This book is a result of teaching stochastic processes to junior and senior undergr- uates and beginning graduate students over many years. In teaching such a course, we have realized a need to furnish students with material that gives a mathematical presentation while at the same time providing proper foundations to allow students to build an intuitive feel for probabilistic reasoning. We have tried to maintain a b- ance in presenting advanced but understandable material that sparks an interest and challenges students, without the discouragement that often comes as a consequence of not understanding the material. Our intent in this text is to develop stochastic p- cesses in an elementary but mathematically precise style and to provide suf?cient examples and homework exercises that will permit students to understand the range of application areas for stochastic processes. We also practice active learning in the classroom. In other words, we believe that the traditional practice of lecturing continuously for 50 to 75 minutes is not a very effective method for teaching. Students should somehow engage in the subject m- ter during the teaching session. One effective method for active learning is, after at most 20 minutes of lecture, to assign a small example problem for the students to work and one important tool that the instructor can utilize is the computer. So- times we are fortunate to lecture students in a classroom containing computers with a spreadsheet program, usually Microsoft's Excel.
Richard M. Feldman is a Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Texas A&M University. He received a B.A. degree in mathematics from Hope College, an M.S. degree in mathematics from Michigan State University, an M.S. degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Ohio University, and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University. His teaching interests include simulation, applied probability, and queueing theory. His consulting and funded research activities have involved modeling and simulation within manufacturing, transportation, and biological contexts. He has received several teaching awards, published papers in applied probability and queueing theory, and co-authored four books.
Ciriaco Valdez-Flores is senior risk assessment consultant at Sielken & Associates Consulting, Inc. He received a bachelor's degree from the Tecnológico at Cd. Victoria in México and master's and Ph.D. degrees from Texas A&M University, all in Industrial Engineering. He has taught graduate courses at Texas A&M University focusing in the areas of operations research and applied stochastic processes. As a consultant, he applies his background to the development of new methods of quantitative health risk assessment that incorporate simulation and decision tree theory. He has published in health risk assessment and stochastic processes, co-authored one book and has contributed to books in engineering economy and risk assessment.