Math 180a
UCSD Spring 2022
MWF 3–3:50pm (RCLASS)
Introduction to Probability

Brett Kolesnik
Office hours (starting Wed Apr 6): Mon and Wed 3–4pm (Meeting ID: 958 0234 1116, use course password sent through Piazza)

*** Please email the instructor about confidential matters only. All other questions (about lectures, homework, etc) should be asked during office hours or posted on Piazza. Note that you get credit (5% overall) for your activity on Piazza. ***

  1. (Sec A01–02) Felipe Campos
  2. (Sec A03 and A06) Yesheng Huang
  3. (Sec A04–05) Gaojin He

The password for all Zoom meetings, class materials, etc. has been sent to all students through Canvas and Piazza. (If you cannot find this message, then please email the instructor to obtain the password.)

Math 180a is a 4 credit hour introduction to probability theory, covering topics such as: probability spaces, random variables, independence, conditional probability, distributions, expectation, variance, joint distributions, and the central limit theorem (one of the most important results in all of science).

Math 20c or Math 31bh, or consent of instructor. Prior or concurrent enrollment in Math 109 is highly recommended.

Remote Format
Math 180a is a fully remote "RCLASS". Lectures will be prerecorded. There will also be 7 quizzes (see schedule under "Important Dates" below) held remotely during the scheduled lecture time 3–3:50pm. The final exam will be held remotely on Wed, Jun 8 during 3–6pm. *** You MUST be available at these times on all of these dates in order to enroll in Math 180a. ***

The official course textbook (available for free at the link below) is

We aim to cover §1–10 thoroughly, and some parts of §12, as time allows.


There are many other good (some free, some not) books that cover similar material. You might be interested in obtaining some to further enrich your understanding, see the topics presented from other perspectives/styles, and as sources of additional exercises. Here are a few:
The following texts are more "data science focused", and also highly recommended:
Discussions (starting Tues, Apr 5)
Weekly discussion sessions will be held by the TAs. Students that regularly attend and actively participate in these sessions tend to do better in the class overall. Attendance is optional, but highly encouraged. Please make every effort to attend the session that you have enrolled in. However, you may occasionally attend another session without emailing the TA for permission.
  1. (Sec A01) Tuesdays 5–5:50pm on Zoom (Meeting ID: 987 1531 8167, use course password sent through Piazza)
  2. (Sec A02) Tuesdays 6–6:50pm on Zoom (Meeting ID: 987 1531 8167, use course password sent through Piazza)
  3. (Sec A03) Tuesdays 7–7:50pm on Zoom (Meeting ID: 921 5058 3427, use course password sent through Piazza)
  4. (Sec A04) Tuesdays 6–6:50pm in SOLIS 109
  5. (Sec A05) Tuesdays 7–7:50pm in SOLIS 109
  6. (Sec A06) Tuesdays 8–8:50pm on Zoom (Meeting ID: 982 0676 8239, use course password sent through Piazza)
7 homework assignments will be posted throughout the term. All assignments must be uploaded to Gradescope by 11pm.

7 quizzes will be held remotely during 3–4pm. All Quizzes will be 50 minutes + 10 minutes to upload. Quizzes must be uploaded to Gradescope by 4pm.

All class announcements will be made through Piazza (not Canvas).

Submit all assessments through Gradescope.


Optional Assignments
An "optional assignment" will appear on Gradescope for each homework assignment and each quiz. If you upload detailed corrections (explain all errors that you made, and present a new correct solution to each part of each question that you did not get 100% correct) for a homework assignment or quiz, then you will receive a +1 bonus point on this assessment. All optional assignments are due by 11pm on Tues, Jun 7.

Homework and Quiz Drops
If you complete the optional assignment for all homework assignments, then your lowest homework score will be replaced by your final exam score (if this is higher than your lowest homework score). Likewise, if you complete the optional assignment for all quizzes, then your lowest quiz score will be replaced by your final exam score (if this is higher than your lowest quiz score).

Academic Integrity
You may discuss homework with your fellow classmates, but you must write up your own solution in your own words. You must work completely alone on all quizzes and the final exam. Cases of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Academic Integrity Office. Penalties vary depending on the circumstances, but can include failure in the course or suspension from the university.

Late/Waived Assessments
Late work or missed work will not be excused, except for legitimate reasons (such as serious illness, family emergency, etc). Please email the instructor if any such circumstances arise.

OSD Accommodations
Students requesting accommodations for this course due to a disability must provide a current Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) letter (paper or electronic) issued by the Office for Students with Disabilities. Please note that students are required to discuss accommodation arrangements with the instructor and OSD liaisons in the department in advance of any exams or assignments.

Additional Resources
Discussion section schedule
Academic calendar
Enrollment and registration calendar
Academic Integrity Office
Office for Students with Disabilities
z-score calculator
t-score calculator

Important Dates

  1. Mon, May 30: Memorial Day (no lecture)
  2. Fri, Apr 22: deadline to drop without "W" on transcript
  3. Fri, May 6: deadline to drop with "W" on transcript
Homework (due by 11pm on Gradescope)
  1. Mon, Apr 11 (§1–2) sol
  2. Wed, Apr 20 (§3) sol
  3. Fri, Apr 29 (§4) sol
  4. Fri, May 6 (§5) sol
  5. Mon, May 16 (§6) sol
  6. Wed, May 25 (§7–9) sol 
  7. Wed, Jun 1 (§10,12) sol

Quizzes (posted at 3pm, due by 4pm on Gradescope)

  1. Wed, Apr 13 (§1–2) sol
  2. Mon, Apr 25 (§3) sol
  3. Mon, May 2 (§4) sol
  4. Mon, May 9 (§5) sol
  5. Wed, May 18 (§6) sol 
  6. Fri, May 27 (§7–9) sol 
  7. Fri, Jun 3 (§10,12) sol

Final Exam (posted at 3pm, due by 6pm on Gradescope)

  1. Wed, Jun 8 (cumulative: §1–10 and §12)

A (tentative) schedule appears below, but is subject to change slightly throughout the term.

*** All lecture videos and slides are available in Canvas (click on "Media Gallery"). Click on "Attachments" under a video to download the slides. ***