MATH 3080
Probability 1
Autumn 2015

This is the homepage for MATH 3080 (Probability I). This page will be updated throughout the term with important information for our course, including homework assignments, review materials, solutions to assignments, and more. CHECK IT FREQUENTLY!

  • Solutions to the practice final are posted below.
  • Solutions for Assignment 7 have been posted below.
  • Assignment 8 has been updated; I've removed the questions from Chapter 6 about joint distributions, since I don't believe we'll get there Tuesday. Make sure to look at the new version, which should have only 5 questions.
Course Information

Instructor: Ronnie Pavlov
Office: Aspen Hall 715C
Phone: (303)-871-4001
Office hours: Monday 9:30-10:30, Wednesday 4:00-5:00, or by appointment (try to give 24 hours notice)

Graduate TA: Dennis Pace
Office: Aspen Hall 715
Office hours: Monday 10:00-11:00, Wednesday 11:00-12:00, 1:00-4:00, Friday 9:00-10:00.

Our class will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00-1:50 p.m. in the basement of Aspen Hall.

Text: A First Course in Probability 9th Edition by Sheldon Ross.

This book is available at the DU Bookstore, and will also be used for MATH 3090 (Probability 2).

We will be covering most of chapters 1-4, the first half of chapter 5, and small portions of chapters 6 and 8 if time permits.

Course summary
We will begin by introducing the basic concepts of discrete probability theory. We begin with combinatorics, essentially the study of complicated counting problems. This allows us to introduce the formal definitions of probability on finite sample spaces (e.g. coin flipping and dice rolling). We then move on to the idea of conditional probability, or the notion of dependence/independence. (For example, two coin flips are independent, meaning that a heads or tails on the first has no bearing on the second. However, your performance on the midterm and final exams are dependent; a high score on one means that you probably understand the material well, and that you are more likely to get a higher score on the other.) Finally, we introduce the notion of random variables (functions on a probability space), expected value (weighted averages), and variance.

In the last portion of the course, we focus on the more difficult setup of probability theory with continuous distributions. Here, the sample space is infinite, and so we can no longer get by with the notions of counting and adding. Instead, we use calculus to define and study probabilities and random variables. We will discuss several useful examples, including the famous normal distribution (bell curve) and why it is so ubiquitous in statistics. Finally, we will spend the last week on some more advanced concepts leading into Probability 2, finishing with the famous Weak Law of Large Numbers.

Grading scheme
Your term grade will be composed of the following:

Final exam (40%)
Midterm exam (30%)
Homework (30%)


Late assignments will have a percentage subtracted according to the following policy:

2-3 days late: -50%
>3 days late: not accepted

You will have a midterm exam on October 15th, in our classroom during class time. Our final exam will be on Saturday, November 21st, also in our classroom and during class time. Makeup exams will only be offered in the event of extreme circumstances. If you think you have a problem which will force you to miss an exam, come talk to me as soon as possible!!!

Important Documents
Course Schedule (subject to minor changes!)

Course Policies

Students with Disabilities:
If you qualify for academic accommodations because of a disability or medical issue, please submit a faculty letter to me from Disability Services Program (DSP) in a timely manner so that your needs may be addressed. DSP determines accommodations based on documented disabilities/medical issues. DSP is located on the 4th floor of Ruffatto Hall, 1999 E. Evans Ave, 303.871.2278. Information is also available online at; see the Handbook for Students with Disabilities.

Honor Code:
Follow the Honor Code in all activities related to this course. Incidents of academic misconduct will be reported to and investigated by the office of Student Conduct.