# ECS 132, Winter 2015

## Nature of the Course (the Way I Teach It):

### Value of the Course:

• Statistics is used in almost any technical field.
• In CS in particular, statistics is central to the fastest-growing specialities, such as Big Data, machine learning etc.

### Challenge of the Course:

• This is a MATH course.
• Even the programming problems (Homework, Quizzes) are actually "math problems in disguise."
• The course makes heavy use of calculus and LINEAR ALGEBRA.
• This is NOT a "formula plugging" course, nor does it consist of learning patterns to mimic. Every problem is different.
• Most students do well in the first 1/3 of the course, which involves only discrete probability.
• The second 1/3 of the course uses calculus, and the last 1/3 uses linear algebra. Students with a good intuitive understanding of those subjects thrive, while some others find the material quite difficult.
• Contrary to what you might guess (say, based on high school AP Statistics), the most challenging part of the course is the last 1/3, involving statistics. Good math intuition is crucial here.
• If you did well in calculus word problems ("Water is flowing into a conical tank...accelerating at a rate of...with leakage rate of..."), you should do well in this course.

### Content of the Course:

• Similar to STA 131AB, but with CS applications and programming.

### Exams:

• No midterms or final. (Group project in lieu of final.)
• Quizzes are given in discussion section EVERY WEEK.
• There is a special Quiz on the last day of lecture.
• Quiz problems will often refer to specific pages in the book. (Open book Quizzes.) It is REQUIRED that you read the textbook, in complete detail. Plan on SEVERAL HOURS of dense reading per week!
• Quiz scores tend to be low, but letter grades are generous.
• Quiz 5 and Quiz 6 of Fall 2013 are typical in content and style. In each case, 40/100 was the cutoff for a B-.

### Homework:

• 4-5 assignments during the quarter.
• Homework is done in GROUPS.
• TA will ask each members of the Group questions, both about the assignment and about the course material in general. Each Group member receives a separate grade.

### Textbook:

• The textbook is open source, i.e. FREE.
• It is downloadable from the Web, and you must print it yourself at a copying shop of your choice.
• You must have your own (not shared) HARD COPY of the entire textbook, and bring it to all Lectures and Quizzes.
• The textbook is not ready yet, as I'm still revising. See approximate version here.

### Lecture/Learning Format

• It is expected that the student be NON-PASSIVE in learning. Most of the student learning comes from reading the textbook in very careful detail.
• I used to lecture in the traditional way -- I spend time writing on the board, you spend time copying it to paper.
• Then I realized, "What a colossal waste!" So, now I give you the printed notes, so you and I can spend the time discussing the material.
• So, in lecture, we DISCUSS the book. I almost never write on the board, nor do I have Powerpoint slides.
• It is NOT recommended that students read the book ahead of the lecture. In the lecture, I prepare you to do the reading.
• Goals of the lecture:

• Clarify issues brought up by students concerning reading related to the last lecture.
• Prepare students for the next reading material, by giving an overview of what the material will do, and going into the more difficult examples in detail .