From CDS 130

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  1. Overview
  2. Class notes
    1. Thursday, May 12th
    2. Tuesday, May 10th
    3. Thursday, May 5th
    4. Tuesday, May 3rd
    5. Thursday, April 28th
    6. Tuesday, April 26th
    7. Thursday, April 21st
    8. Tuesday, April 19th
    9. Thursday, April 14th
    10. Tuesday, April 12th
    11. Thursday, April 6th
    12. Tuesday, April 4th
    13. Thursday, March 31st
    14. Tuesday, March 29th
    15. Thursday, March 24th
    16. Tuesday, March 22nd
    17. Thursday, March 10th
    18. Tuesday, March 8th
    19. Thursday, March 3rd
    20. Tuesday, March 1st
    21. Thursday, February 24th
    22. Tuesday, February 22nd
    23. Thursday, February 17th
    24. Tuesday, February 15th
    25. Thursday, February 10th
    26. Tuesday, February 8th
    27. Thursday, February 3rd
    28. Tuesday, February 1st
    29. Thursday, January 27th
    30. Tuesday, January 25th
  3. Syllabus
    1. Format
    2. Office Hours
    3. Homeworks
    4. Grades
    5. Exams
    6. Honor Code
    7. FAQ
    8. Draft Schedule

1. Overview

This is the web page for CDS 130, Section 001 (Tuesday/Thursday from 10:30 - 11:45 am) given in Spring 2011 with Dr. Weigel. If this is not your course then you are in the wrong place! See Syllabus to find your instructor's web page.

2. Class notes

2.1. Thursday, May 12th

  • Final Exam is cumulative. Approx 33% from topics covered on mid-term.
  • Final Exam will be in a similar format as mid-term.

2.2. Tuesday, May 10th

(Make-up day for January 27th)

  • Final Exam review (go over topics by request and then sample final exams: Sample Final Exams)

2.3. Thursday, May 5th

2.4. Tuesday, May 3rd

  • Release sample final exams: Sample Final Exams
  • Note about posting long code using pre tag.
  • Post update of grade spreadsheet [1]
  • Explain grades on last few homeworks (extra credit has complicated things ...)
  • Finish Numerical Integration

2.5. Thursday, April 28th

2.6. Tuesday, April 26th

2.7. Thursday, April 21st

2.8. Tuesday, April 19th

2.9. Thursday, April 14th

2.10. Tuesday, April 12th

2.11. Thursday, April 6th

2.12. Tuesday, April 4th

2.13. Thursday, March 31st

2.14. Tuesday, March 29th

2.15. Thursday, March 24th

2.16. Tuesday, March 22nd

  • Sent 2011S001/Email#Week_8 after class
  • Discuss running MATLAB at home using Mason's Virtual Computing Lab.
  • Return homeworks
  • Return midterm and go over grade spreadsheet [8]
    • I was very pleased that most students were able to work out the binary multiplication problem. The point I want to make is that knowing a few simple principles allows you to solve complex problems.
    • I wrote the mid-term by starting with the second sample mid-term and then changing a few questions. For this reason, I expected the average (77%) to be higher.
    • The most common feedback was that students did not have enough time.
  • What does this [9] have to do with digitization?

2.17. Thursday, March 10th

  • Midterm. Come early to class if you have questions.
  • Solutions posted at 2011S001/Midterm

2.18. Tuesday, March 8th

  • Midterm review!
  • Homework #5 due.
  • Homework #4 due.
  • Sample midterms: 2011S001/Midterm

2.19. Thursday, March 3rd

2.20. Tuesday, March 1st

  • Comment from researcher in computational biology, bioinformatics, and biostatistics about spreadsheets vs. programming languages [10]:
In my mind, rookie mistake #1 is to try and use MS Excel for serious data analysis. The faster you give up on Excel, the better. Rookie mistake #2 is to make figures with axis labels that are too small.
It's a fundamentally flawed approach to data analysis because it doesn't clearly separate data from analysis. How do you verify that a spreadsheet is correct? You'd have to click on every single cell to make sure it contains the correct formula. And the formulas can't use clear variable names, they have to use coordinates instead. That's just a mistake waiting to happen. Plus, Excel makes awful graphs.

(In the second paragraph, I agree most with the first sentence. Said another way, I don't agree much with everything after the first sentence in the second paragraph.)

