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Introduction to Little Data

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Statistical Design and Analysis of Experiments

Before there was big data, little data was important. When data is precious, how should it be treated? How do you design tests to ensure that you learn the most for the cost?

This short course serves as an introduction to a statistical approach to the design and analysis of experiments in science, engineering, and data-driven decision making. The course will examine how to systematically design experiments and analyze the data they yield. The basis for comparing results and assigning significance to the variation in the responses that are measured is developed. Various experimental designs are discussed and their respective differences, advantages, and disadvantages are noted. In particular, factorial and fractional factorial designs are discussed in greater detail. These are designs in which two or more factors are varied simultaneously, in order to efficiently span the combinations of factors that affect the responses.

This course will be elementary in terms of mathematics. The course includes a review of the introductory probability and statistics background necessary for conducting and analyzing experiments. With this background, we first discuss the logic of hypothesis testing and, in particular, the statistical techniques generally referred to as Analysis of Variance. An overview of software packages is provided, including Microsoft Excel, JMP, and other more specialized packages.

Throughout the course we emphasize applications, using real examples ranging from manufacturing to digital marketing. All participants receive a copy of lecture notes and examples.

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About the instructors

James K. Ferri is Professor of Chemical and Life Science Engineering (CLSE) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia. James came to VCU CLSE from Lafayette College, where he was the James T. Marcus '50 Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. At Lafayette, he served as the Department Head of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, the Robert Adenbaum '49 Director of the IDEAL Center for Innovation, and the Dean of Curriculum and Resources. His research focuses on the stability of disperse systems, smart nanomaterials, interfacial phenomena, and additive manufacturing. He received his BS and PhD both in Chemical Engineering from Johns Hopkins in 1995 and 2000.

A surfer-turned-scientist, Dr. Tyler McQuade studied organic chemistry at UC Irvine, UW Madison and MIT. He learned the principles of chemical engineering during his 14 years in academics in the U.S., Switzerland, and Germany, and as a Program Manager, Deputy Director and Acting Director of the Defense Science Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). While at DARPA, Dr. McQuade led a wide variety of research programs ranging from algae farms to produce biofuels, mobile systems that could rapidly destroy chemical warfare agents, and machines that automated chemical synthesis. McQuade joined the CLSE Department in November 2017 as a principle in the Medicines for All Institute. McQuade started the Medicines for All effort with Professor Frank Gupton in 2009. The Institute seeks to define low cost medicine manufacturing processes for critical medicines. McQuade's research interests are at the intersection of chemical engineering and chemistry - reaction mechanisms, continuous manufacturing, new reaction development, development of new materials chemistry and catalysis.

What to expect

The registration fee includes instruction, all necessary materials, parking on the VCU campus, a snack break and meal each session, and a Certificate of Completion. There is an optional fee of $30 to receive the 1.20 CEUs.

Ask about our VCU Alumni discount!

Who should attend

This course is perfect for entry-level scientists, engineers, and business managers of all types, and are appropriate as on-boarding for new employees to better understand the quantitative approach to understanding experimental systems and complex data sets. No previous training in probability and statistics is required, but a basic understanding of high school mathematics is anticipated.

Cancellation and Refund Policies

You may cancel your registration up until 7 days prior to the course start date, and receive a full refund minus any credit card processing fees. Cancellations must be received via email at ocpe@vcu.edu. In the unlikely event that this program is cancelled or postponed due to insufficient enrollments or unforeseen circumstances, the university will fully refund registration fees, but cannot be held responsible for any other expenses, including change or cancellation charges to include but not limited to airlines, hotels, travel agencies, or other organizations.

Want to find out more? Get in touch.