What you'll learn
- Avoid the probability fallacies that often mislead people
- Calculate probabilities using cases and historical data
- Calculate the probabilities of complex events based on simpler ones
- Apply Bayes' Rule to bring outside knowledge into your probability estimates
- Use expected value to assess and compare alternatives
- Focus your analysis on segments or situations using conditional probability
- Reason correctly using false positives and false negatives
- Develop intuition about randomness
- No requirements. No math skills needed beyond basic arithmetic. The spreadsheets are optional.
Use the science of probability to turn vague terms such as "likely" into precise values you can use to assess risks and alternatives. This beginning course gives you all you need to apply probability to real-world questions. Use Bayes' Rule to incorporate what you know about the outside world. Combine simple probabilities to find the likelihood of complex events. Use conditional probability to focus on groups or situations. Draw correct conclusions from conditional probabilities, including false positives and false negatives. Avoid the many probability fallacies that often lead to bad decisions. Try out your knowledge in exercises, then take on some tricky challenges (you'll get the solutions). A formula “cheat sheet” and optional spreadsheets are included.
What You'll Learn
Probability is both a science and a measure of likelihood. We go beyond the standard examples of cards and dice and discuss what it means for weather prediction or medical tests. Probability is useful for giving you an expected value, what you would expect the outcome to be on average. Yet, as we watch random events play out in a simulation, we see that we need to also expect the unexpected.
Probability appears simple and straightforward, which leads people to get misled by various common probability fallacies. One key fallacy is seeing patterns that aren't there. You will see examples in which ordinary randomness leads to silly conclusions. Another is the confusion of the inverse of conditional probabilities. This causes confusion in assessing the results of medical tests and making faulty causal connections.
From Your Instructor, Carol Jacoby
I’ve been using various types of analysis to answer tricky questions for over 30 years. I did this as a mission analyst at Hughes Electronics and other companies to predict outcomes and compare alternatives. The applications were broad and ill-defined: protect Europe from missile attack, limit drug smuggling, design a highway system for self-driving cars and more.
I have a PhD in mathematics, and I’ve been teaching technical classes to managers through major universities for 20 years. The students praise my enthusiasm and ability to make complex subjects clear. A common comment is, "I wish you had been my math teacher in high school." Here are samples of classes that were heavy in analysis.
· Predictive Analytics: Caltech Center for Technology and Management Education
· Lean Six Sigma: Caltech Center for Technology and Management Education
· Systems Engineering: UCLA Extension for Raytheon
· The Decisive Manager: UCLA Technical Management Program
One thing I like about teaching is interacting with the students. I look forward to comments and direct messages and respond promptly. Any feedback is encouraged. If something is confusing or doesn’t work as expected, I want to hear about it right away so I can fix it. I especially want to hear about your own data explorations and other topics you’d like to learn about or problems you’d like to solve.
So, are you ready to dig into that data and see what you can learn? Learn probability in just a couple hours. Sign up now. If you want more of a taste first, check out the quick promo video or some of the free lessons. I hope to see you in class.
Who this course is for:
- Beginner interested in more precise likelihood prediction
- Beginner who needs a probability foundation for statistics, risk analysis, data science or other more advanced analysis.
Hi, I'm Carol Jacoby. My analytical and decision-making techniques are built on 28 years as a manager of mission analysis at Hughes Electronics and other firms. Here are a few of the questions I’ve worked on over my career
- How to prevent drug smuggling (knowing that the smugglers can change routes and tactics quickly)
- How to protect a country against a missile attack
- How to improve highway transportation using future digital technologies
- How to set the payoff for a casino game, taking into account player strategies
- How to design a car to drive itself
The major issues in these questions — vague problems, multiple and conflicting goals, risks, and insufficient information — are the same ones faced by all leaders. I can share the powerful techniques I’ve used and developed
One tool I particularly like is Microsoft Excel, especially for visualizing alternative or potential futures. The questions leaders ask are constantly changing, and Excel has the flexibility to handle that. Most Excel books and classes are geared to bean counters. I teach the few simple techniques that leaders need.
I love public speaking. I’m active in Toastmasters and accepted into their speakers bureau. At the same time, I love doing analysis. I have a PhD in math and I still do cutting-edge research in math. I do systems engineering and mission analysis through "Jacoby Consulting". It’s not often that you find someone who can motivate you with a speech and then do sophisticated analysis of your problem.
I love teaching. My classes are hands-on. I've had many students enter my stats class with fear and leave saying it was fun. Bring your computer and your problems to my Excel class and you'll leave with answers, and the knowledge to solve the next question that needs to be analyzed.
I’ve been an independent consultant since 2001. I live in Southern California with my husband Jerry. We’ve been married forever and we’re still crazy about each other. We like to travel and to kick back in our mountain cabin. We are the proud parents of the world’s greatest kindergarten teacher and we have two big grandpuppies
I’d like to hear from you. I’d love to help you break through, take charge and move ahead.