Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Accuracy versus precision

Some (perhaps most) people confuse the definitions of accuracy and precision. They are not the same things. Apparently, this is something that statistics majors learn; I know that it is an important part of the scientific computing curriculum. Not understanding this is why many people say things like, "you can prove anything with statistics," when they should say, "you can use a large amount to seemingly precise data (the real precision of which you may be obscuring) to distract the audience from realizing that your statement is wildly inaccurate."

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