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15S, 15F, 16S: 9L

Methods for transforming raw facts into useful information. Directed toward students with an aptitude for mathematics. Emphasis is placed on the understanding, use, and both oral and written interpretation of exploratory data analysis within the rules of scientific method. With permission from the responsible department, MSS 15 may be used to satisfy some pre-medical, natural science, and social science departmental requirements in mathematics, statistics, and methodology. Limited enrollment.

15S: 2A, 15F ?

Big data are everywhere -- in government, academic research, media, business, and everyday life. To tell the stories hidden behind blizzards of data, effective visualization -- using maps, text clouds, networks, and other tools -- is critical. This course teaches the principles of data visualization using publicly available tools -- most importantly, the R statistical computing environment. Students completing the course will know how to work with and visualize data critical to their scientific endeavors.

15F: Arrange

Disciplines such as anthropology, economics, sociology, psychology, and linguistics all now make extensive use of mathematical models, using the tools of calculus, probability, game theory, network theory, often mixed with a healthy dose of computing. This course introduces students to a range of techniques using current and relevant examples. Students interested in further study of these and related topics are referred to the courses listed in the Mathematics and Social Sciences program.

15F: Arrange

Students will gather and analyze data on a variety of networks (institutions, communities, elites, friendship systems, kinship systems, trade networks, and the like). Techniques of analysis may include graph theory, text analysis, multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis, and a variety of special models. Not limited to students in the major.

Not offered in the period from 14F through 16S

A course in mathematical models in psychology with emphasis on psychological foundations, applications, and testing. Topics will be chosen from information theory and its applications in memory, learning, language, and identification under uncertainty; probabilistic learning models; bargaining and its relation to n-person game theory; decision making under uncertainty; and thresholds and signal detectability.

Not offered in the period from 14F through 16S

The existence or non-existence of class structure in America, the opportunities for and the degree of upward mobility, and the relation between ability and success are central issues for sociology.

Students will be responsible for understanding both social theory and technical methodology. They will complete a hands-on project, applying the theories of techniques of their choice (or of their invention) to detailed available data on the careers of American men and women of various ages, races, and family backgrounds.

15S, 16S: Arrange

Examination of the assumptions and interpretation of basic quantitative methods in the social sciences. Methods examined may include linear models, tabular analysis, and Tukey-Mosteller exploratory data analysis. Applications will be wide-ranging and customized to student research. Prior knowledge of elementary data analysis or elementary statistics is assumed.

Not offered in the period from 14F through 16S

Is there a fair method of voting to elect a candidate for political office or to apportion representation in Congress among the States? We examine the benefits and problems of traditional plurality voting. Seeking criteria for fairness leads us to Arrows axioms for a social welfare function and his impossibility theorem. Alternatives to his assumptions are explored as are weighted voting schemes and approval voting, evaluating their advantages and drawbacks. We also explore the concept of fairness in apportionment of congressional districts. Throughout the course both mathematical and political concepts are used to analyze consequences, benefits, and costs.

All terms: Arrange

All terms: Arrange

We call attention to the following courses which include some of the more quantitative and mathematical courses in the curriculum of various social science disciplines.

Anthropology 41: Human Evolution

Economics*

Engineering Sciences 18: Principles of System Dynamics

Engineering Sciences 52: Introduction to Operations Research

Philosophy 27: Philosophy of Science

Psychology 21: Perception

Psychology 28: Cognition

* Economics courses are quantitative in nature and the advanced sequential courses quite highly so. Mathematics and Social Science students are encouraged to speak with the professors of the courses that are of substantive interest to the student in order to ascertain whether the mix of quantitative technique and substantive economic issues is right for the student.