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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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Normal Distribution PDF.svg
Normal distribution probability density functions

The normal distribution or Gaussian distribution is a continuous probability distribution that describes data that clusters around a mean or average. The graph of the associated probability density function is bell-shaped, with a peak at the mean, and is known as the Gaussian function or bell curve.

The normal distribution can be used to describe, at least approximately, any variable that tends to cluster around the mean. For example, the heights of adult males in the United States are roughly normally distributed, with a mean of about 70 inches.


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William Edwards Deming
William Edwards Deming

William Edwards Deming (October 14, 1900—December 20, 1993) was an American statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and consultant. Deming is widely credited with improving production in the United States during World War II, although he is perhaps best known for his work in Japan. There, from 1950 onward he taught top management how to improve design (and thus service), product quality, testing and sales (the last through global markets). Deming made a significant contribution to Japan's later renown for innovative high-quality products and its economic power. He is regarded as having had more impact upon Japanese manufacturing and business than any other individual not of Japanese heritage. Despite some considering him somewhat of a hero in Japan, he was only beginning to win widespread recognition in the U.S. at the time of his death.


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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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