# Questions tagged [history]

Questions about the history of statistics.

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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.
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 ...
13 views

### 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 ...
15 views

### First historical references on auto-correlation and cross-correlation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 ...
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 ...
3k views

### 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 ...
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"?
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 ...
2k views

### 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 ...
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 ...
20 views

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### 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 ...
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 ...
154 views

### Why is $r$ used to denote correlation?

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

What is the history behind the choice of the name "Adam" as used in Adam: A Method for Stochastic Optimization?
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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.
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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, ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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.
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, ...
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 ...
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 ...