Social Bookmarking Assignment #3 - Due 2/3/12

For your next social bookmarking assignment, find and bookmark an example of probability in the news. Note in your bookmark whether your example uses the empirical, subjective, or axiomatic notion of probability.

For Diigo users, tag your bookmark with "probability." For Pinterest users, include the hashtag "#probability" in your bookmark's description.

To get credit for this assignment, complete it by Friday, February 3rd, before class begins.

Image: "Interesting Pin," Derek Bruff, Flickr (CC)

Reading Assignment #6 - Due 2/1/12

Here's your next reading assignment. Read Section 2.3 (omitting 2.3.7 for now) in your textbook and answer the following questions by 8 a.m., Wednesday, February 1st. Be sure to login to the blog before leaving your answers in the comment section below.

  1. Suppose you select a random member of the Vanderbilt class of 2011. Let A be the event that the student was an engineering major, and let B be the event that the student took calculus while in college. Which is greater, P(A | B) or P(B | A)? Why?
  2. Suppose a factory has two production lines, A and B. Line A produces 40% of the factory's output, and Line B produces the rest. Of the parts made on Line A, 4% are defective. Of the parts made on Line B, 3% are defective. Suppose a part is picked at random from inventory and found to be defective. What's the probability it came from line A?
  3. Suppose you draw a card from a standard 52-card deck at random, then draw a second card at random from the remaining 51 cards. Use the General Multiplication Rule to find the probability that both cards are hearts.
  4. What's one question you have about the reading?

 

Reading Assignment #5 - Due 1/30/12

Here's your next reading assignment. Read Sections 2.1-2.2 in your textbook and answer the following questions by 8 a.m., Monday, January 30th. Be sure to login login to the blog before leaving your answers in the comment section below.

  1. Suppose that you select a Vanderbilt undergraduate student at random. Let A be the event that the student is a junior. Let B be the event that the student is an engineering major. Describe the event AC & B.
  2. Suppose the personnel manager of a manufacturing plant claims that among the 400 employees, 312 got a raise in 2008, 248 got increased benefits, 173 got both, and 43 got neither. Is this claim accurate? Why or why not?
  3. Suppose A is the event that it rains today and B is the event that I brought my umbrella into work today. What is wrong with the following argument? "These events are independent because bringing an umbrella to work doesn't effect whether or not it rains today."
  4. What's one question you have about the reading?

 

Weed-Out Courses

There's an interesting opinion piece in this week's Hustler by Akshitkumar Mistry, a fourth-year Vanderbilt medical student. "Weed out weed-out courses" argues that intro courses in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics are preventing too many students from succeeding in those fields. Mistry writes:

Research has consistently demonstrated that students grasp concepts better with active learning rather than passively hearing a lecture for an hour, and then watching some graduate student solve practice problems that they couldn't. STEM fields in reality are all about application in the real world with visual, experiential, hands-on problem solving.

That's a pretty good summary of why I've designed this course the way I have.

Image: "Untitled," efwp, Flickr (CC)

Reading Assignment #4 - Due 1/25/12

Here's your next reading assignment. Read Sections 1.5-1.7 (omitting Section 1.6.2) in your textbook and answer the following questions by 8 a.m., Wednesday, January 25th. Be sure to login to the blog before leaving your answers in the comment section below.

  1. These charts from Businessweek make the point that correlation does not imply causation. Identify a possible lurking variable for one of the charts.
  2. Let's say I wanted to compare the effects of teaching calculus in two different ways--with clickers and without. Why would it be difficult to conduct a randomized experiment to compare these methods here at Vanderbilt?
  3. What's one question you have about the reading?

Resources for Using R and RStudio

The dataset that you'll work with in class today comes from the Significant Earthquake Database run by the National Geophysical Data Center. Here's the earthquakes2000.csv file you'll use in class today. (That file contains NGDC information on all earthquakes since 2000.)

For help with R commands, try these resources:

Data Visualization Links from 1/20/12

Hollywood Budgets: A Visualization Challenge

Want to use your budding data visualization skills to try to earn a little money?  The blog Information Is Beautiful is hosting monthly visualization challenges.  This month's challenge is called "Hollywood Budgets" and asks participants to visualize data (revenues, budgets, review scores, etc.) on every Hollywood film released in the last five years. You can submit a visualization in any one of three categories: interactive visualizations, "regular" visualizations (like the ones you can use R/RStudio to create), and "napkin" visualizations (sketches of visualizations like the ones you did in class the other day). Prizes for "regular" and "napkin" visualizations are $1000 for the winners in each category and $500 for the runners-up.

The deadline is January 30th, so act fast. See the challenge website for more information. And if you submit something, let me know!

 

Problem Set #1 - Due 1/25/12

Here's your first problem, in Word and PDF format. It's due at the start of class on Wednesday, January 25th. Remember, you can collaborate on your problem sets; just identify those with whom you worked when you turn in your problem set. Also, don't forget about our office hours, including three on Tuesday.

Update: For question 9, I'm looking for the significance of that red cell in the Norway row within the dataset itself. I'm not looking for social or political implications of that data point.

Second Update: Here's the ecological footprint data from the Global Footprint Network. You might need to look at it for some of the questions on the problem set.