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MA 2612 Applied Statistics II Term B, 1999

Instructor:J. D. Petruccelli
Stratton 105C
Office Hours: Tu 2-4, M, F 10-11, or by appointment

Teaching Assistant:Yuehui Wu
Stratton 204
Office Hours: W 1-3, F 3-5

Overview of the Course

This is the second of a two-course sequence on probability, statistics and data analysis. The course will cover chapters 6-9 of the text.


Petruccelli, Nandram and Chen, Applied Statistics for Engineers and Scientists, 1999, Prentice Hall.

The lecture notes I use in class will be found online at


The supported statistical software for the course is SAS statistical software, running on the Unix system at WPI. In order to use SAS, you must have a CCC Unix computer account and, if accessing Unix from a PC, a CCC Novell computer account, both of which you will have been given when you registered. In the unlikely event that you do not have a computer account, or if you have difficulty with your account, inquire at the I/O desk at CCC in Fuller Labs.

A document found on the WPI web pages at URL\_Materials/SAS/tutorial98.html

contains a brief introduction to the WPI computing environment. This document also contains a tutorial for SAS statistical software. I am assuming that the great majority of you have taken MA 2611 and therefore have familiarity with SAS. If you did not, or do not, please see me.

While you will need to use SAS to do some of the course labs, you are not required to use SAS for other statistical computing in the course (such as for homeworks or the capstone project). However, if you use other software, you are on your own as far as technical support goes.

In addition to allowing you to use SAS and to access the SAS tutorial, the CCC Unix computer account will enable you to use electronic mail (email) to communicate with fellow students, your TA and instructor (our email addresses are on the first page of this document).

Performance Measures

Several performance measures are used in the course. This section describes each measure and what is expected of you for each.


There will be four open book, open note, fifty-minute, in-class tests, one for each of chapters 6-9. These are individual (not group) exams and involve problem solving, statistical reasoning and the analysis of data.


You will be assigned one or more labs from each chapter. Lab periods are scheduled for you to do the labs, but the labs may have to be finished outside of these periods. Some labs are meant to be done by a group, and some are meant to be done by individuals.

A lab report is required for each lab. This report may be done by a group, even if the lab is not a group lab. Some individuals prefer to submit individual lab reports, however, even if the lab is a group lab. I will leave the decision up to you. Each lab report must clearly state the name(s) of the individual(s) who is(are) submitting it. All individuals submitting a lab report will get the same grade. To give you an idea of what is expected in a lab report, a sample lab report is available at

There are two purposes for a lab report:

The lab report must be completed in the format used in the sample lab report. Lab reports must be neat: a first illegible lab report will be returned for rewriting; any subsequent illegible lab reports will be given a grade of 0. Any individually submitted lab reports which show evidence of collaboration will receive a grade of 0 (If you want to collaborate submit it as a group lab report).

The Capstone Project

The goal of the capstone project is to give you experience in all phases of a statistical study: Planning, Data Collection, and Analysis and Conclusions, with particular emphasis on the material in Chapters 6, 7, 8 or 9. The capstone project for each of these chapters is described at the end of the relevant chapter.

Project Tasks

Project tasks to be accomplished are described on pp. 285-286.

Time Line and Deliverables

As this is a large-scale project, I have built in a number of intermediate objectives and due dates to give your group feedback and to keep your group on track.

When Due What is Due
November 5 A proposal for what you want to study.
November 12 A detailed proposal for a pilot study.
November 23 A detailed proposal for the main study.
  You must include the results of the pilot study,
  the design of the main study and the
  inference you propose to do.
December 17 The project report.

The capstone project requires three written proposals and a written project report. The proposals and project report must be typed or word-processed. One copy of each proposal and one project report are to be submitted by the group. The proposals may be submitted prior to, but not later than, the given deadlines.

The project report must contain sections 1-5 below. Below is a description of what I will be looking for when I grade the project report. The grade for the project report will be assigned according to the percentages indicated:

Executive Summary (5%) A one page or less summary of the problem, data generation method, analysis and conclusions. Points will be assigned for conciseness, accuracy and content. (Note that this is a brief summary of items 2-5 below designed to give the essence of the report without the details.)
Problem Description (10%) Why are you conducting this study? What is the question (or questions) you are trying to answer?
Data Generation (20%) Is the data generation method you conducted appropriate to answering the questions you want to answer? Is it designed properly? If you conduct a sequence of data generating schemes, are the procedures you follow logical and justified by the previous results? Note that this section must contain a description of the pilot study, its results, and how those results were used in designing the main study.
Analysis (50%) Is the analysis appropriate and thorough? Does it provide an answer to the questions you asked? Are needed assumptions for statistical methods satisfied? How are missing values or outliers handled? Have you gotten all that can be gotten from the data?
Conclusions (15%) Appropriateness (are conclusions based on results?), clarity, justification (are arguments well supported?).

To give you an idea of what is expected in the project report, a sample project report is found at

Please note, however, that the capstone project is of a much greater magnitude (by a factor of, say, five) than a mini-project, and that the corresponding report will be of greater length and depth.


Homework is assigned for your benefit and practice. You are to use it as a yardstick against which to measure your understanding. You may discuss it with other class members as a check on your understanding. Note that this does not mean copying it from another class member. If you have difficulty doing the homework, seek help from the TA or the instructor. It is your responsibility to see that you understand the principles and ideas behind the homework exercises.

About half the problems will be graded from each homework assignment. Your homework grade will be based only on the graded problems.


Grades will be assigned as follows (note that the total points for individual homework assignments may not equal 25 points, but each score will be normalized to an equivalent score out of 25 for determination of the final grade):

Group Activities Maximum Possible Points
Capstone Project Proposal 1 25
Capstone Project Proposal 2 25
Capstone Project Proposal 3 50
Capstone Project Final Report 300
Lab Reports (4) 400
Individual Activities Maximum Possible Points
Test 1 100
Test 2 100
Test 3 100
Test 4 100
Homework Sets (4) 100
Maximum Possible Total Points 1300
Course Grades:

A At Least 1138 Points
B 975 to 1137 Points
C 780 to 974 Points

What Kind of Time Commitment is Expected of You

Over twenty years ago, when the WPI Plan was conceived, it was decided to require full time students to take only three courses at a time (at other schools four or five are a full load). The rationale was that students should be more responsible for their own learning, and therefore should put in the time required to be full-time learners outside of class. The figure quoted was that students should spend (on average) seventeen hours per course.

I feel that seventeen hours per course is a fair figure for students taking only three courses, and I expect you to put in that amount in MA 2612, on average. (By ``on average'' I mean a class-wide average. Some of you are faster learners and will average less than seventeen hours per week; some of you are slower learners and will average more.)

Late Assignments

Unless arrangements have been made with me ahead of time, late assignments will receive a grade of 0.


Makeup exams will be given only in the event of serious illness or other extraordinary circumstances.

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Joseph D Petruccelli