Lab 8: Standard Deviation
Last Modified 02/15/2009
Key Concepts:
for loops
In this lab, we're going to write a program to computer an important statistic, standard deviation. Specifically,
we're going to look at the
sample standard deviation
, which is a measure of the spread of a sample of data
points. A sample refers to a "small" set of data selected to represent the entire population of data we're
studying.
(By the way, this is in contrast to the population standard deviation, which uses all of the possible available data and
has
n
in the denominator of the formula and uses the population mean instead of the sample mean.)
The sample standard deviation, denoted
s
, of a set of observations {
x
1
,
x
2
,
..., x
n
}, is given by
In this formula, the variables are:
•
s
= the sample standard deviation
•
n
= the sample size, i.e. the number of observations (data points) in the sample
•
x
i
represent the individual data points
•
= the sample mean, i.e. the average of all of the data points in the sample

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