Math and Science

The Course Catalog includes course descriptions of all courses offered by the Undergraduate School at Babson College. For descriptions of the courses offered in the current or upcoming semesters, please see the Course Listing.

Math and Science



QTM3635: Quantitative Methods for Machine Learning 4 Advanced Liberal Arts Credits The ease of data collection coupled with plummeting data storage costs over the last decades have resulted in massive amounts of data that many business organizations have at their fingertips. The variety of the data runs the complete gamut from structured numerical data (not so long ago the major type of data) to unstructured text or network data. Effective analysis of those data followed by sound decision-making is what makes a company an analytical competitor. This course is dedicated to learning and applying advanced data mining tools for the mining of data that are a) unstructured and include text data as well as network data; and b) are numeric. Roughly, the first half of the course will impart tools for working with unstructured data, while the second half will build on analytical tools learned during QTM 2000 (Case Studies in Business Analytics) course, introducing advanced tools ranging from random forests to artificial neural networks. Each topic covered in this course will be discussed in the context of wide-ranging real-world applications such as identifying innovation from unstructured patent text, determining descriptive topics in social media posts, finding communities in one's social network, and classifying the severity of traffic accidents. The implementation of the introduced topics will be carried out in R/RStudio giving students the opportunity to improve their coding skills. Prerequisite: QTM2000 (Case Studies in Business Analytics)

4 credits



QTM3674 Cryptology/Coding/Theory 4 credits (Advanced Liberal Arts) Cryptology includes the study of both cryptography, the science of developing _secret codes_ or ciphers for secure and confidential communication, and cryptanalysis, the breaking of ciphers. Coding theory consists of mathematical techniques for detecting and correcting errors that occur during data transmission. These topics are critical to secure and reliable information exchange, with applications ranging from e-commerce to the transmission of photographs from deep-space to military operations. Through this exploration into the technical, social, and historical aspects of cryptology and coding theory, students will learn and extensively use basic concepts from number theory, finite field and ring theory, matrix algebra, and the software package GAP. Highlighted topics include the RSA cryptosystem, digital signatures, DES, linear and cyclic codes, and the coding theory based McEliece cryptosystem. This course is suitable for students with one year of university-level mathematics, or the equivalent; it should also be interesting for upperclassman from a variety of majors. Prerequisite: QTM1000

4 credits



QTM3675 Probability for Risk Management The fundamental objective of this course is to prepare students for the successful completion of the first level probability examination (Exam P) of the Society of Actuaries. While the necessary theory is addressed, this course focuses on problem solving, so it is well suited for any student with an interest in applied probability concepts and how they are related to a wide variety of situations within and beyond actuarial science, finance, and economics. Topics include general probability and univariate and multivariate probability distributions. Prerequisites: QTM1010

4 credits



SCN3605: Scientific Perspectives of Global Pandemics
4 advanced liberal arts credits

In mid-December 2019, a cluster of about 20 patients presented to a hospital in Wuhan, China with a 'mystery illness' described as severe pneumonia of unknown cause. This marked the start of an unexpected and life-changing year for people around the Globe. At the end of January, 2020 the World Health Organization called the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak a public health crisis of international concern. By March it was declared a global pandemic. With an estimated 110M cases and 2.3M deaths worldwide, COVID19 is clearly the most important health challenge we have faced in the 21st century. The overarching goal of this course is to explore the science behind pandemics, using COIVD19 as a paradigm to explore the scientific, cultural, economic and political perspectives brought about by global health crises. Students will explore the science of infection and the spread of infectious diseases, identifying their causes, how they spread, how they are diagnosed and how they are treated, and learn about current approaches to treatment and vaccinations. We will evaluate the challenges that emerging epidemics, re-emerging diseases and bacterial resistance pose to global health security. We will carefully analyze the difficulties faced in managing and mitigating the spread of infectious disease to help prevent and inform handling of future pandemics. We will explore and understand the critical role that science, innovation and collaboration has played in the efforts to contain the spread, develop therapies to treat infected people and design safe and effective vaccines, all with the goal of bringing the pandemic to an end. We will identify the weaknesses that COVID19 has highlighted in virtually every aspect of our society, and explore the racial and ethnic disparities that have been emphasized by it. As this pandemic continues to unfold, we will apply knowledge to evaluate problems and solutions presented in real time. Our approach to decision making in the migration of this and future pandemics must be informed by science, and guided by equity to be successful and emerge from it.

