Questions tagged [history]

Questions about the history of statistics.

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2
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2answers
68 views

Who “invented” the standard error of the mean?

I need the earliest available source. I already searched statistic books of Andy Field, Bortz & Schuster, Rasch & Friese, Wikipedia, Google and I asked 3 colleagues who teach statistics.
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35 views

Inventor of null hypothesis significance testing?

NHST is universally most used method of scientific inferencing. When was it first described in its current form and when was it first time used in the medical research? This info seems to be hard to ...
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what are some classic data sets, and they stories behind them that made them famous?

I'm familiar with some famous datasets and the stories behind them, but I'd love to know more. for instance: The Iris dataset - a botanician said that it is possible to differentiate between species ...
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First historical references on auto-correlation and cross-correlation

Although the origin of Pearson's correlation coefficient is well documented (see wikipedia), I have trouble to find some of the first and historical papers introducing the motivation, the benefits and ...
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43 views

what is the meaning of the word “regression” in “linear regression”? [duplicate]

I understand the algorithm of linear regression, how it works and what it accomplishes, and how to apply it in ML but what is the meaning of the word "regression" itself in that context? what's the ...
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3answers
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Why do we use the Greek letter μ (Mu) to denote population mean or expected value in probability and statistics

According to this Wikipedia entry, "Mu was derived from the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for water, which had been simplified by the Phoenicians and named after their word for water". So, my question ...
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1answer
499 views

Why is Elastic Net called Elastic Net?

What is the etymology of "Elastic Net" in Elastic Net Regularization? Does it have anything to do with the name of "lasso"?
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48 views

Why is the normal distribution called “normal”?

It occurred to me that there is no question on here about the name "normal distribution" yet. There is this question, about whether to call it normal or Gaussian, but it does not address why it is ...
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When did MCMC become commonplace?

Does anyone know around what year MCMC became commonplace (i.e., a popular method for Bayesian inference)? A link to the number of published MCMC (journal) articles over time would be especially ...
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21 views

When was cross-entropy loss proposed/ since when have researchers started using it?

I started to be curious about when was the cross-entropy loss function(and its variations such as class-imbalanced cross-entropy) proposed. Was there any specific literature to refer to? Or does there ...
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20 views

What is a “surface” and the “likelihood”?

On Neyman & Pearson, 1933, page 302, Then the family of surfaces of constant likelihood, $\lambda$, appropriate for testing a simple hypothesis $H_0$ is defined by $$ p_0 = \lambda p(\...
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Understanding the general theory proposed by Neyman & Pearson

I'm reading Neyman & Pearson, 1933, i.e. Neyman and Pearson. On the problem of the most efficient tests of statistical hypotheses. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. ...
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2answers
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Is systematic sampling outdated?

From what I can gather from lists of "pros and cons" like this one, systematic sampling is roughly equivalent to simple random sampling when the list is randomly sorted. If not, it leads to sampling ...
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33 views

Using same sample in two successive hypothesis tests

Quoting On the Problem of the Most Efficient Tests of Statistical Hypotheses (J. Neyman; E. S. Pearson, 1933) Consider, for example, the problem of testing the significance of a difference between ...
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145 views

name for histogram of nominal p-values under the null

To evaluate a statistical test or means of generating frequentist confidence intervals, it makes sense to repeatedly simulate data for which the null is true and then compute the nominal p-value, and ...
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1answer
155 views

Gauss Original Paper

I am looking for Gauss's 1809 paper in which he introduced least squares regression, MLE and the gaussian distribution. I cannot find it online. Can someone tell me where I may find it?
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P-value: Fisherian vs. contemporary frequentist definitions

I am trying to see if I understand the definition of $p$-value as used by Sir R. A. Fisher and the one used today by frequentist statisticians (not sure how to call it better). $p$-value according ...
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2answers
739 views

Why is the Neyman-Pearson lemma a lemma and not a theorem?

This is more of a history question than a technical question. Why is the ``Neyman-Pearson lemma'' a Lemma and not a Theorem? link to wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neyman%E2%80%93Pearson_lemma ...
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1answer
129 views

Who invented the independence notation $\perp \!\!\! \perp$?

This is more of a historical question: who invented the notation $\perp \!\!\! \perp$ for denoting (conditional) independence?
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1answer
108 views

Who invented the hazard function?

The hazard function or instantaneous failure rate is very popular in survival analysis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Failure_rate $$\lambda(t) = \dfrac{f(t)}{1-F(t)}.$$ However, I cannot find a ...
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25 views

Who were the first statisticians in the USA, and in the world, in two different cases…?

Who were the first statisticians in the USA, and in the world, in two different cases, to be awarded a statistics PhD degree and what were the corresponding award years? Note: The discipline of ...
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1answer
831 views

What's the history of box plots, and how did the “box and whiskers” design evolve?

Many sources date the classic "box plot" design to John Tukey and his "schematic plot" of 1970. The design seems to have stayed relatively static since then, with Edward Tufte's cut-down version of ...
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1answer
154 views

Why is $r$ used to denote correlation?

Why was the symbol $r$ chosen to denote Pearson's product moment correlation?
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1answer
73 views

How did R-square get its name? [duplicate]

How did R-square get its name? I understand how its calculated and interpreted, but I do not understand the r and square part of it.
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1answer
61 views

When was the first time that logistic regression was used to forecast an unknown outcome?

Logistic regression is originally used to predict probabilities of a binary response or further used to forecast the binary response for unknown responses based on a test data set. I was wondering ...
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239 views

How were statistical distributions discovered?

Let me start, that i know that it's not very difficult to generate a probability distribution. If one takes any positive integrable function and normalizes it, this results in a probability density. ...
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1answer
108 views

How was statistics performed before computers?

