Philip B. Stark, Statistics
David Wagner, Computer Science
Jasjeet Sekhon, Political Science and Statistics
Cathryn Carson, History
Nicholas P. Jewell, Biostatistics and Statistics
Stephen Mahin, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Tue Thu, 2:00-3:30pm, 2 LeConte
102. Wed 10-11, 344 Evans, Lee
104. Thu 10-11, 344 Evans, Abrazaldo
105. Thu 11-12, 344 Evans, Abrazaldo
108. Thu 1-2, 344 Evans, Lee
Carson: by appointment
Jewell: Mon 2:30-5pm or by appointment, 107 Haviland
Stark: Tue 11-12:30pm, 403 Evans
Abrazaldo: Tue 4-5pm and Wed 3-5pm and Thu 4-5pm, 307 Evans
Wagner: Thu 12-1pm, 733 Soda
Mahin: Thu 12:40-2pm, 721 Davis
Sekhon: Thu 4:30-5:30pm or by appointment, 250C Barrows
Lee: Wed 5-6pm and Thu 12-1pm, 4-6pm, 307 Evans
The following schedule of lectures is tentative and subject to change. You should read the required readings before lecture.
|1/22||Welcome||How to Lie with Statistics, all chapters|
|1/24||Counting||SticiGui 12: Counting|
|1/29||Calculating probabilities using counting||
SticiGui 13: Meaning of Probability|
SticiGui 14: Set Theory
|1/31||Probabilities vs rates, Interpretation of probabilities||(none)|
|2/5||Calculating probabilities, Expected value||SticiGui 17: Probability Axioms|
|2/12||Conditional probability, Bayes Rule, Probability and Risk||SticiGui 18: Let's Make a Deal|
|2/14||Interpretation of probability, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy||Proposed rulemaking on BSE, Declaration from Louis Cox, Declaration from Philip Stark, Appellate court decision.|
|2/19||BSE/Interpretation of Probability||SticiGui 33: Case Study: Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE)|
Risk: A Very Short Introduction, Chapters 1-3
|2/21||Decision under Uncertainty||Risk: A Very Short Introduction, Chapters 4-5 |
The Science of Fear, Chapters 3
|2/26||Decision under Uncertainty||Tversky, A., and D. Kahneman, 1974. Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases|
|2/28||Decision under Uncertainty|| Huber, Hill, and Lenz. 2012. Sources of Bias in Retrospective Decision-Making:
Experimental Evidence on Voters' Limitations in Controlling Incumbents |
Extra reading (not required):
Kahneman, D. and A. Tversky, 1979. Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk
A Gentle Introduction to Risk-Limiting Audits (Lindeman and Stark),|
Evidence-Based Elections (Stark and Wagner),
Risk-Limiting Post-Election Audits: Why and How (Bretschneider et al).
|3/7||Decision/Health Care||The Science of Fear, Chapters 4-5 |
Jonathan Gruber and Jasjeet Sekhon. Fundamental health care reform for the United States.
Ezra Klein. The Health of Nations
David Squires. The U.S. Health System in Perspective: A Comparison of Twelve Industrialized Nations
|3/12||Healthcare||Risk: A Very Short Introduction, Chapter 6 |
Kenneth Arrow, 1963. Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care
Primer on Premium support
Primer on Medicare
Primer on Obamacare
Primer on Medicaid
|3/14||In-class midterm||midterm solutions|
1976: Fear of a great plague|
Communicable Diseases (Tulchinsky & Varavikova)
|3/21||Adverse drug effects||
Under-Reporting of Adverse Drug Reactions|
|4/2||Technology: Electronic privacy||
How Companies Learn Your Secrets (NY Times)|
Letting Down Our Guard With Web Privacy (NY Times)
On Facebook, smart people like The Colbert Report and curly fries (Ars Technica)
Optional: TMI: Information, Identity, and Privacy (Felten)
Optional: Americans and Online Privacy: The System is Broken (Turow)
|4/4||Technology: Computer security||
Hacked! (The Atlantic)|
How I Stole Someone's Identity (Thompson)
How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking (Wired)
How Digital Detectives Deciphered Stuxnet, the Most Menacing Malware in History (Wired)
Risk Aversion (Geer)
Optional: Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran
|4/16||Nuclear Power and Waste Repositories||handout|
|4/18||Group project status reports|
|4/23||Risk Thinking and Nuclear Power|
|4/25||Historical Perspective on Risk Thinking||Risk: A Very Short Introduction, Chapter 7|
|4/30||Historical Perspective on Risk Thinking|
The lecture itself is a combination of traditional presentation of material and discussion and debate among the instructors, who have quite different perspectives: Statistics and Biostatistics, Computer Science, Political Science, History, and Civil Engineering.
