Math 408: Actuarial Statistics I, Spring 2008
Professor A.J. Hildebrand
- Lectures: MWF 9:00 - 9:50, 106 Lincoln Hall
- Discussion sections: Tuesdays, 3:00 - 3:50 pm and 4:00 -
4:50 pm, 113 Davenport Hall. The discussion sections will begin January
22, the second week of class. The discussion sections will be led by
TA Amanda Heitz, aheitz2uiuc.edu.
- Open House:
I plan to hold a weekly "Open House",
Wednesdays, 5 pm - 6 pm, 141 Altgeld,
beginning the second week of class (Jan. 23).
The Open House is intended as an informal office hour for the
students in my current classes (Math 408, Math 370, and Math 453);
take advantage of this opportunity!
- Instructor contact information:
A.J. Hildebrand, office 241 Illini Hall (second
floor, north end of hallway), phone 244-7721, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When sending email, make sure to specify "Math 408" in the subject
line. This ensures that it moves to the top of my mail queue and that
it won't get trapped by my spam filter.
My official office hours are at MW 2 pm - 3 pm, but you can (usually)
get hold of me right after the lectures. For general questions about the
material I encourage you to take advantage of the "Open House" (see
Text and syllabus:
Hogg/Tanis, "Probability and Statistical Inference", 7th edition.
We will cover the first half of the book, Chapters 1 - 5. The follow-up
course, Math/Stat 409, usually covers the second half of this text,
and chances are that you will be able to use the book for both courses.
(Note that 409 is under the control of the Statistics Department and
will likely be taught by statistics faculty.)
Alternate sources for the text.
The bookstores price for the text is around $120 new, and $90 used,
However, if you shop around, you can get it, brandnew, for less than
half that price. I purchased my copy for around $50 from
TextbooksRus.com. Another source is campusbooks.com,
a price comparison engine.
About this course: This course (Math/Stat 408) is a basic
probability course for actuarial science students; enrollment is
restricted to students in the actuarial science program. The
main objectives of the course are to
The course covers all the material necessary for the Course 1/P
Actuarial Exam, but it also includes some topics that, while not
particularly relevant as exam topics (for various reasons - usually
simply because they don't lend themselves to good multiple-choice exam
questions), are considered parts of any standard introduction
to probability theory and prerequisites for more advanced probability
and statistics classes. (Examples are combinatorial probabilities and
the chi-square distribution.)
- provide a general introduction to probability theory;
- prepare for more advanced courses in statistics (in
particular, Math 409 and Math 469);
- prepare for the Course 1/P Actuarial Exam.
- Related courses:
Math 461 (Introduction to Probability):
This is our main probability course that most
math majors as well as many students in engineering and computer
science take. It covers much the same
material as 408. The main differences are that 461 is more
theoretical and therefore more challenging, and that the problems
in 461 are mainly drawn from mathematics and applications in
engineering and computer science, whereas 408 focuses more (but
certainly not exclusively) on the kind of insurance/risk problems
that tend to come up in actuarial exams.
- Math 463 (Introduction to Mathematical
Statistics and Probability): Similar to 461, but less theoretical
(and, arguably, easier) and with a greater focus on the statistical
side; in that sense, it is closer to 408 than 461. In fact, the
Hogg/Tanis text that we are using for 408 has been for many years the
standard text for 463.
Math 370 X (Actuarial Problem Solving):
A preparation/review for the Course 1/P Actuarial Exam.
I am teaching this course this semester; see the above link for my
course webpage for this class. (It is Mondays, 7 pm - 8:50 pm, in 245
Altgeld, beginning January 28.)
You can take it for credit
(one credit hour), or just sit in without
While mainly targeted at
those who have already taken 408, it is possible to take it
simultaneously with 408, and it may help reinforce the 408 material.
I'll try to keep the pace roughly in sync with that in 408, though this
is not always possible, and there will be times where we will need
material not yet covered in 408. You can keep up with what I am doing
in 370 through the above course webpage.
Prerequisites: The prerequisite for this course is
Math 241, 242 or 243 (Calculus III), or equivalent.
While the first half of the course requires little calculus, the
latter part of the course depends in an essential way on calculus,
especially multi-variable calculus. Many of
the problems in the latter part of the course boil down to computing
multiple integrals, and you must be comfortable doing such
- Homework: There will be approximately ten HW assignments,
normally given out on Monday and due in class the following
Friday. Assignments dropped off in mailboxes will not be accepted;
however, you can turn in an assignment in my office, 241 Illini Hall,
any time before the class hour in which it is due. Late assignments
will not be accepted. If you have a legitimate, documentable, excuse
for missing an assignment (e.g., illness), I will mark the assignment
as excused. An excused assignment will not be counted towards your
homework average; by contrast, a missed assignment without a valid
excuse will count as 0 points. From each assignment, approximately
half of the problems will be graded. At the end of the semester, the
lowest HW score will be dropped and the remaining scores determine
your HW grade.
