Math 20, Spring 2011
Discrete Probability

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Textbook Lectures Instructor
Examinations Homework Grades
Academic Honor Principle Tutorials Disabilities
Religious Observances Maple

Sergeant Colon looked wretched. "Weeell, what if it's not a million-to-one chance?" he said.
Nobby stared at him.
"What d'you mean?" he said.
"Well, all right, last desperate million-to-one chances always work, right, no problem, but...well, it's pretty wossname, specific. I mean, isn't it?"
"You tell me," said Nobby.
"What if it's just a thousand-to-one chance?" said Colon agonizedly.
"Anyone ever heard of a thousand-to-one shot coming up?"
Carrot looked up. "Don't be daft, Sergeant," he said. "No one ever saw a thousand-to-one chance come up. The odds against it are—" his lips moved—"millions to one."
"Yeah. Millions," agreed Nobby.
"So it'd only work if it's your actual million-to-one chance," said the sergeant.
"I suppose that's right," said Nobby.
"So 999,943-to-one, for example—" Colon began.
Carrot shook his head. "Wouldn't have a hope. No one ever said, 'It's a 999,943-to-one chance but it just might work.'"
~Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!


The textbook is Introduction to Probability (second edition) by Charles M. Grinstead and J. Laurie Snell. You can find it free online here, or you can buy a copy at Wheelock Books (or elsewhere). Please make sure you have the second edition.


Period 10

We will use x-hours on a regular basis for makeup classes and quizzes, especially early in the term. Please take a look at the schedule.


Johanna Franklin will be teaching this course.


There will be three quizzes and a comprehensive final exam in this class. The quizzes will be held during the x-hours on April 14, May 5, and May 19. The final will be held on Saturday, June 4 at 8:00 a.m. in Kemeny 007.


A homework set will generally be due every Wednesday and will cover the material discussed during the previous week. No late assignments will be accepted except under the most extreme circumstances. If you have an emergency that you think may be an extreme circumstance, please let me know as soon as possible. Assignments must be turned in by 12:30 p.m. on their due dates in the boxes outside 105 Kemeny (our classroom). Look for the boxes for Math 20, Spring 2011 and put your homework in the box on the left.

If you have signed and returned the FERPA waiver, you can collect your homework from the box on the right. If you do not give me a signed copy of the waiver, you can collect your homework during office hours by showing me your Dartmouth ID.


The course grade will be determined as follows (out of 400 points):

Academic Honor Principle

I expect you to abide by the Dartmouth Academic Honor Principle at all times. There should be no help given or received on quizzes or the final exam, and you will not be allowed to use abaci, calculators, computers, cell phones, or other electronic or computational aids. The most technologically advanced device you will be allowed to use is a mechanical pencil.

On the homework, however, collaboration is not only permitted but encouraged. You are welcome to discuss the problems with your classmates and with me. However, you must write up and submit your assignments individually, and you must list all the other students you discussed the problems with at the top of your assignment (as well as any sources you used). You are allowed to use calculators and other electronic aids on the homework.


If you have a documented disability, I encourage you to discuss possible accommodations with me and consult Student Accessibility Services in 301 Collis Center (extension 6-9900). This office can help determine appropriate accommodations for you.

Religious observances

Some students may wish to take part in religious observances that occur during this academic term. If you have a religious observance that conflicts with your participation in the course, please meet with me before the end of the second week of the term to discuss appropriate accommodations.


If you'd like to run the simulations I do in class on your own computers, here's a basic guide to downloading Maple and then finding the simulations. The computers in the library are already equipped with Maple, so if you download the simulation files, you can use the library computers and skip installing Maple on your own machine.

Installing Maple on your own computer:

  1. Go to Computing at Dartmouth's Software Downloads site.
  2. Click on the link for your operating system.
  3. Look for "Academic Software." If you're using a Mac or running Windows, a link for Maple will be right there. If you're running Linux, you'll have to scroll down.
  4. Download the program files.
  5. Install the program files using the installation instructions in the "README_Install" file. The install is customized, and I've been assured that just using the defaults will lead to misery.
At this point, you're on your own. I can't see your computer, and I can't troubleshoot for you. The Student Help Desk in Berry can help, though!

Using Maple:

Note that Maple licenses are managed by the Dartmouth Keyserver. If you're connected to the Dartmouth network, you'll be able to use your copy of Maple without a problem, but if you aren't, you'll need a VPN connection. If you're having trouble with this, talk to the nice people in Berry.

Downloading and running the simulations:

The simulations can be downloaded here. Again, I can't see your computer and don't know what form you want the files in. I'm using the Maple 5.4 set, but the compression type is up to you. (Again: Berry library, Student Help Desk.) The files are organized by the chapter in the book they're related to, and you should be able to find the one you're looking for without too much trouble.

You may notice that the same programs are available for Mathematica and True BASIC. I haven't tested those, but if you're more used to one of those programs, feel free to try them out!