  • Homework #4 due on Thursday.
  • Introduction to MATLAB with Joe Marr Links to ppt and MATLAB file: User:Jmarr2.

2.21. Thursday, February 24th

  • My connection for the week: When teaching statistics or statistical physics, there is often a problem that requires you to write out all possible combinations of three 1s and 0s placed side-by-side. (In statistical physics, we often want to answer questions like: how many unique combinations can be made of three magnets or dipoles that can be pointing either up (=1) or down (=0)?) I usually just do this in an ad-hoc way, but I realized that if you are good at reading and writing binary numbers, one can just write out the numbers 0 through 7 and know that these are all of the possible combinations of three 1s and 0s (23=8 and the binary numbers 0 through 7 represent 8 bit patterns).
  • Comment on anonymous survey.
  • Midterm plan: Hand out sample exams on March 3rd, review on March 8th, exam on March 10th.
  • Return HW #2. Show grade spreadsheet [11].
  • Best "Reflections/Connections" part for HW 2 goes to
    • "TIL that 1337% of pi is 42." [12]
    • The person who noted "13,370% of pi is apparently 420" in the comment on the previous link,
    • Does anyone know the significance of the number 42 in science fiction literature [13] AND not get the "420" reference?
    • Me for the connection given above about writing down all of the permutations of three ones and zeros.
    • And these students in CDS 130: Dude1221, Smile, and Ethiobird.
  • Best "Reflections/Connections" part on HW 1 goes to Sabi_D, Dude1221, Meow, and Bigglesworth
  • HW #3 due.
  • Finish weigel/A_Basic_Computer.
  • Start weigel/Spreadsheets_vs_Programming_Languages
  • Assign HW #4

2.22. Tuesday, February 22nd

  • HW2 will be returned on Thursday and a grade spreadsheet will be posted.
  • HW3 due Thursday at 10:30am (sorry, no extension)
  • Anonymous survey question about best time for scheduling CDS 130 for Fall 2011 [14].
  • Go over a few HW3 questions
  • Recap weigel/Logic_Gates
  • Cover weigel/A_Basic_Computer
  • Questions on 2011S001/HW3?

2.23. Thursday, February 17th

2.24. Tuesday, February 15th

2.25. Thursday, February 10th

2.26. Tuesday, February 8th

2.27. Thursday, February 3rd

  • How many ways can you represent the decimal number 10? (For example, hold up ten fingers, the word "sawbuck", etc.)
  • iPhone update
  • iGuana update
  • Protip: Include your first and last name in email to instructors. (G# not necessary)
  • Discuss 1.4 of 2011S001/HW1 and give more details on what is expected for the "Reflections" write-up.
  • Cover weigel/Scoreboard
  • Cover weigel/Binary_Representation_of_Numbers

2.28. Tuesday, February 1st

  • Tuesday, May 10 will be the scheduled make-up day
  • What do these words have in common: Inclement, inundated, and pontiff.
  • An iPhone 4 mystery
  • My iguana experiment
  • Cover things I skipped on the syllabus
  • Review of analytic versus numerical solutions
  • Cover Thursday, January 27th material
  • Before you leave today, you must check out with me, Dr. Marr, or Soo. We want to make sure that you have created your page correctly.

2.29. Thursday, January 27th

  • Class canceled. Don't worry about starting Homework 1! More details in class.
  • Any questions on #FAQ?
  • Did everyone receive an email from me? If not, send an email to rweigel@gmu.edu.
  • Introduction_To_MediaWiki
  • Discussion of Survey (skip for now)
  • Assign 2011S001/HW1 due on Thursday, February 3rd at 10:30am Tuesday, February 8th at 10:30am.

2.30. Tuesday, January 25th

3. Syllabus

My syllabus is everything stated at Syllabus along with the following additions and notes.

3.1. Format

This is a three-credit course that meets for 75 minutes twice per week. I use active learning techniques during class. After presenting a major concept I will pose a question which you will think about, write about, discuss with your neighbor, and then possibly present your answers.

Be prepared to think and work in class!

