CWI Peter Grünwald

Peter Grünwald heads the information-theoretic learning group at the Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica (CWI), the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science, located in Amsterdam. He is also part-time full professor (a very Dutch construction) at Leiden University. His research interests lie where statistics, computer science and information theory meet: theories of learning from data. He is author of the book The Minimum Description Length Principle, MIT Press, June 2007. April 2010 he was co-awarded the Van Dantzig prize. Until July 2010 he headed the NWO VIDI research project Learning when All Models are Wrong. As of July 2010, he heads the NWO VICI project Safe Statistics. He is a steering committee member of the EU PASCAL Network of Excellence.

General Information:

Students looking for Internships, read this:

I frequently get emails from (mostly but not only Indian) students who ask whether they can do an internship under my guidance. In fact I get so many these days that I cannot reply to them individually any more. So, if you want to do an internship, be advised that I will only consider Ph.D. students at an advanced stage of their Ph.D. trajectory, and only if their Ph.D. research has close ties to the research we're doing in my group at CWI; if you do not fall into this category, then unfortunately I cannot help you!

Other (somewhat) Recent Issues


  • In 2012, the Dutch monthly magazine Groene Amsterdammer asked 89 research scientists in the Netherlands about the most important developments in their fields. I was one of them, and here is my contribution (in Dutch).
  • Lucia de Berk is a nurse who has been convicted for murdering or attempting to murder 10 patients, based to a large extent on flawed medical and flawed statistical evidence. I am part of a group of concerned philosophers, medical doctors, statisticians and others who have been actively involved in trying to reopen the case. By far the most active among these people were Metta de Noo, Ton Derksen and Richard Gill. After more than six years in prison, on April 2nd, 2008, Lucia was temporarily released. October 2008, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands decided that the case will be reopened. March 17th, 2010, the public prosecution asked the judges to overturn the conviction. Finally! It now counts as the greatest miscarriage of justice in Dutch history.
  • How many people have ever lived on earth? See here (in Dutch).
  • My book, The Minimum Description Length Principle, MIT Press, June 2007. This book is the first comprehensive introduction and reference guide to this exciting paradigm for statistics and machine learning.
  • This sample chapter of the above book contains extensive discussion about how MDL relates to other statistical (Bayesian, frequentist, machine learning) methods.
  • 2010 class on information-theoretic learning at Leiden University.

Prof. Dr. Peter Grünwald
P.O. Box 94079
NL-1090 GB Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Telephone +31-20-5924115
Telefax + 31-20-5924312

Last updated: August 2014.