Statistics is the science concerned with developing and studying methods for collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and presenting empirical data.
Statistics is a highly interdisciplinary field; research in statistics finds applicability in virtually all scientific fields and research questions in the various scientific fields motivate the development of new statistical methods and theory. In developing methods and studying the theory that underlies the methods statisticians draw on a variety of mathematical and computational tools.
Two fundamental ideas in the field of statistics are uncertainty and variation. There are many situations that we encounter in science (or more generally in life) in which the outcome is uncertain.
In some cases the uncertainty is because the outcome in question is not determined yet (e.g., we may not know whether it will rain tomorrow) while in other cases the uncertainty is because although the outcome has been determined already we are not aware of it (e.g., we may not know whether we passed a particular exam).
Probability is a mathematical language used to discuss uncertain events and probability plays a key role in statistics. Any measurement or data collection effort is subject to a number of sources of variation. By this we mean that if the same measurement were repeated, then the answer would likely change (who can forget the ballot counting in Florida during the 2000 U.S. Presidential election). Statisticians attempt to understand and control (where possible) the sources of variation in any situation.
UC Irvine's Department of Statistics was formed in 2002 and the Department is one of three departments in the Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences.
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