### STAT 157: Seminar on Topics in Probability and Statistics

In this course, different instructors treat very different topics. My topic is

## Probability and the Real World (Fall 2014)

**NEWS**
(8/27) Note office hours changed to Thursdays 11.00 - 1.00 in room 351 Evans.
(9/3) Thanks to everyone who attended the first class.
**The course is now full** -- no more admits.
For the record
here is the pre-quiz.

(9/3) And the winner of the "least unique integer" game is ........
the person who wrote 6.
Here is the data,
remarkably similar to the 2011 class. Note the preference for odd numbers.

(9/3) 14 out of 35 students answered Yes to the question

* Someone says to you ``you do Statistics --
what do you think is the likely future impact
of Big Data?".
Could you, without stopping to think, give a coherent and interesting answer?*

We will find out later if they are correct ...........

**Instructor:** David Aldous

**T.A.** None.

** Class time:** MW 4.00-5.30 in room 334 Evans.

** Prerequisite:** Upper division probability (STAT 134 or
equivalent).
The course emphasizes
**student participation and initiative**
while offering students the opportunity to
**pursue intellectual curiosity** in directions of their
individual choice.

Courses in mathematical probability teach you to do certain mathematical
calculations, but these
are often far removed from broader questions about the the role of
randomness
in the "real world" of science or of human affairs.
In contrast, this junior/senior seminar course seeks to engage
such questions in two ways.

**1.** In lectures I will treat about 20 different topics, one each lecture, chosen to illustrate the
diversity of contexts where probability arises.
Some idea of this diversity
can be gleaned from my
list of 100 contexts where we perceive chance.

**2.** A recurrent theme is to
adopt a classical science
paradigm: can we use probability theory to make predictions about the real
world which can be verified or falsified by experiment or observation?

Here are the requirements for students are (see the links
below for more info).

- To attend class (attendance will be taken)
- To do a (small) reading/talk project (talks start Wednesday
24 September -- 3 weeks after first class).
- To do a (big) course project.

There are no other homeworks or exams.
There is no course textbook, but to get into the spirit of the course it's
helpful to read one of the ``popular science" books on the
book list.

### Lecture schedule

The page Plans/debriefing for each class
serves as a rough plan of future classes and a record of past classes.

### Resources for projects

This page is a guide to online resources which may be helpful in
choosing projects. It's intended for online browsing.

### Administration, deadlines etc

This page contains adminstrative info and I suggest you print it
out or bookmark it for future reference.