3.2. Office Hours

  • Following every class and by appointment (rweigel@gmu.edu). My office is in room 350 of Research I [17]. I usually arrive at class at least 10 minutes early and stare at the ground. Feel free to interrupt me. I will arrive earlier if students start asking me questions before class.
  • The T.A. for this course is Dr. Joseph Marr (jmarr2@gmu.edu). He will grade homeworks and exams and also answer questions either in person (by appointment) or via email. He often meets with students in Research I, room 301 and works problems with them on the whiteboard.

3.3. Homeworks

  • Are 40% of your grade!
  • Due one week after assigned. Turn in before class starts.
  • Will partially work many problems in class (they will seem very difficult if you don't attend class!)
  • I am serious about the above. The homework problems are not simple multiple choice questions. To solve, they require a synthesis of multiple concepts covered in class.
  • Most homeworks will be hand-written in the first half of the semester.
  • Most homeworks will be turned in electronically in the second half of the semester.
  • Late penalty = 20% if late by less than 7 days; 40% if more than 7 days late. Approximately 50% of the students who miss a due date will forget this and ask me if they can turn in an assignment late for non-zero credit. I will tell them that I will accept their assignment with a late penalty and they will think I am giving them special treatment.
  • It is OK to collaborate with one or two other students on homework problems. If there appears to be evidence of one student copying another, the students involved will be asked to meet with the instructor and/or T.A.

3.4. Grades

Based on my previous experiences with undergraduate general education courses at GMU, students typically fall into a few categories:

  • F - Always a few. Almost always have missed an exam or many weeks of class.
  • D - Same as above. Students that attend most classes, completed most of the homework, took both of the exams rarely fall in this category.
  • C - Took the exams but did not turn in all of the homework assignments (~15% of students); did not have the time required to spend on class that is needed for them to earn a higher grade (~15% of students).
  • B and A - Everyone else.

One possible (incorrect) interpretation of the above is "if I take the exams (and fail) and turn in all of the homework assignments (with little work), I'll pass." The correct interpretation is that students who bother to take all of the exams and do all of the homework assignments rarely fail.

3.5. Exams

  • I rarely give make-up exams. However, special consideration will be given if the student (1) has completed all of their homeworks on time and (2) provides compelling evidence that they missed the exam for reasons that were beyond their control.
  • At least one class period will be used for exam review and the results of the exam will be discussed within a week after the exam was given.
  • I always give sample exam problems for students to use to prepare for exams. These sample exams should be considered as the equivalent of a study guide. The actual exam is written so that (1) if you _understand_ the principle(s) required to solve the problems on the sample exam, the actual exam will not be difficult, (2) if you only attempt to memorize the questions and answers to the sample exam, you will perform poorly on the actual exam.

3.6. Honor Code

I am generally approachable, reasonable, and patient with anything involving undergraduate students.

I am always stubborn, aggressive, and irritable on anything involving violations of the honor code, especially on exams.

Although my primary teaching responsibility involves teaching science-related subjects, I believe that an auxiliary responsibility of a college professor involves giving lessons related to ethical and honorable behavior.

It is OK to collaborate with one or two other students on homework problems. If there appears to be evidence one student copying another, the students involved will be asked to meet with the instructor and/or T.A. before any honor code actions are initiated.

3.7. FAQ

  • Do you use BlackBoard? No. All information about this course is at http://cds130.org/ or is sent to you via email.
  • Textbook? No. See http://cds130.org/#Text
  • Software? All software will be free. Outside of class you will have access to the same software on the classroom computers.
  • How much math? Math makes many students anxious. I know this. I also know that
    1. you will need to understand some math to understand many of the concepts in this class
    2. the math that is needed can be presented in a way that P(nausea) < 0.05\pm e^{-2^{\pi}}, where P is the probability that a student feels sick during the presentation.
    3. math makes many students anxious
    4. I have not really answered the question
    5. math makes many students anxious
  • How much programming? We gradually build you up to being able to write your own programs. We do not assume any prior programming experience; we assume only that you have worked with Excel. After the fourth week, you are typically asked to write one or two small programs per homework - about 50% of the total grade.
  • What kind of problems will we be able to solve?
Glad you asked. Here are a few of the problems students worked on later in the semester: Tumor | Antialias. We are working on more (in particular, a Neuro-specific project that uses http://www.hiit.fi/neuro/images) and will take requests.

3.8. Draft Schedule

(Red links are for pages that are not complete. Schedule is updated weekly.)

Retrieved from "http://cds130.org//2011S001"
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