Sophomores, please read me: If you consider yourself a Sophomore in academic year 2021-22 and the IntroSems' VCA shows you in a different cohort (i.e., Frosh or Junior), please make a note of your correct cohort within your statement of interest. It is not possible to change the cohort field in the IntroSems' VCA, but the instructor will see your note when they build their class.
IntroSems quarters and schedules subject to change--check back often. Visit Re-Approaching Stanford for the latest updates on Academic Year 2021-22.
Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students
Randomness: Computational and Philosophical Approaches
Is it ever reasonable to make a decision randomly? For example, would you ever let an important choice depend on the flip of a coin? Can randomness help us answer difficult questions more accurately or more efficiently? What is randomness anyway? Can an object be random? Are there genuinely random processes in the world, and if so, how can we tell? In this seminar, we will explore these questions through the lenses of philosophy and computation. By the end of the quarter students should have an appreciation of the many roles that randomness plays in both humanities and sciences, as well as a grasp of some of the key analytical tools used to study the concept. The course will be self-contained, and no prior experience with randomness or probability is necessary.