Mathematical Probability : Syllabus

Math 191 - MWF 10 am - 111 Science Center
Harvard University - Fall 1997

Prof. Curtis T McMullen (

Course Assistant
Scott Sheffield (

Text. Feller, An Introduction to Probability Theory and Its Applications , Volumes 1 & 2, Wiley. (Volume 1 is 3rd edition, 2 is 2nd edition).

Major Topics. The course will cover selections from Feller, Chapters I-VII of Volume 1, including
  • Combinatorics, binomial coefficients
  • Random walks
  • Conditional probability and independence
  • Binomial, Poisson and normal distributions
  • The central limit theorem
Additional topics will be included as time permits.

Prerequisites. Math 22a,b or 25a,b or 101. Students with only 21a,b as background can enroll, but should also consider Statistics 110 (offered this fall). For such students concurrent enrollment in Math 101 or 112 is strongly encouraged.

Homework. Weekly assignments will be given on Wednesday and due in class the following Wednesday. Late homework will not be accepted, but the two lowest homework grades will be dropped. Collaboration between students is encouraged, but you must write your own solutions, understand them and give credit to your collaborators.

Midterm. There will be one in-class midterm: Wednesday, 15 October 97.

Final. Subject to approval by the Registrar, there will be a take-home final due at the end of reading period.

Grades. The course grade will based on homework and quizzes (30%), the midterm (20%) and the final (50%).

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