MA121: Introduction to Statistics
If you invest in financial markets, you may want to predict the price of a stock in six months from now on the basis of company performance measures and other economic factors. As a college student, you may be interested in knowing the dependence of the mean starting salary of a college graduate, based on your GPA. These are just some examples that highlight how statistics are used in our modern society. To figure out the desired information for each example, you need data to analyze. The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the subject of statistics as a science of data. There is data abound in this information age; how to extract useful knowledge and gain a sound understanding in complex data sets has been more of a challenge. In this course, we will focus on the fundamentals of statistics, which may be broadly described as the techniques to collect, clarify, summarize, organize, analyze, and interpret numerical information. This course will begin with a brief overview of the discipline of statistics and will then quickly focus on descriptive statistics, introducing graphical methods of describing data. You will learn about combinatorial probability and random distributions, the latter of which serves as the foundation for statistical inference. On the side of inference, we will focus on both estimation and hypothesis testing issues. We will also examine the techniques to study the relationship between two or more variables; this is known as regression. By the end of this course, you should gain a sound understanding about what statistics represent, how to use statistics to organize and display data, and how to draw valid inferences based on data by using appropriate statistical tools.