What was the general approach to performing statistics before calculations were fully computerised (i.e. before both calculation and memory were managed by computer)? I understand the question could ...
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1answer
1k views

In Random Forest, why is a random subset of features chosen at the node level rather than at the tree level?

My Question: Why does random forest consider random subsets of features for splitting at the node level within each tree rather than at the tree level? Background: This is something of a history ...
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129 views

In what sense did “average” ever come to mean a statistical quantity?

I was researching the etymology of "average" to enlighten the debate as to whether "average" can in fact mean a "median" (or if the presenter was merely trying to sweep up their tracks so to speak). I ...
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2answers
3k views

Why was the letter Q chosen in Q-learning?

Why the letter Q was chosen in the name of Q-learning? Most letters are chosen as an abbreviation, such as $\pi$ standing for policy and $v$ stands for value. But I don't think Q is an abbreviation ...
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1answer
59 views

In hypothesis testing, why is $1-\beta$ called the “power of a test”?

What is the reason behind the name "power of a test"? The use of the word "power" confuses me.
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4k views

Who first used/invented p-values?

I am attempting to write a series of blog posts on p-values and I thought it would be interesting to go back to where it all started - which appears to be Pearson's 1900 paper. If you are familiar ...
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2answers
1k views

Etymology of “Adam” algorithm for gradient descent

What is the history behind the choice of the name "Adam" as used in Adam: A Method for Stochastic Optimization?
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2answers
987 views

What is the origin of the “receiver operating characteristic” (ROC) terminology?

No apologies: I have not attempted to research this (beyond reviewing the list of questions CV provided that may have answered this query). I taught this in class last week for diagnosing logistic ...
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1answer
203 views

Was logistic regression based on Boltzmann distribution from statistical mechanics?

Ever since seeing the logistic distribution for the first time many years ago, I always thought of it as an application of the Boltzmann distribution. Whoever developed it may had seen the Boltzmann ...
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1answer
103 views

Why “Honestly” in Tukey's Honestly Significant Difference (HSD)?

Why is the word "Honestly" in "Tukey's Honestly Significant Difference"? It seems unusual. Most statistical procedures are developed with the intent to give an "honest" answer. Why is that word ...
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62 views

Why is the letter $n$ traditionally used to denote sample size?

Question basically in title. I am just curious if anyone has any historical references that point to the earliest usages of this notation.
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1answer
73 views

Were there alternatives In the 1950s to the logistic function for classification?

I would like to know why logistic function is chosen for classification. After reading the original paper developing logistic regression by David Cox, I can understand the benefits of using the ...
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6answers
592 views

How could I have discovered the normal distribution?

What was the first derivation of the normal distribution, can you reproduce that derivation and also explain it within its historical context? I mean, if humanity forgot about the normal ...
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0answers
62 views

What is the story of “$n-1$” in the denominator of an estimated variance? [duplicate]

In the book "Numerical Recipes in C" there is said that there is a long story about why the denominator of variance is $N-1$ instead of $N$. If you have never heard that story, you may consult any ...
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1answer
412 views

When was the word “bias” coined to mean $\mathbb{E}[\hat{\theta}-\theta]$?

When was the word "bias" coined to mean $\mathbb{E}[\hat{\theta}-\theta]$? The reason why I'm thinking about this right now is because I seem to recall Jaynes, in his Probability Theory text, ...
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2answers
9k views

Who invented stochastic gradient descent?

I'm trying to understand the history of Gradient descent and Stochastic gradient descent. Gradient descent was invented in Cauchy in 1847.Méthode générale pour la résolution des systèmes d'équations ...
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255 views

Why do some statistics symbols have a “squared”, e.g. Variance $\sigma^2$, “R squared” $R^2$ or heritability $H^2$

I sometimes encounter symbols in statistics whose symbol carries a "squared". In other areas, like for example mechanics, you give the quantity you are interested in a normal letter and then define ...
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1answer
283 views

How did backpropagation solve the “exclusive-or” problem?

From wikipedia - "A key advance was Werbos's (1975) backpropagation algorithm that effectively solved the exclusive-or problem" My understanding of the backprop algorithm is its an efficient way to ...
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76 views

Does anybody know the origin of the idea of there being a population and a sample?

I don't know if this kind of question is okay to ask on this website.
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1answer
553 views

Who is the father(or mother) of the linear least squares analysis as we know it?

Background: The least-squared error fit has been around for some time. Laplace, P. S. "Des méthodes analytiques du Calcul des Probabilités." Ch. 4 in Théorie analytique des probabilités, Livre 2, ...
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1answer
1k views

The origin of the Wilkinson-style notation such as (1|id) for random effects in mixed models formulae in R

Model formulae in R such as y ~ x + a*b + c:d are based on the so called Wilkinson notation: Wilkinson and Rogers 1973, Symbolic Description of Factorial Models ...
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3answers
880 views

Whence the beta distribution?

As I'm sure everyone here knows already, the PDF of the Beta distribution $X \sim B(a,b)$ is given by $f(x) = \frac{1}{B(a,b)}x^{a-1}(1-x)^{b-1}$ I've been hunting all over the place for an ...
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1answer
91 views

Who was the pioneer behind joint normal distributions

I tried googling, but no luck in finding it. Who was the one to pioneer these ideas? Also, I'm trying to find when Gauss first started doing some real pioneering work on normal distributions.
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6answers
4k views

Why is the expected value named so?

I understand how we get 3.5 as the expected value for rolling a fair 6-sided die. But intuitively, I can expect each face with equal chance of 1/6. So shouldn't the expected value of rolling a die ...