18.600 Probability and Random Variables: Spring 2022

Lectures: MWF 2-3 in person, see also Canvas site

Office hours: Wednesday 3-4 plus Friday 3-4 in 2-249

TA Recitations: Problem solving recitations each Thursday

  Catherine Wolfram: Thursday 10am-11am 4-163

  Andrew Lin: Thursday noon-1pm 2-190

  Catherine Ji: Thursday 3pm-4pm, 3-370

  Megan Joshi: Thursday 4pm-5pm, 4-163

TA and UA office hours:

  Megan Joshi: Monday 4-5 pm, 2-136

  Megan Joshi: Tuesday 4-5 pm, 2-136

  Eva Xie: Wednesday 6-7 pm ZOOM

  Andrew Lin: Thursday 1-2 pm, 8-119

  Catherine Ji: Thursday 4-5 pm, 3-442

  Catherine Wolfram: Friday 10-12 am, 2-333

  Divya Shyamal: Friday 6-7 pm ZOOM

  Catherine Ji: 7-8 pm Friday ZOOM

  Andrew Lin: Friday 8-9 pm ZOOM

Text: A First Course in Probability, by Sheldon Ross. I use the 8th edition, but students are welcome to use 6th, 7th, 9th or 10th 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 (50%), 2 midterm exams (25%), 1 final exam (25%)

Final exam: TBD Check registrar posting for updates.

Gradebook: managed on Canvas 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: This story sheet contains things you really should know by heart. 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.