This Course at MIT

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 18.440 Probability and Random Variables as it was taught by Prof. Scott Sheffield in Spring 2014.

This course introduces students to probability and random variables. Topics include distribution functions, binomial, geometric, hypergeometric, and Poisson distributions. The other topics covered are uniform, exponential, normal, gamma and beta distributions; conditional probability; Bayes theorem; joint distributions; Chebyshev inequality; law of large numbers; and central limit theorem.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

  • Define key probability and random variable concepts.
  • Understand the relationships between key concepts.
  • Apply understanding of probability and random variables in problem solving.
 

Curriculum Information

Prerequisites

18.02 Multivariable Calculus

Requirements Satisfied

REST

Offered

Every fall and spring semester

The Classroom

  • Lecture hall viewed from the front of the room facing toward the rear of the room. Windows line the left side of the room. Fifteen rows of seats with arm tablets are visible.

    Lecture

    Lectures were held in a classroom with tiered seating, tablet desks, and sliding blackboards. Audio and visual equipment was available for lecture presentations.

 

Assessment

The students' grades were based on the following activities:

The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by homework problems. 20% Homework problems
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by the midterm exam. 40% Midterm exam
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by the final exam. 40% Final exam
 

Student Information

107 students took this course when it was offered in Spring 2014.

Breakdown by Year

Mostly juniors and seniors

Breakdown by Major

1/2 math majors, 1/2 non-math majors

 

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class/Lecture

3 hours per week
  • Met 3 times per week for 1 hour per session; 38 sessions total.
  • The instructor used both slides and the blackboard to engage students with the material during lectures.
 

Out of Class

9 hours per week
 

Semester Breakdown

WEEK M T W Th F
1 No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; office hours held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled.
2 Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; office hours held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled.
3 No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; office hours held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled.
4 Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; office hours held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled.
5 Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; office hours held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled.
6 Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; office hours held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled.
7 Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; office hours held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled.
8 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
9 Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; office hours held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled.
10 Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; office hours held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled.
11 Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; office hours held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled.
12 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. Lecture session scheduled; office hours held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled.
13 Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; office hours held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled.
14 Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; office hours held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled.
15 Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; office hours held. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
16 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
Displays the color and pattern used on the preceding table to indicate dates when classes are not held at MIT. No classes throughout MIT
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when lecture sessions are held. Lecture session
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when no class session is scheduled. No class session scheduled
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when office hours are held. Office hours