Statistics with Rubber Bands and Pulleys
Professor Bill Zwicker
September 23, 1998
Bailey Hall 207
Refreshments at 3:45
Math Department Common Room
1. Perhaps you've heard of the "least squares" line that best fits some experimental data. Can we build a physical device that actually tugs a rod into the position of this line?
2. You may know that the standard deviation measures how far away the mean(average) is from the points being averaged. But why, when calculating standard deviation, do we SQUARE the distances from these points to the mean?
3. Suppose we want a version of standard deviation appropriate to the median. Should we still square those distances?
4. How do we take a mean or median when our data points are vectors rather than numbers?
5. What do rubber bands and pulleys have to do with any of this?
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