STOR601: Training for Research and Industry

Credits: 40

Coordinators: Rebecca Killick, Guglielmo Lulli, Jonathan Tawn, Dave Worthington

Outline: The module comprises approximately 125 contact hours and includes the following:


  • Core computing skills (e.g. local computing facilities, linux/windows).
  • Key STOR programming languages including R and C++.
  • Web design.

Scientific writing

  • LaTeX.
  • Scientific writing style (e.g. consulting report, journal article).
  • Literature searching and referencing.
  • Graphical and tabular presentation.
  • Mathematical exposition.

Presentation styles

  • How to communicate effectively, design of slides/overheads/handouts, design of posters, good and bad-habits in public speaking.
  • Beamer as a presentation package.

Scientific modelling

  • Skills for eliciting relevant background to problems through to conceptualising these in a model formulation which integrates the relevant scientific knowledge with STOR methods which capture an appropriate level of assumption. 

Problem solving workshops

  • A current open industrial problem will be presented to the students in groups which are facilitated by staff and current STOR-i students.  An outline approach or solution will be developed for presentation to the collaborator.

Topical research overview

  • Presentations on thriving research areas in STOR. Students will be expected to produce a summary and a brief literature review.

Objectives: The aims of this module are to:

  • Provide students with a range of skills which are necessary for effective research work in Statistics and Operational Research (STOR) including team-working, oral presentation, computing and programming for STOR and the preparation of written reports of various kinds. 
  • Develop experience in advanced problem solving methods for addressing inter-disciplinary problems.
  • Develop an awareness of a broader range of topical research areas within STOR and to explore a subset of these at a deeper level in preparation for their selection of a thesis area.

Learning Outcomes: On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Use the key programming languages and type-setting software required for STOR research;
  • Demonstrate appropriate report writing structure;
  • Present results appropriately in talks, posters and websites;
  • Develop effective modelling strategies and demonstrate their skills in a range of complex industrial problems;
  • Use the computer statistical package R and computer programme skills in C++ to calculate a range of statistical summaries and evaluate optimisation strategies;
  • Write and typeset mathematical reports in LaTeX;
  • Work as a team member on projects. 

In addition, students will have an awareness of a range of STOR research areas and will have demonstrated a deeper level of knowledge in a subset of these.

Core texts:

  • Chatfield C. (1988), Problem solving. Chapman and Hall, London.
  • Dalgaard P. (2002), Introductory statistics with R. Springer, New York.
  • Lamport L. (1994), LaTeX: a document preparation system. Addison Wesley.
  • Starfield, A. M. Smith, K. A. and Bleloch, A. L. (1990), How to model it: problem solving for the computer age, McGraw-Hill (New York).
  • Tufte E.R. (2001), The visual display of quantitative information. Graphics Press.

Assessment: Assessment will be through coursework (80%) and team work (20%). The coursework assessment consists of a set of exercises with one piece of assessed work under each of the following headings:

  • Design of a personal web site;
  • OR modelling through short projects and presentations;
  • Computer programming high level statistical and OR analysis;
  • Design of a poster summarising topical research area;  
  • Scientific writing project using LaTeX of topical research area;
  • Scientific project presentation using LaTeX of topical research area, oral presentation of work on scientific project;
  • Team work will be assessed by observation throughout the course of the year (e.g. via performance on problem solving days) by a number of independent observers, including industrial representatives (their views will be moderated by the course convenor).

Contact hours: There will be a mixture of lectures, workshops, computing labs and practical sessions totalling approximately 125 hours contact. In addition, private study will make up the majority of the learning hours.

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