Scan statistic

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In statistics, a scan statistic or window statistic is a problem relating to the clustering of randomly positioned points. An example of a typical problem is the maximum size of a cluster of points on a line or the longest series of successes recorded by a moving window of fixed length.[1]

Joseph Naus first published on the problem in the 1960s,[2] and has been called the "father of the scan statistic" in honour of his early contributions.[3] The results can be applied in epidemiology, public health and astronomy to find unusual clusters of events.[4]

It was extended by Martin Kulldorff to multi-dimensional settings and varying window sizes in a 1997 paper,[5] which is (as of 11 October 2015) the most cited article in its journal, Communications in Statistics – Theory and Methods.[6]


  1. ^ Naus, J. I. (1982). "Approximations for Distributions of Scan Statistics". Journal of the American Statistical Association 77 (377): 177–183. doi:10.1080/01621459.1982.10477783. JSTOR 2287786. 
  2. ^ Naus, Joseph Irwin (1964). Clustering of random points in line and plane (Ph. D.). Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Wallenstein, S. (2009). "Joseph Naus: Father of the Scan Statistic". Scan Statistics. pp. 1–25. doi:10.1007/978-0-8176-4749-0_1. ISBN 978-0-8176-4748-3. 
  4. ^ Glaz, J.; Naus, J.; Wallenstein, S. (2001). "Introduction". Scan Statistics. Springer Series in Statistics. pp. 3–9. doi:10.1007/978-1-4757-3460-7_1. ISBN 978-1-4419-3167-2. 
  5. ^ Kulldorff, Martin (1997). "A spatial scan statistic" (PDF). Communications in Statistics - Theory and Methods 26 (6): 1481–1496. 
  6. ^ "Most Cited Articles". Communications in Statistics - Theory and Methods. Retrieved 11 October 2015. 

External links[edit]

  • SaTScan free software for the spatial, temporal and space-time scan statistics