professor
Daniel Rabinowitz

May 2021

Really awful class, avoid at all costs. Unbearably boring (even for a math major like myself). The professor just read screenshots of various theorems from the textbooks the entire course. Please dont take this class unless you are required to. Professor seemed nice but didn't really care about teaching the class or the students. major F in the chat

Apr 2021

GIVE DANIEL HIS GOLD/SILVER NUGGET! DANIEL IS A STATS PROFESSOR THAT CARES DANIEL IS A STATS PROFESSOR THAT CARES DANIEL IS A STATS PROFESSOR THAT CARES DANIEL IS A STATS PROFESSOR THAT CARES DANIEL IS A STATS PROFESSOR THAT CARES This is very rare to find in the rightly meme'd stats department. Daniel was very accommodating to us during that pandemic. He graded everything on participation. I'm pretty sure all of us got a grade in the A-range. Daniel is also very invested in his students' success. I had no issues meeting with him to review the course content, via phone and zoom. He was very responsive via email and eager to help. He also scheduled office hours during the exam, which was helpful for troubleshooting issues with SAS code and clarifying exam questions. I felt very supported in tackling the course material. I can't say the same for when I took Calc-Based Stats or Wayne's Applied Statistical Computing. Grading: We had theory assignments (written homework/problem set) and computational assignments (coding homework) about every two weeks. They were graded on participation. We also had a final exam. The average was like a 70%, but since it was graded on the effort it didn't really matter as the professor basically gave us all A's. We were also required to attend small group sessions. These were the most frustrating part of the course, as they sometimes went overtime, though they did help me to develop the intuition to know which regression methods were best suited for certain problems and what conditions were necessary for inference on regression methods to be valid. We were expected to show up and participate as our attendance for small groups contributed to our final grade. One student got nearly a perfect score on the final exam but never spoke in small group sessions and was given an A- instead of an A. Daniel takes these meetings very seriously. Make sure you answer questions and ask questions. Overall, I enjoyed taking this course. This taught me the basics of regression: linear, multiple, logistic, Cox proportional hazards, and random effects. I find myself using what Daniel taught in later statistics courses and quantitative political science methods courses all of the time. A job well done on Professor Rabinowitz's behalf.

Jan 2021

I have mixed feelings about this class. On one hand, Daniel cares a lot about the students and cares that they learn the material, which is really refreshing to find in a Columbia professor. On the other hand, his assignments and expectations were very vague and often were defined as good faith effort, which was stressful for me personally because I didn't know what he meant by good faith effort. I did my best on everything and ended up getting an A, so I feel like I did meet his expectations, but the stress of not knowing throughout the whole semester how I was being evaluated/if I was learning enough to do well wasn't worth it. I did learn quite a bit of SAS, which is a nice perk, but in terms of the actual content of the class, I learned less than I was expecting to. I know a bit more about stats in general, and I got to practice linear regression, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for or expecting. I'm also not a stats concentrator- I took this just to learn- so maybe that's on me. My advice to anyone who is thinking about taking this class is don't take it unless you need it for your concentration. Also please keep in mind that I took it during a zoom semester, so I'm not sure that my experience would be reflective of an in-person experience. I want to finish my review by reiterating how dedicated the professor was to the class. If you are ok with grading/expectation ambiguity and are comfortable learning a lot of concepts on your own, then this class might be good for you.

Jan 2020

I agree that Rabinowitz is not always the best explainer of things. Obviously hes really brilliant but he can't communicate concepts effectively to students because he likes to use vague hand gestures and often illegible scribbles on the chalkboard. However, he tries his best to help students like me who don't know what they are doing. He will never stop explaining things until a student finally understands it. Overall, given the awful reputation of the stat department, I'd say Rabinowitz is nevertheless one of the best. No ambiguities in grading, and if you put in work to understand the concepts, you will do well.

Oct 2019

Professor Rabinowitz is actually the best. He is the most patient Professor I have ever had at this school. He will not stop explaining a concept (in a variety of different ways) until every student in the class understands it. He is able to explain complex statistical/math concepts using every day language and examples and his examples are so crazy/unique that you will never forget them. He dedicates so much time to the class and students, typing up detailed notes for each lecture and literally answering however many emails you send with detailed answers so that you have no more doubts about the concepts. Such a kind and dedicated Professor who ACTUALLY wants you to succeed, which is an incredibly rare find at Columbia. Some complain that he is unorganized, but this is just because he will take detours from his "organized" plan when he notices that students are not understanding/following the material. A truly great Professor, take his class you will love statistics.

