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Peter Bryant

Professor of Decision Sciences

Peter Bryant


  • PhD Statistics, Stanford University
  • MS Statistics, Purdue University
  • AB Mathematics, Harvard College
  • Applied Mathematics, Technische Hochschule Muenchen, Munich, Germany

Courses Taught

  • Business Statistics QUAN 2010
  • Data Analysis for Managers BUSN 6530
  • Research Methods ISMG 7220/QUAN 6220

Areas of Expertise

  • Data analysis
  • Classification and clustering methods
  • Data mining
  • Methods for non-random samples
  • Mixture models

Teaching Philosophy

I base my teaching philosophy on three ideas:

Learning is something the students do, not something I do for them. My role is primarily to supervise the energy the students invest in the learning process and to steer it in useful directions.

The best use of classroom time together is not necessarily to duplicate the textbook or other materials, but to present alternative points of view and discuss and debate the material. When students articulate ideas and defend them, they begin to take real ownership in them, and a different level of learning begins to emerge.

Technical topics are best learned in a practical context, one in which theory and practice reinforce each other.

Real learning is fun, exciting, turbulent, sometimes scary, and almost never easy. I learn a lot from my students, and I enjoy being around as they learn, too.

Professional History

Academic Experience:

  • Associate Professor, Professor, Area Coordinator, Associate Dean, University of Colorado at Denver, 1981-present


  • Associate, Senior Associate, Staff, Advisory Programmer, IBM Corporation, various locations, 1964-81

Selected Publications

Books and Book Chapters:

  • Practical Data Analysis: Case Studies in Business Statistics, Richard D. Irwin, 1995, 1999 (with Marlene A. Smith)
  • "Interactive Statistical Data Analysis with Large Data Structures," Perspectives in Biometrics, Academic Press, 1975 (with M. Schatzoff and A. P. Dempster)
  • "Maximum Likelihood and Classification: A Comparison of Three Approaches," Classification as a Tool of Research, North-Holland, 1986 (with J. A. Williamson)


  • "An extended MDL penalty function for binomial proportions," Statistical Methodology (to appear)
  • "Model Selection Using the Minimum Description Length Principle," The American Statistician, 2000 (with Olga I. Cordero-Braña)
  • "Large-Sample Results for Optimization-Based Clustering Methods," Journal of Classification, 1991
  • "Price Fixing: The Probability of Getting Caught," The Review of Economics and Statistics, 1991 (with E. W. Eckard)
  • "On Characterizing Optimization-Based Clustering Methods," Journal of Classification, 1988
  • "Geometry, Statistics, Probability: Variations on a Common Theme," The American Statistician, 1984
  • "Asymptotic Behaviour of Classification Maximum Likelihood Estimates," Biometrika, 1978 (with J. A. Williamson)
  • "Cross-Pollination Studies Involving Male-Sterile (ms2,ms2) Genotypes in Cowpeas, Vigna Unguiculata (L. Walp.)," Crop Science, 1978 (with K. M. Rawal et al)
  • "Experiments in Line Quality Monitoring," IBM Systems Journal, 1976 (with F. Giesin and R. Hayes)
  • "On Testing for Clusters Using the Sample Covariance Matrix," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, 1975
  • "Predicting Working Set Sizes," IBM Journal of Research and Development, 1975
  • "On the Sum of Powers of Integers," The American Statistician, 1974 (with P. E. O'Neil)
  • "The Expected Number of Stops of an Elevator," SIAM Review, 1973 (with P. E. O'Neil)
  • "A Short Proof of a Known Lemma," The American Statistician, 1972
  • "Levels of Computer Systems," Communications of the ACM, 1966


  • "On the Minimum Description Length (MDL) for Hierarchical Classifications," Proceedings of IFCS-96: Data Science, Classification, and Related Methods, in the Springer series Studies in Classification, Data Analysis, and Knowledge Organization, 1997
  • "MDL for Mixtures of Normal Distributions," Data Analysis and Information Systems, Proceedings of the 19th Annual Conference of the Gesellschaft für Klassifikation, e.V., 1996
  • "On Selecting Software Test Cases," Proceedings, Decision Sciences Institute Annual Meeting, 1987
  • "Computerizing the Small Firm: An Exploratory Survey," Proceedings, AIDS National Conference, 1982
  • "Computer-Aided System Design," Proceedings, Fall Joint Computer Conference, 1970 (with E. D. Crockett, et al)

Current Research

  • Statistical methods for large data sets
  • Classification and clustering
  • Methods for measuring and displaying the uncertainty in clustering results
  • Selected Consulting Experience
  • Various data analysis assignments in manufacturing, law, etc.

Achievements and Honors

  • Outstanding Faculty Member, Business School at the University of Colorado at Denver, 1997
  • Teacher Who Makes a Difference Award, Channel 4 and Rocky Mountain News, 1987
  • Outstanding Faculty Member, Business School at the University of Colorado at Denver, 1991
  • Outstanding Teaching Award, Business School at the University of Colorado at Denver, 1987

Academic and Professional Activities

  • Member: American Statistical Association, Classification Society of North America (former board member and president), Gesellschaft fuer Klassification
  • Reviewer: Various journals

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