Statistics involve the use of mathematical models of probability functions to predict and assess events or situations in real life where it is not possible, practical, acceptable, or affordable to make determinations from actual data collection, experience, and experimentation.  For Engineers we use statistics to help us maintain quality control, assess risk, and identify causes for events, results, and situations.

This will be a first course in statistics for engineers.  As such there will be little of mathematical theory in the course, but rather a focus on "these are common engineering problems, and these are ways of applying statistical models and methods to these problems".  In statistics there are a wide range of special tests and adaptations to special types of problems that are encountered in various different fields.  This class will pay little attention to specialized tests.  Instead it will cover a broad spectrum of standard tests and example types of engineering problems to which those standard tests may be applied.  The class will thus have a flavor or a broad brush coverage of statistics, but limited depth.  Engineering 540 Design of Experiments provides more detailed application of specialized tests and planning of tests while Engineering 551g (Geostatistics) gives a more detailed coverage of spatial statistics.

A variety of calculations are involved in solving statistical problems, however, today, especially for the common basic tests, computer and statistical packages are available.  This class will not spend much time on the doing of statistical calculations but will rather go over how to run common statistical package programs and read and apply the results.  The class will have a supplementary reading schedule where individuals can read about how the actual computations for the tests are done.  (The class will just show how to run a widely available package - SPSS to do the calculations).  While the supplemental reading on how the different tests are actually computed will be of interest for people wanting a deeper understanding of the subject, the supplemental reading will not be tested or measured by homework.  It is for the personal interest of individuals for whom a simple demonstration of how to crunch numbers with a computer package and read the result is just not enough.