IntroSems quarters and schedules subject to change--check back often. Go to Re-Approaching Stanford for weekly updates on Academic Year 2020-21.
Check out the Summer Quarter IntroSems with Space Available and add yourself to the class in Axess starting May 23rd!
Look for the catalog of 2021-22 IntroSems to post here later this summer!
Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students
Counterfactuals: The Science of What Ifs?
How might the past have changed if different decisions were made? This question has captured the fascination of people for hundreds of years. By precisely asking, and answering such questions of counterfactual inference, we have the opportunity to both understand the impact of past decisions (has climate change worsened economic inequality?) and inform future choices (can we use historical electronic medical records data about decision made and outcomes, to create better protocols to enhance patient health?). In this course I will introduce some of the most common quantitative approaches to counterfactual reasoning, as well as give a wide sampling of some of the many important problems and questions that can be addressed through the lense of counterfactual reasoning, including in climate change, healthcare and economics. Students will also have the opportunity to do a deep dive into one topic through a course project. No prior experience with counterfactual or “what if” reasoning, nor probability, is required.