hope college > academic departments > math > Elliot Tanis    

Home <
Textbooks <
Cover image <
Maple materials <
Papers Given <
Statistics at Hope, 1964-- <
Escher Material <
Curriculum Vitae <
Personal Information <

These scanned papers, historical information,
and other materials illustrate changes in
technology that have affected the teaching
of statistics at Hope College, 1964 -- . They
also include a variety of papers and talks.

A summary of this material is given in this PowerPoint presentation. (History ppt)

Locations of places where some of these presentations were given are shown in this PowerPoint presentation. (Maps.ppt)

This PowerPoint presentation illustrates how graphics has changed over the years. (CLT-graphics.ppt)

In 1964 discussions were underway to provide electronic desk calculators and a high speed computer for instructional purposes.

A calculator laboratory was set up in 1967 with IME Electronic Calculators. (ime-calculator-purchase)

A news release invited the public to see our calculator lab. (News 1968)

An IBM 1130 computer was also purchased. The first few papers listed were made possible by doing simulations on the IBM 1130. I used the IBM 1130 computer for a project with Deana Gross Snyder to illustrate the Central Limit Theorem empirically. We would go into the computer center (one room in the basement of VanderWerf) and turn on the computer and have the entire computing resources of the college at our disposal. A BIG problem was that we were using a pseudo random number generator based on the multiplicative congruential method. For the IBM 1130 computer we were able to generate only 8,192 “random numbers” before it repeated. Furthermore successive pairs of random numbers would all lie on at most 256 parallel lines. Later we were able to illustrate this using the calcomp plotter. Dr. Herb Dershem and I worked on modifying this generator to get more random numbers. (IBM 1130)

“An Experimental Approach to the Central Limit Theorem” presented by Deanna Gross (Snyder) at the Annual Spring Meeting of the Michigan Section of the Mathematical Association of America, March, 1969. (clt-deanna-1969)
“The Central Limit Theorem and Mixed Distributions,” by Deanna Gross Snyder, Patricia Lang, and Elliot Tanis, May, 1969. (clt-mixed dist)

“Random Number Generators and Statistical Distribution Theory,” with Joyce Newell and Henry Diggelmann in 1970.(rng jn hd)

The NSF project on “Instructional Use of Computers in Statistics” was part of a larger project headed by the University of North Carolina. A number of colleges and universities throughout the country participated. This project took Dr. Jay Folkert to Chapel Hill, NC, for a two-week workshop in June, 1969 and a one-week workshop in June, 1970.

1970 – Dr. Herb Dershem and Dr. Elliot Tanis submitted a proposal to NSF, “Introduction of the Computer in the Statistics Curriculum,” that was approved for $46,000. It provided support for one academic year and three summers. (June 1, 1971 – August 31, 1973.)

1970-71 – The two semester sequence "Applied Statistics and Computer Programming I and II" was offered. The programming language was FORTRAN.

1970-71 – Mathematical Statistics and Probability was expanded to include laboratory periods.

 “Theory of Probability and Statistics Illustrated by the Computer,” at the GLCA Computing Symposium at Wabash University, March 7-8, 1972.(Wabash-1972)

June, 1972 – Roger Crisman, Richard Meyers, and Gail Ringsmith presented papers at CCUC in Atlanta. Herb presented “A Course in Computing and Statistics for Social Science Students.” Elliot presented “Theory of Probability and Statistics Illustrated by the Computer,” Proceedings of the 1972 Conference on Computers in the Undergraduate Curricula, June, 1972, pp. 513-520. (ccuc3 1972)

August 14-18, 1972 – Herb and Elliot held a conference on our campus for 52 college and university professors reporting on our NSF grant. (Conference 1972)

August, 1972 – Elliot published (in house) a “Laboratory Manual for Mathematical Probability and Statistics.” Students who worked on this project were Lynn Klaasen Hillegonds, Tim Hillegonds, Richard Pohl, Glenn Weener, Roger Crisman, Richard Myers, and Gail Ringsmith. These materials were all written in FORTRAN. (lab manual 1972)

“A Card Matching Problem,” The Mathematical Log, December, 1972. (ACardMatchingProblem-1972)

“A Computer Laboratory for Mathematical Probability and Statistics,” Proceedings of a Fourth Conference on Computers in the Undergraduate Curricula, June, 1973, pp. 513-520. (ccuc4 1973)

September, 1973, The Xerox Sigma 6 computer was purchased. This was a much larger and more powerful computer. We still submitted our programs with a deck of punch cards. Later we used teletype terminals that could type 10 cps.