Jan 2018

The course was a mess. The lectures were impossible to follow. Not because of the content, but because of the sloppy presentation. It felt like Rabinowitz slapped things together last minute, like he spent only 10 minutes before class preparing for each lecture by taking screenshots of entire pages of the textbook and pasting them on the slides. During the class, it felt like he didn't care about making his lectures more presentable. He accused us of not doing any of the reading, when it was him who wasn't asking answerable questions. The homework was not anything like the lectures. The homework and lectures were not anything like the exams. During the course, I would have told you I hated it. Mostly because I was annoyed by the lack of organization and effort put in by the professor. It seemed like he did not care about the students. Because of lack of preparation, he would not lecture clearly, and to compensate or save time, he would do these atrocious things: -come up with unreasonably tedious examples on the spot -scribble instead of write on the blackboard and assume we know what should have been written there -announce formal definitions or theorems out loud but not write them down -use his hands to smear the chalk instead of using an eraser to erase the board -always re-lecture from scratch and talk about the bigger picture and dumb things down, when he could have done the first iteration of the lecture in the comfort of his own home and save everyone time. He also had to increase the lecturing time and ask if we really needed a break...uhh...it's a 3-hour class...once, the 10:10 to 12:55 pm class ended at 2 pm... Review sessions and OH were all the way in the School of Social Work, a long trek from campus. A Saturday class also means we had a class over Fall Break, which ended on Friday...he actually gave a makeup lecture that was top-notch and ended more than an hour early, at around 11:45 am, probably because he had given the same lecture during the first iteration of it during Fall Break. Yet, I actually recommend it. Studying for the exams felt fun. They concisely put together the most important concepts of the semester. Till this day, I still remember those main concepts, and I am glad to have taken the course. Among the 4001 Prob Stats professors, Rabinowitz may be the best choice.

Jan 2018

He can't teach, he can't be bothered posting accurate, up-to-date homework assignments on time. His practice exams do resemble the actual exams, and are extremely important to doing well in the class, but good luck understanding his badly written (often massively incorrect) solutions until the review session, which he likes to schedule a few days prior to his exams. Other reviewers have written that doing the homework is important to doing well in the course. I disagree. Just study the solutions to practice exams in the 24-72 hours that he gives you to do so. Good luck if you have back to back exams in that time window. Overall, he's a typically incompetent stats instructor, and like most of his ilk, will continue to bring pain, misery, and hatred of stats to students the world over.

Apr 2016

Professor Rabinowitz is a very nice professor. However, in class, he is extremely unorganized and he is not the best at explaining concepts. There were many times when he would try to explain a concept again only for the MA students (and handful of undergrads) to stare blankly back at him. Furthermore, his homeworks were very confusing. He would constantly have to update the problems because they were not clear. They were also quite challenging and required going to office hours to understand how to solve the problems (even the TAs did not understand sometimes). Despite these failings, though, Dan really does make an effort. He really cares about the students and holds lots of office hours to help students. During reading week, he held at least three final review sessions, each of which were a few hours long. I think that he doesn't usually teach Data Mining, hence his inexperience. However, if you seek help, Dan will go the extra mile to help you out. It's not likely that Dan will teach Data Mining any time soon again, but in case he does, I suggest taking advantage of office hours, since Dan is very helpful then. Also, there is a huge overlap with Statistical Machine Learning in terms of content.

Nov 2014

Rabinowitz is a great professor. He does tend to drift a little during class, which can be frustrating, especially if you're worried about your grade. However, his exam scheme was very fair and the scores fit the curve well. The best thing about his teaching is that he makes the material very interesting. He contextualizes the mathematical side of statistics with phenomena from the world, often getting a bit philosophical. This isn't an easy class as in introduction to stats, so if that's what you're looking for, look elsewhere. You will, however, learn a lot if you take Rabinowitz's class.

May 2014

A rare and exceptional professor. I have never seen a professor work so hard and care so much for his students. He provided every imaginable resource, including optional weekly session to learn SAS and he wrote up complete packets detailing exactly what we would need to know for each exam. He was always quick to respond to email and in the online class discussion with a detailed answer. I am reluctant to write here the extent to which he modified the course to accommodate the requests of students, because it would be a shame to see people taking advantage of this guy. But I will say that everything but a short quiz and 2 exams is optional, and he does everything imaginable to make sure you get a good grade if you want it. The structure of the course treats the student with a lot of respect - you have all the resources you could want to learn as much as you like, but in terms of the grade you are only accountable for understanding the material on the exams. The downside to this is that when you are overwhelmed with the daily nonsense of other courses (I'm looking at you Core) , it is easy let all the great and important optional stuff slide. Even though its optional, it would behoove you to at least try the homework. Also, a lot of the final exam preparation boiled down to figuring out what sly little algebra trick was used in a step of a proof: This is a curious exercise, but it became a viscous time suck that had little to do with the substance of the proof, its meaning or application. Not difficult, just tedious. I gather it was the first time he attempted this format, so perhaps it will be less of a problem for the next batch. Rabinowitz doesn't merely lecture, he communicates. In my experience here, this is unusual for a math or science professor. As a math major, I've had many brilliant professors, but most of them simply recite the material, and make the students into passive observers taking dictation. Rabinowitz would regularly check in with us, engage us in little experiments, make up interesting stories and examples to summon our attention in the dry spots. Most importantly, he was always sensitive to when something might not be clear, and always ready to patiently explore different ways of trying to get the idea across. He seemed personally devastated when he saw people uninterested or not following, and I found this inspired in me to be less apathetic and stupid. The material itself is important and fascinating (I think). The course is theory heavy, but he spent a good amount of time on examples and more practical matters. His exams were almost entirely theory, but it is beautiful theory. I got the impression that he was trying to drive it more towards applications in the final weeks, and might place more emphasis on applications in future iterations of the course. I've heard nightmares about the stat department, but this course was a gem, and I'm now doing more probability theory and statistics specifically because of my experience here. So- great guy, brilliant teacher, interesting and useful course.

