Lectures: | Tue Thu 10:05-11:20am | Soc Sci 139 | |

Prof: | Robert L. Wolpert | TAs: | Jared Murray, Mike Seo |

E-mail: |
wolpert@stat.duke.edu |
jsm38@stat.duke.edu,
mike.seo@duke.edu | |

Office: | Old Chem 211c, 684-3275 | Old Chem 211a, 684-8821 | |

OH: | Wed 1:30-2:30pm | Find steel blue names on SECC Schedule | |

Tue Thu 11:20-11:30am (after class, in classroom) |

Course: | Syllabus | Exam Formula Sheet |
---|---|---|

Computing: | R | MatLab |

The course text is Jim Pitman, Probability (1st edn 7th printing). All class materials are distributed on-line via the web; for example, you will be able to view homework assignments (and sometimes class notes) on the Syllabus.

The only way to be sure you're learning the course material is to solve problems (or, as Sophocles put it, One must learn by doing the thing; for though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try.) Eleven weekly problem sets are assigned through the on-line syllabus. Homeworks are collected at class each Thursday, and are (usually) returned the following Tuesday class after which solutions will be posted on the web. Late homeworks are accepted with a penalty of about 10% per day, up until the solutions are posted. Lateness penalties are waived for students with excused absences, and for all students the lowest homework score will be dropped.

You may work with other students on the homework problems, but your
final answers should be written up independently: copying homework
solutions is not allowed. You are encouraged to ask the professor and
the TA for help on your homework (in person or by e-mail), **after**
you have tried to solve the problems on your own. Questions about
homework scores should first be addressed to the TA.

For full credit on homework assignments and exams, **numerical answers**
should be given either as fractions in lowest terms (2/3, not 17/51), or as
decimals to four significant places (0.6666 or 0.6667, not 0.6 or 0.7)—
*not* as expressions still in need of evaluation (like e^{log 2 -0.25
log 81}), even if they're correct (and even if the ‘Brief
Solutions’ in the text give something else).

**HELP is available!**
The TA and I both have office-hours (see above); in addition, Duke Statistics
maintains an open **Help Session** every Sun-Thu in the Statistical
Education and Consulting Center, located in room 211b Old Chem, where a
statistics graduate student will be happy to help you (detailed times and
staffing are listed on the SECC
website). There may also be grad students from other departments, helping
students in the introductory statistics courses--- be sure to find a Duke
Statistical Science grad student (they're listed in steel blue on the TA Schedule.). Our
own TA Jared will be there each Wed 6-7:30pm and Thu
4-5:30pm, for example).

Sometimes it's helpful to see another authors' description of the same concepts. Here's a free book that's pretty good.

Some homework assignments will have a computing component. You may
use whaterver computing environment you prefer; good choices include
MatLab, R, S-Plus, C,
Mathematica, or Maple (all of these will
become tools you can use in later work, making them preferable to
spreadsheets like Excel, old-fashioned statistics
environments like SAS or SPSS, introductory
languages like BASIC or Pascal). If you are
undecided I would recommend Matlab, for which you can get help from your
instructors and can find a free primer
or guide
or other help
on the web, or the free open-source statistical software environment
R (or its commercial work-alike,
*S-Plus*), for which your instructors can also help. The R software is
open-source and free, and works well under windows, mac-OS, and linux; Matlab
is expensive, but is commonly used in engineering courses and is installed in
all the OIT computer labs.

In each week's lectures I will try to help clear up topics that many find
difficult, and will try to illustrate tough (or fun) ideas with interesting
examples. I can *not* cover every important topic in class, however,
there just isn't enough time. The syllabus lists
reading assignments each week (it's just the textbook chapter preceeding the
next week's homework problems); **you are responsible** for learning the
material from any combination of the text, problems, and lectures. Please
ask questions in class or office-hours or by e-mail if you are struggling (or
just curious) about topics from that week's readings.

Fall 2005: | 1st Midterm | 2nd Midterm | Final Exam | ||||
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

Fall 2008: | 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 (the rest, 40%). If it seems helpful I may give occasional short in-class quizzes, which will count no more than 5% of the grade (reducing the weight of the final exam). Missed homeworks receive zero scores and late homeworks are penalized, but the lowest homework score is dropped. Histograms and summary statistics of midterm and final exam grades will be added to the syllabus web page. Each student's current average and course grade 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 Undergraduate Judicial Board (UJB).

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 work (often
before the scheduled event).

Those with a personal emergency or bereavement should seek a Dean's Excuse; check with your academic dean for details, and see me as soon as possible after your return to schedule make-up work. Duke does not issue Dean's Excuses for short-term incapicating illness; if you are too ill to complete an assignment or attend an examination, inform me as soon as possible using the on-line IllnessForm (there seems to be a separate form for grad. & prof. students), and see me to make arrangements to make up the missed work.

No excuse is needed simply for missing class, only for missed assignments and examinations. Note that the Community Standard sanctions apply for abuse of this procedure.