Statistics is a tool which lets us summarize data, and make inferences from it.

Inferencing vs Analyzing




Computer Based

Twenty First Century


Sample vs Population

Inferential statistics use a random sample to draw conclusions about the population. Typically, it is not practical to obtain data from every member of a population. Instead, we collect a random sample from a small proportion of the population. From the sample, statistical procedures can infer the likely properties of the population.

For example, it is impractical to measure the height of every adult woman, but you can measure the heights of a random sample and use that information to make generalizations about the heights of all women. For example, a confidence interval provides a range that the population mean height is likely to fall in.

Confidence Interval

This is the simplest in layman’s terms


RANT: P-Values are confusing because they answer an easy question, not the one you want, and are phrased in super confusing terms. P-Values are much like the story of the man looking for his keys under a street lamp. A woman comes to him and asks if she can help find the keys, and where the man lost him. The man answer’s over there. The woman says, over there - well why are you looking under the street light!? The man responds, well because it’s dark over there.

You want to know the probability the metric change is caused by our treatment. Aka not a false positive (Type 1 error).

But the P-Value is the probability that for this sample of the population, the metric change could be caused by the control as opposed to treatment. (The effect being caused by the control is called the null hypothesis)

Along these lines, you can think of P values as probabilities that you can multiply. For example, if two independent studies both have P values of 0.05, you can multiply them to obtain a probability of 0.0025. If you use this approach, you can’t cherry pick the best studies. You need to include all studies in a series of relevant studies whether they are significant or not.

One P value multiplied by another P value equals a smaller P value. You should consider results from a study in conjunction with other similar studies. It is extremely unlikely that a single study can prove that the alternative hypothesis is true with any confidence. So, don’t expect it to!*

A not yet done - p-value simulator

How does Amazon’s Web Lab tool handle this?

How does Facebook Deltoid tool handle this?

Types of Error

Type 1 vs Type 2

  • Type 1 = False Positives
  • Type 2 = False Negative

Precision vs Recall

In ML, we talk about precision and recall:

  • Precision (Exactness) - Likely hood a result is a true positive. TP / (TP + FP). % of things you say are true, are actually true.

  • Recall (Completeness) - Likely a true positive. TP / (TP + FN). % of true things you identify in the entire space

Accuracy vs Precision

In measurement we talk about accuracy and precision

Imagine a target on a bullseye, and firing multiple bullets:

  • Accuracy = How close to the bullseye are the bullets. