MATH 170E

Introduction to Probability and Statistics 1: Probability

Description: Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Requisites: courses 31A, 31B. Not open to students with credit for course 170A, Electrical and Computer Engineering 131A, or Statistics 100A. Introduction to probability theory with emphasis on topics relevant to applications. Topics include discrete (binomial, Poisson, etc.) and continuous (exponential, gamma, chi-square, normal) distributions, bivariate distributions, distributions of functions of random variables (including moment generating functions and central limit theorem). P/NP or letter grading.

Units: 4.0
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Overall Rating 4.7
Easiness 4.3 / 5
Clarity 4.7 / 5
Workload 3.3 / 5
Helpfulness 4.7 / 5
Most Helpful Review
Winter 2022 - Overall, Ben is a great professor, and you can’t go wrong with him. There are a few things I will nitpick and warn future students about, however. The first several weeks of the class are very much like a high school probability/stats course or Econ 41. You learn about counting, then conditional probability and Bayes’ theorem, then discrete random variables and MGF’s until the end of week 4. After week 4, the class becomes markedly harder. You learn about continuous random variables, bivariate distributions, conditional bivariate distributions, continuous bivariate distributions, and inequalities like Chebyshev’s before finishing with the central limit theorem. I thought Ben did a great job of putting all the information about these topics out there. However, I feel like I leave this class with a lack of intuition about probability. I still lack an intuitive understanding of what a random variable is, for example, even though I kept up with the class. It felt like I was playing around with objects I didn’t fully understand, so I’m leaving this class with a little less understanding than I expected. Big warning for future students: the class is very backloaded. The final alone is worth 45% of the grade. The topics that you learn in the latter half of the class are generally harder, in my opinion, meaning that the class will be smooth sailing until the very end, where you realize it was a bad idea to put this class on the back burner for 5 weeks. I imagine Ben grades like this so that students are tested most on the new material they learn (rather than the introductory material they they may have learned in high school). Although I completely understand why he does this, it still makes the class pretty hectic toward the end.
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Overall Rating 3.5
Easiness 4.0 / 5
Clarity 3.5 / 5
Workload 4.5 / 5
Helpfulness 3.0 / 5
Most Helpful Review
Summer 2021 - Professor Kye is a super nice guy. He's very accommodating and polite. However, his effort towards this class was super low. I don't mind him lecturing straight out of the book. If he thinks the book is the best source, then that's fine. It's his assignments/exams that bothered me. Here's a fuller breakdown: 1) Professor Kye did not collect homework. Your grade is based on three exams: two midterms and one final exam. He did send emails with problems from the book that you should do to prepare. I felt like he stopped trying with those problems as the weeks went on. I don't think he even looked at what he was assigning, as some of the problems he picked were very bizarre. In office hours, he mentioned once that he hasn't looked at the problems yet, but I suspect he never looks at them, as he is not interested in any questions from the HW but is rather there to help you with lecture material. 2) His exams are very much inspired by the textbook as well. However, for our second midterm, he gave a problem that was not covered. Five hours into the exam time period (36 hours), he sent an email telling us to skip that problem. This shows that he literally didn't even look at the exam before publishing it. I'm guessing he made the exam a while ago and just put it away until it was time to release it. This type of effort is a bit annoying, because I spent a lot of my time trying to figure that problem out before he sent his late email. 3) His final wasn't cumulative, but the problems were definitely harder than the midterm problems. Lot of the problems required old stuff you learned pre-midterm 2 anyway, so even though the final wasn't cumulative, it might as well have been. If you self study throughout the quarter and go to TA office hours, I think you will be good to go. Overall, Professor Kye is a good guy, but his class was kind of a mess. Math 170E is one of the easier math upper divs, so I think you will be alright! Good luck!
Overall Rating 1.0
Easiness 1.0 / 5
Clarity 1.0 / 5
Workload 1.0 / 5
Helpfulness 1.0 / 5
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