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ECSE-2500, Engineering Probability, Spring 2010, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Homework 1, due 2pm Tues Feb 2

  1. (6 pts) One of the hardest problems is forming an appropriate probability model. E.g., suppose you want to design an error correcting program for your data on a hard drive. What sort of errors are likely? Here are some possibilities:
    1. Separate bits independently go bad (because of a bad spot on the platter)
    2. Whole blocks go bad (perhaps because a lower level error correction protocol can completely correct a block until there are so many errors that it suddenly totally fails, or because of a directory error).
    3. A whole hard drive goes bad at once (because you dropped it while it was spinning and caused a head crash).
    Write 200 words on what you think an appropriate model might be and why. You will be graded on critical thinking not on specific conclusions (within reason). Consider these points:
    1. other failure modes
    2. likelihood of failure
    3. cost of failure
    4. future trends
  2. (2) One hard problem with statistics is how they should be interpreted. Read this story: 'Avatar' replaces 'Titanic' in record books.
    1. Tell me why Avatar is financially the biggest movie ever.
    2. Now tell me why Avatar is NOT (yet?) financially the biggest movie ever.
  3. (6) Do the text exercise 1.5 on page 19.
  4. (6) Do the text exercise 1.10 on page 20.