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Personal profile

Personal Statement

I am a Lecturer in Combinatorics in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences.

My research interests are in enumerative, asymptotic and extremal combinatorics, particularly in relation to permutation classes.

Enumerative combinatorics is concerned with counting, either exactly or approximately, the number of discrete structures satisfying certain constraints. Asymptotic combinatorics is to do with determining the structure and properties of typical large discrete objects. Extremal combinatorics concerns determining the size of the largest possible discrete structures of a given type.

A bit of background

In the 1980s, following undergraduate studies in mathematics at the University of Oxford, I undertook some computer science research. For my Oxford M.Sc. dissertation, I developed a model for the denotational semantics of the concurrent programming language occam. Following this, I spent two years in industry, during which I produced a paper that introduced weighted reference counting, now a key method for managing memory in distributed computer architectures.

This was followed by a career in software development, first as a developer, consultant and trainer, based in Papua New Guinea, and subsequently as a software engineer and development manager in the UK.

In my spare time, I carried out some independent mathematical research resulting in the publication of a paper improving on a long-standing extremal result of Erdős and Füredi in discrete geometry. In 2012, I left software development for full-time mathematical research, and in 2015 was awarded a PhD from The Open University. The topic of my thesis was the growth of permutation classes. Following a year as a Visiting Research Fellow and Associate Lecturer at The Open University, I took up my current position in September 2016.


Research Interests

My research interests concern aspects of enumerative, asymptotic and extremal combinatorics, particularly with relation to permutations.


Recent publications

My Google Scholar page and my dblp page include older publications.

Slides from talks

Mathematica demonstrations

Teaching Interests

My current teaching includes the following:

CS103 Machines, Languages and Computation (Semester 2)

Propositional logic and proofs using natural deduction; normal forms and satisfiability; computational complexity, P and NP; finite state automata and regular expressions, the Brzozowski algebraic method and the pumping lemma; Turing machines, undecidability, the halting problem and the Entsheidungsproblem.

CS104 Information and Information Systems (Module 1: Information Theory)

Data and information (syntax and semantics, text encodings, Unicode and UTF-8); error detection and correction (repetition codes, parity bits and Hamming codes); data compression (run-length encoding, Huffman coding and LZW); measuring information (entropy) and Shannon's Source Coding Theorem.

CS106 Computer Systems and Organisation (Semester 2)
CS107 Fundamentals of Computer Systems

Computer organization; MIPS assembly programming and the MIPS Instruction Set Architecture (registers, memory addressing, logical and shifting operations, jumps and branches, loops and arrays, integers and integer arithmetic, subroutines and the call stack, recursion); exceptions; memory caching; virtual memory.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Open University


Bachelor of Arts, London Bible College


Master of Science, University of Oxford


Master of Arts, University of Oxford


External positions

Visiting Research Fellow, Open University

Aug 2015Oct 2016

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Research Output 2006 2018

  • 11 Article
  • 1 Conference Contribution
  • 1 Doctoral Thesis

Intervals of permutation class growth rates

Bevan, D., 30 Apr 2018, In : Combinatorica. 38, 2, p. 279-303 25 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
2 Citations (Scopus)

Prolific permutations and permuted packings: downsets containing many large patterns

Bevan, D., Homberger, C. & Tenner, B. E., 31 Jan 2018, In : Journal of Combinatorial Theory Series A . 153, p. 98-121 24 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Strombus or kite or diamond

Activities 2015 2017

  • 2 Organiser of major conference
  • 1 Organiser of special symposia

Genomics, Pattern Avoidance, and Statistical Mechanics

David Bevan (Organiser)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganiser of special symposia

26th British Combinatorial Conference

David Bevan (Member of programme committee)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganiser of major conference