"Mathematical Probability and Statistics Computer Laboratory" was presented at the First British Conference on Computers in Higher Education, University of Lancaster, England, April, 1974, and published in The International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, pp. 717-722. (Int J 1974)

"Some Non-Intuitive Probabilities" was given for the Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics in October, 1974, and includes some teletype output. (non-intuitive 1974)

“Shortest Confidence Interval for the Standard Deviation of a Normal Distribution” was published by Roger Crisman in the Journal of Undergraduate Mathematics, 1975, pp. 57-62. (crisman 1975)

"Computer-Based Laboratory for Mathematical Statistics and Probability," NATO Advanced Study Institute on Computer-Based Science Instruction, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, July, 1976. (nato asi 1976)

Fall, 1976 - We dropped Math 215, 216 – Applied Statistics and Computer Programming I and II.

During the summer of 1976 John Shaughnessy, John Whittle and I developed material for a computer based laboratory (Math 212) for Introductory Statistics, a one credit optional lab for students who were taking or had taken Math 210. The material included instructions for the Card Punch (keypunch-1976). It also included instructions for developing a program deck of cards (carddeck-1976). This lab was taught beginning in the fall, 1976. Here is some information about the lab. (lab-1976)

"A Computer-Based Laboratory for Mathematical Statistics and Probability" was presented at a special session "Using the computer in teaching undergraduate mathematics courses" at the annual meeting of the American Mathematical Society in St. Louis, January 29, 1977. (AMS St Louis 1977)

“A Computer-Based Laboratory for Mathematical Statistics and Probability,” Proceedings of an Eighth Conference on Computers in the Undergraduate Curricula, June, 1977, pp. 339-346. Teletypes can be used to solve exercises. (ccuc-8 1977)

“Distribution Theory Illustrated Empirically at the Annual Meeting of the American Statistical Association, Chicago, IL, August, 1977. (asa 1977)

Here is a history leading up to the publication of the first edition of Probability and Statistical Inference with Dr. Robert V. Hogg in 1977. (History 1977)

“Concepts in Probability and Statistics Illustrated With the Computer,” Michigan Association of Computer Users for Learning Journal, Fall, 1978, pp. 6-17.(macul-1978)

1978 – Elliot had published by CONDUIT (Iowa City): “Laboratory Manual for Probability and Statistical Inference.” Herb Dershem played a significant role in the development of these materials. The typing of the final manuscript was efficiently done by Mary DeYoung and Kay Bouwman. At least 15 students played significant roles in the development of these materials. Hope provided support throught the Den Uyl Award and a Wilson Faculty Development Grant. (CONDUIT: Computers at Oregon State University, North Carolina Educational Computing Service, Dartmouth College, and the Universities of Iowa and Texas.) (lab manual 1978)

The Tektronix 4051 was purchased in 1978. This computer and plotter made it possible to construct accurate graphs for textbook illustrations. It also opened the door for several students to write programs in BASIC to simulate some of the graphic works of M. C. Escher. (Tektronix 4051)

"Gambling, Expected Loss, and Expected Number of Plays to Lose $100" was given for the Noon Kiwanis Club, August, 1979. (Gambling 1979)

“Simulations in the Game of Craps,” Creative Computing, September, 1979, pp. 140-141. (craps-1979)

"An Instructional Computer-Based Package for Probability and Statistics," The American Statistician, November, 1979, pp. 224-225, lists some of the main frame computers on which our package could be run. (Amer Stat 1979)

1979-81 – Received an NSF grant for $20,630 for “A Microcomputer Laboratory for Use in Teaching Statistics.”

TRS-80 Computers (TRS-80) were purchased in 1979. Some illustrations of the graphics that we could do on this computer are illustrated is some of the following papers. (trs80-purchase-1979)

“Probability of Being a Loser,” Pi Mu Epsilon Journal, Spring, 1980, pp. 107-114. (prob loser – 1979) Here is a scan of the paper in the journal.(Pi Mu Epsilon 1980)

Spring, 1980 – Developed and offered the course “Statistics for Scientists” under the CAUSE grant.

I received a grant from Hope College to translate our FORTRAN programs into BASIC for the TRS-80 Radio Shack Computer in order to take advantage of the better graphics. (Summer 1980)

A Poster, "The Use of Microcomputers for Understanding Concepts in Probability and Statistics" was presented at the First International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS I) in Sheffield, England, August, 1982. An abstract and a copy of the poster are given, showing TRS-80 graphics. (ICOTS I 1982) (ICOTS-I-1982)

"Using Microcomputers to Illustrate Concepts in Probability and Statistics," Annual Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America in Denver, January, 1983. (maa 1983)

August, 1983: Tom Ten Hoeve III presented “Exploratory Data Analysis Using Microcomputers” at the national Pi Mu Epsilon meeting.

