MTH 451   Introduction to Probability and Statistics

Summer I   2014

Instructor: Lubos Thoma                  
Office: Lippitt Hall 101F               Tel: 874.4451
Class schedule: MTuWTh 8.00 - 9:45pm, Lippitt Hall 205

Description:   MTH 451 is an introduction to the mathematical theory of probability using calculus. Probability theory has a tremendous variety of applications in all the sciences, including the social sciences, business and economics, and provides the mathematical foundation for statistics. It uses a wide variety of mathematical techniques and concepts, especially elementary set theory, combinatorics, and calculus. A main goal of this course is that you will be able to read more advanced material on probability and its applications and go on to courses in mathematical statistics and stochastic processes. The class is designed for an audience with quite diverse interests, for example:
  if you are an engineering, science, economics or business major, probability will be a basic part of your mathematical toolkit;
  if you are a secondary math education major, you will most likely need to take the Praxis content exam, which contains material on discrete mathematics and probability for which this course is great preparation;
  if you are interested in taking the actuarial exams, this course is absolutely fundamental. We will discuss problems similar to problems on the actuarial exams during the course.
Finally, probability theory is a fundamental discipline in mathematics itself and well as the foundation for all of statistics. It can be entertaining, enlightening and sometimes surprising.

Prerequisites:     MTH243.

Textbook:     Lester L. Helms, Introduction to Probability Theory with Contemporary Applications, Dover 2010, ISBN-10: 0486474186, ISBN-13: 9780486474182.

Accommodations:     Any student with a documented disability is welcome to contact me as early in the semester as possible so that we may arrange reasonable accommodations. As part of this process, please be in touch with Disability Services for Students Office at 330 Memorial Union, 401-874-2098 (

Standards of behaviour:     Students are responsible for being familiar with and adhering to the published "Community Standards of Behavior: University Policies and Regulations" which can be accessed in the University Student Handbook. If you must come in late, please do not disrupt the class. Please turn off all cell phones, pagers, or any electronic devices.