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Sample questions

Sample question 1: Statistical knowledge

Suppose there are 15 different color crayons in a box. Each time one obtains a crayon, it is equally likely to be any of the 15 types. Compute the expected # of different colors that are obtained in a set of 5 crayons. (Hint: use indicator variables and linearity of expectation)

We enumerate the crayons from 1 to 15. Let \(X_i\) indicate when the ith crayon is among the 5 crayons selected.

\(E(X_i) =\) Pr {Probability that at least one type i crayon is in set of 5}
\(E(X_i) =\) 1 - Pr {no type i crayons in set of 5}
\(E(X_i) = 1 - \frac{14}{15}^5\ \)

Therefore, the expected # of crayons is:

\( = \sum_{i=1}^{15} E(X_i)\)
\( = 15[1 - \frac{14}{15}^5]\)
\( = 4.38\)

Sample question 2: Coding/computation

Suppose you have a dataframe, df, with the following records:

age favorite_color grade name
0 20 blue 88 Willard Morris
1 19 blue 92 Al Jennings
2 22 yellow 95 Omar Mullins
3 21 green 70 Spencer McDaniel

The dataframe is showing information about students. Write code using Python Pandas to select the rows where the students' favorite color is blue or yellow and their grade is at least 90.

Click here to view this problem in an interactive Google Colab notebook.

#Define our array of target colors

fav_color_filter = ['blue', 'yellow']

#To select rows whose column value is in an iterable array, which we defined as fav_color_filter, we can use isin

df = df.loc[df['favorite_color'].isin(fav_color_filter)]

#next, we need to filter on scores above 90. here we can use loc on our dataframe:

df = df.loc[(df['grade'] >= 90)]

#preview the dataframe


Resultant dataframe:

age favorite_color grade name
1 19 blue 92 Al Jennings
2 22 yellow 95 Omar Mullins

Click here to view this solution in an interactive Google Colab notebook.

Sample question 3: SQL/Database Querying

Suppose you are given the following table, containing information around total tonnage of trash for various landfills across various states. In other words, each row represents the total weight (in tons) of trash at a specific landfill site in a specific state.

Table: landfill_weights

landfillID weight state number_garbage_vehicles
12300 95 California 1005
12401 85 California 850
00992 105 New York 1300
00882 100 New York 1000
11100 55 Michigan 580
11201 75 Michigan 700
11207 60 Michigan 500

Using the above table, write a SQL query to return the landfill with the second highest amount of garbage (based on weight) for each state shown.

Note: You can assume each row represents a unique landfill (e.g. the weights shown are the total weights, and do not need further aggregation) and each weight happens to be unique (e.g. there are no ties).


# (3) Pull all records from our subquery below



# (1) Here, we can create a subquery to stack rank the landfills by weight

# for each given state





# (2) Using rank, we assign an integer ranking to each row,

# allowing us to see which landfills have the most garbage

# in them (and second most, etc) in each state

RANK() OVER(PARTITION BY state ORDER BY t.weight DESC) as rank_weight

FROM landfill_weights t) stg

# (4) When pulling from our sub query, we simply filter where the rank_weight = 2

# to grab landfills with the second highest amount of garbage, per the question prompt

WHERE stg.rank_weight = 2

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