18.600 Probability and Random Variables: Fall 2019

Lectures: MWF 2-3 in 10-250

Office hours: Wednesday 3:00 to 5:00 in 2-249

TA Recitations: Problem solving recitations each Thursday (starting September 12)

  Piotr Suwara: Thursdays 12:00-1:00 in 66-144

  Minjae Park: Thursdays 2:00-3:00 in 4-270

  Youn Kim: Thursdays 4:00-5:00 in 4-163

TA office hours: after recitations on Thursdays plus additional Monday/Tuesday hours (starting September 9)

  Piotr Suwara: Tuesdays 4:00-5:00 in 2-242 and Thursdays 1:00-2:00 in 26-210

  Minjae Park: Mondays 3:00-4:00 in 2-341 and Thursdays 3:00-4:00 in 2-361

  Youn Kim: Thursdays 5:00-7:00 om 2-361

Text: A First Course in Probability, by Sheldon Ross. I use the 8th edition, but students are welcome to use 6th, 7th, or 9th editions as well. Both hard copies and electronic versions can be obtained inexpensively online by looking up "first course in probability" via google, amazon, ebay, etc. (Here's another free and fun book.)

Assignments: 10 problem sets (20%), 2 midterm exams (40%), 1 final exam (40%)

Final exam: December 16, 1:30 to 4:30 in 10-250. Check registrar posting for updates.

Gradebook: managed on Stellar course web site

Numbering note: Until spring 2015, the course now called 18.600 was called 18.440. It was renamed as part of a departmental effort to make course labels more logical. The current label conveys that 18.600 is a foundational class and a starting point for the 18.6xx series.

Story sheet: Exams are closed book without cheat sheets, but this story sheet (which is basically what a cheat sheet for this course would look like if there were one) may help you study. Math fluency requires knowing at least few things by heart: Pythagorean theorem, definition of sine, etc. The red items on the story sheet are things students should know (or be able to quickly derive) by the end of the course: the "basic discrete random variables" by the first midterm, and the "basic continuous random variables" and "moment generating and characteristic function" facts by the second midterm. Try to learn the story that goes with each concept while it is being covered. Some of these items are pretty easy to remember (or deduce from basic principles) once you have the concepts down.

Merged lectures: Here is a printable pdf file containing a preliminary version of all of the lectures for the course. You can print this out and take notes on it during lecture if this is helpful. (I left outline pages in, so there should be room for notes there.) Note that if changes are made to the slides during the semester, they won't necessarily be updated on this document.