Summer, 1984 – Joyce Chandler worked on “Data Analysis and Statistical Inference for Data Taken on Pregnant Women Observations.” She was supported by a Shell grant.

“Using Microcomputers in the Teaching of  Probability and Statistics,” at a Conference on Microcomputers in Statistics sponsored by the Delaware Chapter of the American Statistical Association, University of Delaware, April, 1984 (abstract) and at a conference honoring Robert V. Hogg at the University of Iowa, October, 1984 (includes TRS-80 graphics). (Delaware 1984) (trs80-hogg-1984)

“A Computer-Based Laboratory for Introductory Statistics” at the Annual Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America, Anaheim, CA, January, 1985. (acbl-1985-trs80) (maa-1985-trs80)

“Birthday Problem and Expected Values,” Teaching Statistics, January, 1985, pp. 21-25. (birth prob-1985-trs80)

Summer, 1985 – David Kraay worked on the “Translation and Adaptation of Statistics Programs to the IBM-PC.” (Supervised by Elliot.)

January, 1986 – We have laboratory materials for Math 212, a laboratory for Introductory Statistics, using IBM PCs and BASIC. They include "Introduction to the Terminal" and SPSS line printer output. (Math 212 lab 1986)

“A Computer-Based Laboratory for Introductory Statistics,” Second International Conference on Teaching Statistics, University of Victoria. Canada, August, 1986. (icots2-1986) 

"The Answer is 1 - 1/e. What is the Question?" was published in the Spring, 1987, issue of the PI MU EPSILON JOURNAL, pp. 387-389. (PI MU EPSILON 1987)

“Computer Simulations to Motivate and/or Confirm Theoretical Concepts” at the Annual Meeting of the American Statistical Association, San Francisco, CA, August, 1987 and published in the Proceedings of the Section on Statistical Education, American Statistical Association, pp. 27-32. (asa-1987) (comp simul 1987)

"The Computer As a Tool for Helping to Solve Problems in Probability and Statistics," MAA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, January, 1991. (MAA-1991)

“Computer Simulations to Motivate Understanding,” Statistics for the Twenty First Century, MAA Notes, Number 26, pp. 217-225, 1992. (maa notes 1991)

“A Statistics Laboratory: Synergism Between Simulation and Theory” with Aric Dershem, April Lee, Alexey Stepanov, Stats, The Magazine for Students of Statistics, Fall 1992, Number 8, pp. 8-11. (stats 1992)

“When Does the T Statistic Have a t Distribution?” with Alexey Stepanov, abstract published in Abstracts of Papers Presented to the American Mathematical Society, January 1993, p. 262. (t 1993)

“Random Numbers In … Answers Out: MAPLE V Simulations” with Brian Goodman at Indiana Section MAA meeting on October 15, 1993. (rand num in – ans out 1993)

"Maple and the Computer Provide Synergism for Learning Probability and Statistics" at the Fourth International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS IV) in Marrakech, Morrocco, 1994. (ICOTS IV 1994)

"Maple and the Computer Provide Synergism for Learning Probability and Statistics" at the annual Michigan Section, MAA, meeting on May 5, 1995. (synergism 1995)

Presented a short course (with Zaven Karian), "Learning Probability and Statistics Through Explorations with Maple," at the annual ASA meeting in Orlando, FL, in August, 1995. (Orlando 1995)

Maple and the Sample Mean from the Cauchy Distribution” with John Krueger at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, San Diego, CA, January, 1997. (Cauchy-Krueger)

"Use Maple to Simulate Observations of the First m Out of n Order Statistics," Joint Mathematics Meetings, Baltimore, Maryland, January, 1998. Here is a copy of the handouts for the talk. (OS-1998) Here is the talk in html. (Baltimore-1998)

“MAPLE Integrated Into the Instruction of Probability and Statistics,” Proceedings of the Section on Statistical Computing, Joint Statistical Meetings in Dallas, Texas, August, 1998, pp. 19-24. (Abstract published in the Joint Statistical Meeting Abstracts, p. 282.) (jsa-1998)

Summer, 1998 - We developed materials for laboratories for Introductory Statistics that use Minitab on PCs. (Math 210 - Minitab - 1998)

"Using MAPLE V Release 5 To Find the Sums of Random Variables" was presented at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio, Texas, January, 1999. Here is a short handout. (SA-1999) Here is a version in html. (SanAntonio-1999)

MAPLE had a great influence on the laboratory associated with Mathematical Statistics and Probability. It made it possible to solve problems theoretically and also use simulation to confirm some theoretical results. Talks given from January, 1998 to January, 2004 illustrate Maple graphics, solutions of theoretical problems, and simulations. (Papers that use Maple.)