- Quizzes: There will be weekly quizzes,
usually given during the Tuesday discussion sections. At the end of
the semester, the lowest quiz score will be dropped; the remaining
scores determine your Quiz grade. Note that there are no make-up
quizzes; if you miss a quiz, it will count as 0 points, unless you have
a valid excuse, in which case the quiz will be marked as excused
- Midterm Exams: There
will be two midterm Hour Exams, given during the regular class hour,
scheduled approximately 1/3 and 2/3 into the semester. The first exam
will be in late February or early March, and the second in early
April. I will poll the class before deciding on exact dates.
Final Exam: The Final Exam will be cumulative and will be
about twice as long as an Hour Exam. It will be given
at the officially scheduled exam slot: Friday, May 2, 7 pm - 10 pm.
Spring 2008 Final Exam Schedule.)
- Course grade: The course grade will be based on homework,
quizzes, midterm exams, and final exams, with the following weights:
- Homework: 15 %
- Quizzes: 15 %
- Midterms: 40 % (20 % each)
- Final: 30 %
Calculator policy: For Midterm Exams and for the Final Exam,
the calculator policy is the same as that used for Actuarial Exams;
this link for a list of approved calculators. Essentially, any
sufficiently "basic" calculator is okay; in particular,
it should not have advanced features like the
ability to integrate, differentiate, or to graph curves, as those are
things you should be able to handle on your own. In general, the
usefulness of calculators in math classes is vastly overrated.
My only calculator is a $10 drugstore model (TI 30X); it's buried in
a drawer in my desk, and I rarely
need to pull it out - perhaps a dozen times over the course of a semester.
The vast majority of problems you will encounter, both in this course
and in the actuarial exams, do not require a calculator, and for those
that do, a calculator providing basic arithmetic operations is
sufficient. Quiz problems will usually be quick theoretical
questions (e.g., stating a formula),
and calculators will not be needed or allowed in quizzes.
Missed exam/quiz policy:
I do not
give make-up exams or quizzes. If you miss an exam or quiz and have a
valid excuse (e.g., illness or job/internship interview), documented
with a letter from the Dean,
I will mark the test as "excused". A test marked as excused
is simply ignored in the grade computation, i.e., it is treated
as if the test had never taken place. An "excused" quiz does not
affect your drop scores. For example, if you miss one out of 11
quizzes, and get an "excused" for the missed quiz, then the lowest of
the 10 remaining quiz scores gets dropped, so your quiz grade will be
the average quizzes of the 9 non-dropped and non-excused quizzes.
Without the excuse, you'd get 0 points for the missed quiz, so that
quiz would become your drop score and the quiz grade would be the
average of the 10 non-missed quizzes. Note that, because of the drop
score, you can afford to miss one quiz (without excuse),
but still end up with a perfect quiz average, provided
you have perfect scores on all others.
An "excused" grade must be requested within a week of the test and
must be documented with a letter from the Dean. The Dean's Office is
located in 300 Student Services Building, 610 East John St., phone
333-0050. Just see one of the Assistant Deans there, explain your
case, and ask that they send a letter to the instructor. The people
there deal with these situations all the time and have form letters
that they will send to instructors if they believe you have a valid
excuse (e.g., illness, but not, for example, oversleeping). One major
advantage of going through the Dean's Office is that you can take care
of any other missed classes at the same time by having letters sent to
all of your instructors.
You are expected to attend class, both the lectures and the
discussions. (This is not my policy, but that of the University; see
Article 1, Part 5, Section 1-501 of the Student Code. Of course,
an absence due to illness or other legitimate excuses, including
religious observances, is a different matter; see above for policies
on missed quizzes and exams in such cases.)
I maintain an extensive course website, at
https://faculty.math.illinois.edu/~hildebr/408. You will find there
announcements, HW assignments and solutions, handouts, problem sets, a
daily class log, and more. Make sure to bookmark this page and check
it on a regular basis. Keep in mind, though ,that this is not an online
course and the website is not intended as a substitute for attending
class; there is a lot more that goes on in class than the
brief summaries of topics/sections that you'll find on the
website can convey.
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Last modified: Tue 22 Jan 2008 10:01:40 AM CST