Course Overview


Probability and statistics have become indispensable tools in computer science. Probabilistic methods and statistical reasoning play major roles in machine learning, cryptography, network security, communication protocols, web search engines, robotics, program verification, and more. This course introduces the basic concepts of probability and statistics, focusing on topics that are most useful in computer science applications. Topics include: modeling and solution in sample space, random variables, simple random processes and their probability distributions, Markov processes, limit theorems, and basic elements of statistical inference.


The course syllabus (pdf) contains administrative information and a summary of the course material. For a detailed list of topics covered and corresponding readings, see the lecture calendar.


The course textbook is the second edition of Introduction to Probability, by Bertsekas and Tsitsiklis. Copies are available at the Brown Bookstore as well as Amazon. Pitman's Probability is a good secondary reference, and is freely available online.


Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30-3:50pm in CIT 368. The instructor is Prof. Erik Sudderth.


Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30pm in CIT 368. An optional review and problem-solving session led by the graduate TA, Zhile Ren.


April 28, 2015

The final exam will be given on Wednesday, May 6 from 9:00am-12:00pm. Instead of the usual lecture hall, we will use a larger room for the final, Barus & Holley (room 166). The normal lecture, recitation, and office hour schedule ends on Thursday, April 30.

February 11, 2015

The midterm will be given on Thursday, March 12 from 2:30-3:50pm. Instead of the usual lecture hall, we will use a larger room for the midterm, Metcalf Auditorium (room 101).

January 28, 2015

All students who are registered for the course, or would like to register, should complete this short survey. You will need to be logged into your Brown Google account to access. Please complete by Thursday, January 29 so that we can quickly process registration overrides.

January 27, 2015

Today's lecture, and the instructor's office hours, are cancelled due to the blizzard impacting Providence. Class will continue as usual on Thursday, January 29.

January 20, 2015

Welcome to CS145! The first lecture will be on Thursday, January 22 from 2:30-3:50pm in CIT 368. Be sure you have the second edition of the course textbook, Introduction to Probability, by Bertsekas and Tsitsiklis.