Lec: | Soc Sci 136 | Lab: | Old Chem 01 |

Tue & Thu 2:50-4:05pm | Wed 10:05-10:55am or 11:55am-12:45pm | ||

Prof: | Robert L. Wolpert | TA: | Ken Van Haren, Jonathan Cohen, Anjishnu Banerjee |

E-mail: |
wolpert@stat.duke.edu |
krv2@stat.duke.edu,
jonathan.cohen@duke.edu
| |

Office: | Old Chem 211c, 684-3275 | Old Chem 211a, 684-5884 | |

OH: | Wed 1:30-2:30pm | Mon 4-7pm, Thu 5-8pm | |

Tue & Thu 4:05-4:20pm (in classroom) |

Home Page | Syllabus | PDF Formulas | Data |

Statistical inference is like probability theory, only backwards. In
probability we start with a distribution (say, the normal with specified mean
μ and variance σ^{2}) and predict features of future
observations **x**=(*x*_{1}, *x*_{2},...,
*x*_{n}); in statistics we observe the data **x** and then
try to guess the distribution (or just the parameters) that generated them.

Statistical modeling and inference depend on the mathematical theory of
probability, and solving practical problems usually requires integration or
optimization in several dimensions. Thus this course requires a solid
mathematical background: calculus at the level of MTH212(103) or MTH222(105) and at least
co-registration in linear algebra MTH221(104) or MTH216(107).
Students must be *proficient* in calculus-based probability theory at
the level of MTH230(135)/STA230(104) (we will review that material the first week of
class). Here is a Diagnostic Test. If it seems
easy to you then you're probably ready to take this class. Students without
strong preparation in these will need to invest significant additional time
to fill in the gaps. For another check, here is a
recent closed-book Probability Final Exam;
to take this Statistics course you should be able to complete at least 75%
or so of the exam.

The course text is Morris DeGroot & Mark Schervish, Probability and Statistics (4th edn). All class materials are distributed on-line via the web; for example, you may view homework assignments (and sometimes class notes) on the Syllabus. Blackboard is used only to report scores from homeworks and examinations.

The only way to learn statistics is to solve problems (or, in Sophocles'
words, One must learn by doing the thing; for though you think you know
it, you have no certainty until you try).
Weekly problem sets are assigned through the on-line
syllabus. Homeworks are collected at the **start** of each Thursday
class (so I can answer questions about them in class) and are returned at the
following Wednesday Lab Session, after which solutions will be posted on the
web. Until solutions are posted, late homeworks are accepted but are
penalized 10% per day. The lowest homework score will be dropped.

You may work with other students on the homework problems, but you must
write up your final answers independently: copying homework solutions is not
allowed. You are encouraged to ask me or the TA for help on your homework,
*after* you have tried to solve the problems on your own. Questions
about homework scores should first be addressed to the TA.

**HELP is available!**
The TA and I both have office-hours (see above). In addition, the Department
of Statistical Science maintains an open **Help Session** every Sun-Thu
from 4:00-9:00 pm in the Statistical Education Center (SEC), located in room
211a Old Chem, where a statistics graduate student will be happy to help you
(detailed times and staffing are listed on
the SEC website). There may
also be grad students from other departments, helping students in the
introductory statistics courses--- be sure to find a Statistical Science PhD
student (labeled "All courses") or major (labeled "114 and below") to help
for this course. Consult the
TA Schedule for times.

In-class Midterm Exams and Final Exam are all closed-book. You may bring one 8½"×11" sheet of paper to each exam with anything you want written on it; the exam will include this sheet of common pdf and pmf formulas. You may (and probably should) bring to each exam a calculator capable of computing exponentials, logarithms, and factorials (no laptops, netbooks, or cellphones, however). Questions about exam scores should be taken up with the Professor. As an aid to study, here are some past exams:

Spring 2009: | 1st Midterm | 2nd Midterm | Final Exam |
---|

Course grades are based on two in-class Midterm Exams (20% each), ten weekly Homework assignments (20% total), and a cumulative Final Exam (40%). Late homeworks are penalized, and missed homeworks receive zero scores, but each student's lowest homework score is dropped. Histograms and summary statistics of midterm and final exam scores will be added to the syllabus web page. Brief in-class quizzes will be added if needed. Each student's current average and course standing are available from the instructor at any time.

Cheating on exams, plagiarism on homeworks and projects, lying about an illness or absence and other forms of academic dishonesty are a breach of trust with classmates and faculty, and will not be tolerated. They also violate Duke's Community Standard and will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.

Students who miss tests or assignments due to a scheduled varsity athletic
trip or religious holiday should submit an on-line
NOVAP or RHoliday form, respectively, at least a week *ahead* of
time and meet with me to arrange to make up the missed work (often
before the scheduled event).

If you contract a short-term incapacitating illness that prevents you from completing an assignment or attending an examination, please use the on-line Illness Form, and e-mail or see me when you feel better (before the next class if possible) to make arrangements to make up the missed work. Note that the Community Standard sanctions apply for abuse of this procedure. Those who must miss exams or assignments because of a personal emergency or bereavement should keep your academic dean informed, and see me as soon as possible after your return to schedule make-up work.

No excuse is needed simply for missing class, for whatever reason, only for
missed assignments and examinations. Class attendance isn't *required*,
but midterm and final exams will cover material presented in class that may
not be covered in the text or homework assignments.