Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit provides key tools for the statistical and numerical analysis of complex problems in physics and astrophysics. It includes a solid introduction to the R statistical programming language and contains many practical examples, mainly from cosmology and astrophysics, but extending to general physics and medicine.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) use R, interface with other scientific languages and I/O scientific data; (2) demonstrate mastery essential numerical analysis techniques in R and benefit from various packages to quickly solve numerical problems.; (3) explain basic statistical concepts (probability trees, joint probabilities, ensembles, resampling, frequentist statistics, tests, correlations, distributions, expectations, moments); (4) apply Bayesian inference to a wide range of scientific problems and master related concepts (maximum likelihood, Fisher information, Laplace approximation, Jeffreys prior); (5) demonstrate understanding of advanced inference problems and packages available to solve them; including by MCMC algorithms.; and (6) demonstrate mastery temporal and spatial statistical estimators and their Fourier space representations.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) programming assignments and (2) written assignments. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Danail Obreschkow and Aaron Robotham
Unit rules
Enrolment in in the
HON-PHYSC Physics [Honours]
or the CM015 Bachelor of Science [Frontier Physics ] and Master of Physics
or 73660 Master of Medical Physics
or the 53560 Master of Physics
and completion of the core units in the Physics major or equivalent
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.