Portal:Statistics

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Statistics is a mathematical science pertaining to the collection, analysis, interpretation or explanation, and presentation of data. It is applicable to a wide variety of academic disciplines, from the natural and social sciences to the humanities, government and business.

Statistical methods are used to summarize and describe a collection of data; this is called descriptive statistics. In addition, patterns in the data may be modeled in a way that accounts for randomness and uncertainty in the observations, and then used to draw inferences about the process or population being studied; this is called inferential statistics.

Statistics arose no later than the 18th century from the need of states to collect data on their people and economies, in order to administer them. The meaning broadened in the early 19th century to include the collection and analysis of data in general.

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A chimpanzee and a typewriter
A chimpanzee and a typewriter

The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.

In this context, "almost surely" is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the "monkey" is not an actual monkey; rather, it is a metaphor for an abstract device that produces a random sequence of letters ad infinitum. The theorem illustrates the perils of reasoning about infinity by imagining a vast but finite number, and vice versa. The probability of a monkey typing a given string of text exactly, as long as, for example, Shakespeare's Hamlet, is so tiny that, were the experiment conducted, the chance of it actually occurring during a span of time of the order of the age of the universe is minuscule but not zero.

In 2003, an experiment was performed with six Celebes Crested Macaques, but their literary contribution was five pages consisting largely of the letter 'S'.

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Florence Nightingale 1920 reproduction.jpg
Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale, (1820 – 1910) was a pioneering nurse, writer and noted statistician. She became a pioneer in the visual presentation of information using statistical graphics such as pie charts and polar area diagrams. In her later life she made a comprehensive statistical study of sanitation in Indian rural life. In 1859 Nightingale was elected the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society and she later became an honorary member of the American Statistical Association.

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The Statistics WikiProject is the center for improving statistics articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks.

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Scatterplot of Old Faithful eruptions
Credit: Maksim

A scatter plot is a type of mathematical diagram using Cartesian coordinates to display values for two variables for a set of data. The data is displayed as a collection of points, each having the value of one variable determining the position on the horizontal axis and the value of the other variable determining the position on the vertical axis. A scatter plot is also called a scatter chart, scatter diagram and scatter graph. This scatter plot shows the relationship between time between eruptions and the duration of the eruption for the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA. This chart suggests there are generally two "types" of eruptions: short-wait-short-duration, and long-wait-long-duration.

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