November 15, 2013

Sigman, Karl Silver_nugget
[IEOR E4404] Simulation and IEOR 4106

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

I have to say, CULPA completely let me down on this one, as I was completely disappointed with this instructor. Some people might say he's a nice guy, but it was obvious that he really didn't care about teaching either of these classes, and for that reason this class was a major disappointment. While his typed lecture notes were excellent, this is not an adequate substitute for lecturing.

Lectures generally started 10 minutes after the scheduled start time and ended at least 20 minutes early. I think there was one lecture the entire semester that ended at the scheduled finish time. There were several lectures that ended after as little as fifteen minutes, which seemed like a complete joke. If I'm going to go through the trouble of making the trip to lecture, I prefer to sit there for a full-length 75 minutes. I really don't feel like I learned much at all in these classes, and the level of detail was very shallow. I know we could've covered so much more if he were motivated to teach these courses, which is a shame because I could tell that there is so much interesting material in these subjects.

Homework assignments were generally rather simplistic and formulaic, with an occasional tricky one. That being said, if you didn't know how to do them, you really could just go to recitation and the TA did all the problems. The exams were in a similar fashion, with relatively few questions. The great majority of the questions were very straightforward, and there were a couple tricky ones that basically set the curve for the class. Partial credit was minimal to none, and most students disputed their grades after receiving their returned exams. Because the regrade process was completely unregulated, the success of these disputes seemed to be a function of how persistent you were and whether you had any mutual friends with the TA who graded the problem. In my own experience, there was a time that I only received points back for a problem after asking the TA twice.

The fact that the exams were open notes also seemed to give many people an unfair advantage, as some people had resources that professor probably didn't expect people to have. There were also a couple questions on the exams that were literally copied from the homework or the notes, and this seemed really stupid and pointless for an open note exam.

Despite the fact that the courses covered very little material and the exams were very straightforward, that didn't mean it was easy to get a good grade. The amount of cheating in these classes was basically insanity, and it was obvious to everyone in the class. Therefore, the averages were very high and the curve was rather harsh. For example, my average in simulation was a 90% for the semester, and I received an A-. Seeing as there were such few questions on the exams and the exams were so heavily weighted, this meant that the grading system was very unforgiving.

TL;DR These classes are simplistic in the material covered and and you probably won't learn very much. That being said, there's a good chance you won't get a great grade either.

Workload:

Simulation:
15% Homework Assignments
40% Midterm Exam
45% Final Exam

Stochastic Models:
10% Homework Assignments
45% Midterm Exam
45% Final Exam

December 27, 2010

Sigman, Karl Silver_nugget
IEOR 4106

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Karl Sigman is one of the best professors in the IEOR department. As an undergraduate doing 4106, I was initially apprehensive about the workload and difficulty of the material, but Sigman allayed those fears pretty early on. He is a great instructor, very crisp, very organized, and knows his stuff very well. His assignments are fairly straightforward, and definitely help reinforce concepts learnt in class. He posts notes about stuff he does in class, so you really don't need to write down everything he says. Just follow what he teaches in class, and read the notes before his exams. The midterm is slightly long, but fair, and the final is pretty straightforward as well, provided you know the concepts. A weakness of the course is the fact that he doesn't hold regular office hours, but it's pretty easy to schedule an appointment with him, so I've heard. Another positive: He never started class before 4:15 (class was meant to start at 4:10), and never ends it after 5:15. So it's material in just the right doses, and with his teaching style, is pretty enjoyable as well. All in all: great chap, interesting material, not too hard either

Workload:

Weekly assignments (all less than 2-2.5 hours long). One midterm, one Final. Both exams are open book. For an upper level IEOR course, workload is not bad at all.

May 13, 2007

Whitt, Ward
IEOR 4106

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

A decent class. The course covers discrete / continuous Markov chains, Poisson / exponential processes, renewal theory and some Brownian motion. You learn a considerable amount and Whitt emphasizes problem solving techniques.
As for his lectures, they aren't required to do well in class as he posts notes online. He tends to be kooky (zany mad-scientist laughs) and can linger on irrelevant topics. A huge plus is that his speech is very understandable; also, he seems very willing and able to answer questions.

Workload:

Not bad. Easy homeworks with answers provided each recitation. Straightforward exams with prior years posted. Extra credit too.

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