The reading quiz must be completed online once a week, before noon on each Tuesday. The quizzes will check your progress so far, so you should be doing the reading for that Tuesday's lecture before taking the quiz. Quizzes must be done on your own (no collaboration, and no discussion of the questions or your answers with others).
The reading quizzes are all online. They are listed on the same page as the online homeworks; follow the same instructions as for the online homeworks. You only get one submission (you cannot re-submit).
Homeworks will be posted here when they are available. Homeworks are due Mondays at 11:59pm, unless otherwise noted.
Online homeworks: For the online homeworks,
click on the link provided.
Enter in your first name, last name,
student ID, and the email address on record with the Registrar
(this is almost certainly an email address that ends in
Then, click on the button labelled "assignment" to get to the
Fill in the answers, and click "Submit for grading" when you are done.
Your homework will be auto-graded immediately; wait for the confirmation
screen before closing your browser.
You can submit each homework up to a maximum of 5 times.
Only the last submission counts towards your grade.
On the first 3 submissions, you receive feedback about your total
On the 4th submission, you are provided with feedback that lists
which problems you got wrong.
The 5th submission is final.
Browser requirements: For online homeworks, we recommend that you use the latest version of the Firefox browser (Firefox 18, at time of writing) for the best experience. Alternatively, an up-to-date version of Chrome or Safari should work as well for most or all functionality. We do not recommend using Internet Explorer.
The lowest homework score will be dropped.
The cut-offs for each grade will be determined at the end of the semester.
The group term project will require collaborative research, analysis, synthesis, and data analysis. It will culminate in a written report and oral presentation. Presentations will take place on May 6, 2013 during RRR week, in 20 Barrows Hall, from 10am-noon and 1-3:30pm. Written reports are due on Friday May 3, 2013, in lieu of a timed final exam. See the detailed assignment page for details.
There will be an in-class midterm on Thursday, March 14, 2013. Attendance is required. If for some reason you cannot attend, you are required to contact the instructors during the first week of classes. If you need accomodations for the midterm, please contact us before February 14, 2013. You can try the practice midterm to help you study and prepare for the midterm (solutions are available).
The required textbooks are:
The following recommended textbooks provide additional interesting reading, but are not required:
The following articles provide additional interesting reading, but are not required:
Contacting us. The best way to get questions answered quickly or otherwise get help is to use Piazza or our office hours. Piazza is a discussion site that helps you efficiently get questions answered by instructors, GSIs, or fellow students. The course staff (instructors and GSIs) will check Piazza regularly, and other students may be able to help you, too. Feel free to help out your fellow classmates, but please do not post the answers to homeworks or quizzes on Piazza before the due date.
Please do not email us; rather, post your question on Piazza. If the question is personal and private, you may post a private question on Piazza (select "post to... individual instructors", and type "instructors" so that it goes to all instructors). (Alternatively, you may send email to ???. This will reach all the instructors and GSIs.) If you wish to talk with one of us individually, you are always welcome to come to our office hours.
Collaboration policy. You must work on homeworks and quizzes individually, unless otherwise noted. You must never read or copy the solutions of other students. You may use books or online resources, but you must always credit all such sources in your writeup and you must never copy material verbatim.
The course project will be done in a group. See the detailed assignment.
Warning: Your attention is drawn to the Policy on Academic Dishonesty. In particular, you should be aware that copying solutions, in whole or in part, from other students in the class or any other source without acknowledgment constitutes cheating. Any student found to be cheating risks automatically failing the class and being referred to the Office of Student Conduct.