Course Objectives

Statistics is the art and science of finding patterns in data.  This class teaches you about patterns in data:  How to conceptualize patterns and how to use computers to identify them.  This is a first course in statistics. Lectures aim to provide an intuitive understanding of statistical concepts.  The goal is to teach you how to think about statistical problems.

The course is taught from a computational perspective. In this class you will develop a fundamental understanding of abstract statistical concepts such as uncertainty and variability.  These abstract concepts will be useful because they’ll help us use computers to develop solutions to real world problems.  Computers are machines and they are very good at repetitive tasks like calculating a formula but they’re not very good at thinking.   In this class we will pair your critical statistical thinking skills and your computer’s ability to crunch lots of numbers.  We will learn how to apply quantitative data to real world problems and how to accurately state what the data tells us about the problem at hand.

You will learn computer programming while you are learning statistics.  This might seem like a bummer, you have to tackle two complex subjects at once.  This approach has advantages, I will not ask you to be a computer – you won’t have plug numbers into formulas or do anything terrible like arithmetic.  You will however have to master the concepts behind the computation and you’ll have to learn how to “speak” a simple programming language.  My aim as the instructor is to teach you to think computationally; to give you the ability to conceptualize statistical problems and exploit computers to solve them.