Phys 5053: Data Analysis Methods I
Fall 2012 Syllabus

3-3:50pm MW and 3-4:50 F in MWAH 241.

Instructor: Prof. Hiller
Assistant: Dr. Chabysheva

Office: 353 Marshall W. Alworth Hall (MWAH)
Hours: 4 MW in 195 MWAH and by appointment.
Phone: 218-726-7594
Home page:

Text: P.R. Bevington and D.K. Robinson, Data Reduction and Error Analysis 3rd ed.

Prerequisites: Phys 2012 or 2016 or equivalent.

Course outline:
Week Chapters Topics
1 1 Measurement uncertainties
2 2 Probability distributions
3 3 Error analysis
4,5 4 Estimations
Exam #1 1-4 Friday, October 5
6 5 Monte Carlo methods
7,8 6 Fits to a line
9 7 Fits to a polynomial
10,11 8 Fits to an arbitrary function
Exam #2 5-8 Friday, November 16
12 9 Composite fits
13 10 Maximum-likelihood method
14 11 Tests of fits
15 Time series analysis
Final Exam 8 am, Monday, December 17.

Homework: The outline for the semester indicates the chapter(s) to be read before class meetings for the coming week. Reading assignments that are more precise will be given in class. Assignments of homework problems will also be given.

Late work will not be accepted, but snow dates and other closings grant an immediate extension to the next class. If a web site, journal article, or book (including the text) is used in the solution of a problem, it should be cited; all other work on the problem should be your own. Detailed calculations and explanations are expected. Use of MatLab, Mathematica, or other software is encouraged for algebra, calculus, numerical analysis, and graphing; however, a printout of the session should be included with the rest of the assignment. When reporting any numerical results, always include an appropriate number of significant digits and always include units with any dimensionful quantities and on any graph axes.

Class participation: Participation is expected. You are expected to be able to demonstrate your preparation for class by being able to answer questions. You will also be expected to work problems in class and discuss the work with the instructors and other students.

Laboratory: During each laboratory you will be expected to complete a series of exercises and provide a printed record of what you were able to accomplish. The primary tool for the exercises will be MatLab.

Exams: There will be two midterms and a final. All exams will be closed book and closed notes. Useful formulas will be provided. Do bring a calculator. For the purposes of the exams, the content of the course is determined by the lectures, laboratory exercises, discussions, problems, and reading assignments.

Exam makeup policy: If an absence from an exam is anticipated, this should be discussed with the instructor in advance of the exam. An equivalent exam will be scheduled as soon as possible for those justifiably absent. Absence from an exam without prior permission must be due to uncontrollable circumstances (explained in writing) in order to be considered justifiable.

Determination of grades: Grades will be determined from four components as follows:
1. Homework 25%
2. Laboratory 20%
3. Midterm exams 15% each
4. Final exam 25%
Letter grades will be assigned according to the following approximate scale:
A 70-100, B 55-70, C 40-55, D 30-40, F 0-30.
Plus and minus signs will be used. Homework and exams will be scored with this scale in mind; for example, a score of 7 for a 10-point problem can be interpreted as an A-.

Posting of grades: Grades will be posted on an electronic gradebook, which can be reached by a direct link from the course home page. Your e-mail ID and password will give you access to your entries.

A note on disabilities: Individuals who have any disability, either permanent or temporary, which might affect their ability to perform in this class are encouraged to inform the instructor at the start of the semester. Adaptation of methods, materials, or testing may be made as required to provide for equitable participation. To learn about the services that UMD provides to students with disabilities, contact Disability Resources, 258 Kirby Student Center, extension 6130.

Academic integrity: UMD's Student Academic Integrity Policy can be found at

Classroom conduct: UMD's Student Conduct Code can be found at

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Last Modified: Saturday, 1-Sep-2012 10:04:15 CDT
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