Mathematical Theory of Probability (477)
In a nutshell
If there were one mathematics course that should be made compulsory for ANYONE's education, this would be it. Apart from representing beautiful and elegant mathematics, probability is absolutely essential for being able to make sense of the world around you. In fields as diverse as politics, economics or the life sciences, probabilistic models are ubiquitous and extremely powerful. This course hopes to lay the foundations and provides you with the basic tools needed to make informed choices.
The following list of topics covered is tentative so please check back frequently. General course announcements will be made via the course's Sakai page.
Homework problems and grades will be announced on Sakai as we go along. You should expect to spend about 2 1/2 hours per lecture working on homework assignments and consolidating your knowledge of the material by re-reading your notes and following up with the textbook. Homework problems will be collected at the start of each lecture.
There will be an average of one quiz per week of no more than 10 minutes' length. You should be able to answer the questions without too much trouble if you pay attention in class and keep up with the homework.
There will be NO calculators in this class. I am hoping to teach you to use your brain instead.
A total of 500 points is available for this class, which will be allocated as follows.
A note on the use of Sakai
While we try our best to accurately transfer your grades to the Sakai gradebook, mistakes do occur. It is your responsibility to check your grades and notify us of any errors no more than a week after they were first announced on Sakai.
Rules for the Midterm Exams
The exam will take place in ARC-205, where we hold lectures. We will start promptly at 12pm.
1) No notes or textbook material may be used during the exam.
2) You may bring a calculator, although I would strongly discourage you from actually using it.
3) NO other electronic devices may be used during the exam. This includes cellphones and music players of any kind. Cellphones MUST be turned off (not just silenced). If you do not have a watch and usually rely on your phone to tell the time, borrow one for the exam.
4) NO scrap paper of any type may be brought into the exam room. Paper for your rough calculations will be provided if necessary.
5) Points available per question as well as the total will be announced on the exam booklet.
6) It is YOUR responsibility to ensure that you have written your name at the top of every sheet that you turn in.
7) You will NOT be allowed access to the exam room more than 5 minutes ahead of time. PLEASE BE ON TIME. Once you have entered the room, do NOT turn over the cover page of your exam booklet until you are told to do so.
8) Only ONE person will be allowed to go to the bathroom at any one time. If you finish early please leave the room quietly. If you finish within the last 15 minutes we ask you to kindly stay until the end of the exam period to avoid total mayhem.
9) Actual and ATTEMPTED cheating is treated very seriously at Rutgers. Our academic integrity policy calls cheating in a midterm of final exam a "Level 3 violation", which could result in an F and a suspension of one or more semesters.You will have a different version of the exam from your neighbours.
10) A rescheduling of the exam is only possible in the case of serious illness, a major emergency, or a non-negotiable outside commitment. If the reason for your absence from the exam is known in advance you MUST ask for permission from the lecturer before the exam and provide appropriate evidence of your situation.
Tips for the exam itself
1) Write neatly and in the space provided. This will also help you come back to a question that you got stuck on.
Materials to help you review
1) Your textbook is very good at providing a multitude of interesting examples. However, it's quite difficult to uncover precisely what we have been doing all this time (one of those "can't-see-the-forest-for-the-trees" situations). If you just want a VERY concise summary of the actual concepts we have covered, with few distracting examples, I recommend Prof. Kennedy's Probability IA lecture notes from Cambridge. We've now covered almost everything up to and including Section 4.3, with the exception of conditional distributions which we'll do formally after the exam.
2) If you want to see what past exams for 477 have looked like, have a look at Prof. Speer's page. Scroll all the way to the bottom to find his midterm exams from the fall semester with solutions. There are also review problems available from the same spot. Moreover, he maintains a separate page where he collects solutions to selected exercises from the book which might be useful to you.
3) Work through the examples we did in class for each topic. Do NOT look at the solutions without trying very hard to solve them yourself first. What we did in class is very representative of what is in my head, and the same holds for the exam.
3) Do as many practice questions from the book as you can, preferably those that have solutions so you can check your answers. Or try those covered my Prof. Speer's page, see 2) above.
4) We will have a review in class on Thursday. Please come prepared.
The Probability Challenge
In addition to homework and quizzes, I will be setting one Probability Challenge question per week, as per student request now on Monday due before class the following Monday. Answers should be submitted by electronic mail to jwolf137 at rutgers dot math dot edu.
Each "x" is worth 1 point. Each "♣" is worth 3 points. I'll try and update this page after every round. Please let me know by email if you think there is a mistake in this table.
|This page was last updated 20th January 2009.||© 2003-2019 Julia Wolf|