Prerequisites: NST1 Course

4 credits



(Advanced Lib Arts)

The study of the nature, variety and function of the fundamental types of animal behaviors. Communication, habitat selection, predation and antipredator defense, reproductive strategies, tactics and mating systems, and play and social behaviors will be compared and analyzed, and applications to human behavior will be discussed.

Prerequisite: NST10%
% - Wildcard

4 credits



SCN3635: Human Nutrition
(Previously titled Personal Nutrition)
4 credit Advanced Liberal Arts

Every day we are bombarded with information about diet and health, often confusing and contradictory. As consumers, it is difficult to separate fact from fad, truth from fiction. This course will provide a foundation in basic nutrition, including anatomy and physiology of the digestive tract and the development of disease, with the goal of applying this information to aid in making informed choices in the treatment and prevention of nutrition related disease. We will also explore how the personal actions a student can take to encourage a sustainable diet, defined as "food choices that maximize personal health while minimizing the impact on the environment.

Prerequisites: NST10%

4 credits



SCN3640 SCIENCE AND INNOVATION 4 credit (Advanced Liberal Arts) An examination of the concepts, principles and policies related to research and development activities with examples from the history of the subject from its Greek beginnings to modern times. Successful and failed R&D projects from multiple disciplines will be explored as a driving force for innovation. The complex relationships that the scientific and engineering enterprises have to the innovation process will be examined with respect society, industry, and political motivations. Prerequisite: N10%% %%=wildcard

4 credits



SCN3660 Human Health and Disease 4 credit liberal arts This class explores human health and disease. We identify the biological roots of infection, exploring advances in medicine and related disciplines. We analyze all facets of risk - from genetics to lifestyle - proceeding topically through major threats to human longevity and quality of life. Topics include the latest understanding of chronic illness - cancer, stroke, heart disease - that account for most premature mortality in the developed world. We will examine strategies to protect our health and to ameliorate some of the consequences of aging; we will investigate new challenges, such as emerging infections and eating disorders. Psychological aspects of wellness are discussed as well. Prerequisite: Foundation Science

4 credits



SCN3665 Global Climate Change 4 credit advanced liberal arts Global climate change is one of the most contentious, yet critically important issues facing the world today. However, the science behind climate patterns and the influence of human actions on global climate are not always well understood. This course is designed to investigate scientific knowledge and uncertainty regarding past, present and future changes in the earth's climate, and how scientists study and predict patterns of climate change. We will investigate the known relationships between the earth's atmosphere and global climate, historic patterns of climate change, recent observations of changes in global climatic conditions, how scientists develop models and conduct experiments to predict future change, and the myriad of predicted ecological, economic and societal shifts that may occur. Finally, we will discuss options to mitigate climate change impacts, public perception and media portrails of climate change, and ethical considerations related to climate change. Prerequisite: Foundation Science

4 credits



SCN3689: Crime Science
4 advanced liberal arts credits

This course examines the role that the modern natural sciences play in analyzing physical evidence collected at a crime scene. It begins by defining forensic science and understanding why the government has placed special qualifiers on scientific expert witnesses and their testimony. Students will survey the sciences used in a modern crime lab to understand the principles behind the analyses. Historical and current crimes and their trials as well as a mock crime scene will highlight lecture material. Disciplines that will be covered include Toxicology, Controlled Substances, Arson, DNA, Blood Splatter, Friction Ridge, Ballistics, and Crime Scene Processing.

Prerequisites: NST1

4 credits