Jan 2008

Rabinowitz seemed bored out of his mind teaching our class. He put no effort into teaching it and was then frustrated that we didn't all understand everything. His tests in no way reflect the study guides or homework materials. There isn't much due for this class, but it is essentially self taught. It really makes me wonder why I'm paying so much tuition. I would strongly recommend taking this class from someone else.

Dec 2007

Rabinowitz is an excellent professor and somewhat of an easy grader. I felt like I should have gotten a lower grade than what he assigned me; however, I certainly put the time in. The stuff he teaches is hard to grasp and I think he assumes we know more than we really do with regards to linear algebra. I struggled, learned a lot, and feel like I should know more. Some of the concepts he goes into aren't really mentioned in the book. There's somewhat of a disconnect from what he says in class and what he assigns in the book. What he assigns for homework is considerably easier to digest than what he goes over in class and can possibly assign on the exams. Don't get too panicked when he talks about stuff you don't get in class. The best way to deal with his class is to read and re-read the material in the book before you show up to class. Then it makes some sense, but he still can go off on tangents that are very difficult to follow unless you have some serious background in math.

Jun 2006

Prof. Rabinowitz is a real sweetheart, you will like him as a person tremendously. He replies to emails at all times of the day, so he is definitely accessible. However, the word around the Stats department is that he's not the most organized lecturer (in the sense that he may not know what to emphasize and what he should cut out), and gives unbalanced exams. I think what would help him/his students out is if he did more concrete examples in class, especially for stat inference. Like, this is how you push through the calculus of this problem, step-by-step. For the foundation courses (probability and inference) I would look to maybe 4109, which is harder and combines both in one semester, but it would be worth it.

May 2006

There is a reason that Prof. Dan Rabinowitz is the chair of the Stats department. He is amazing! He's great at explaining complex theories, using everyday common analogies to convey his points. However, the material is hard! He assigns homework to help you with the theories, but the great thing is that poor homework (or no homework at all) does not affect your grade. BUT I URGE YOU TO DO THE HOMEWORK OR YOU WILL BE LOST!

Apr 2006

Professor Rabinowitz clearly understands what he is talking about. But unfortunately, that doesn't mean you will. He's a very, very nice guy, but his being nice (a) does not mean he can teach, and (b) does not justify one's taking his course. In fact, I would advise avoiding his Stat Inference course at all costs. The thing about Dan is that, unlike any normal stat/math professor, he seems to believe in the power of abstract explanations wholly divorced from concrete examples - which is really quite useful in an APPLIED field. This is the first and only class that has made me ashamed to be a student at Columbia. Save yourself a few credits and read http://www-stat.wharton.upenn.edu/~dsmall/stat512-s05/ .

Dec 2005

I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised by this course and this professor. I was taking this class pass/fail, and so did not consistently turn in my homework, but nonetheless did extremely well on the exams. Seriously, I would want to take any class with this man. He has so much heart, and is engaging, and really explains concepts very clearly to non-statistics majors/students like myself. He also spends an extraordinary amount of time personally addressing student's questions via emails, office hours, etc and is highly involved with the class. He prepares you for the exams with practice exams that he goes over in detail, so that you will know how to answer every question on the exam. I highly recommend this professor and this course.

Jan 2004

I second the previous positive reviews about D. Rabinowitz. If you had to choose between 2 or more sections of the same course, pick Rabinowitz. American/English-speaker, good at explaining concepts and generous with his time for additional office hours. He also has the 2 TAs schedule additional and evening Office hours. Must do all Homeworks or you'll get lost in the theory.

Jan 2004

Great teacher! He explains everything well in fluent English (a plus for any statistics course), and he cares. He is readily available for any extra help you might need. However, there is homework due every class. They don't count for much, but if you do bad on the exams they will help you. The class is 6 points so you already know that you have to commit extra time to it. Don't expect a curve because the grad students do ruin it by getting perfect scores. The class is 3 hours long, but he usually lets you out around 8.

Jan 2000

A difficult 6 point class for the unprepared and unmotivated. If you don't do the homeworks, you will ultimately fail the class. And homework is due each class session. Professor Rabinowitz speaks fluent English, a treat for any Statistics major. However, be aware that the material covered is extremely difficult, and the textbook is not easy to read. Also, the grad students will ruin the curve with perfect scores. The professor is quite reasonable and paces the class accordingly. Prior to each exam, the professor will hold a two hour review session covering the material from the practice exam. If you can do the practice exam, the exam is a piece of cake. The exams are all open book & open note and allow a calculator. If you work hard to the end, you will have earned that A.