, and random graphs. He is working with James Lee and Yuval Peres on a research project that relates the cover time of a random walk on a graph to the “Gaussian free field,” thereby solving a major open problem stated by Aldous and Fill in 1996 on deterministic approximation of the cover time.

The results of this work provide a deterministic estimate of the cover time stated in terms of the expected maximum of a Gaussian process. Such maxima were extensively studied by many mathematicians and statisticians, including Talagrand, as they play a crucial role in the theory of empirical processes.

Ding is originally from Hunan in China and attended Peking University for his undergraduate studies. He completed his PhD in statistics at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011. Before joining the University of Chicago, he was a Szegö Assistant Professor at Stanford University.

Ding joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2012.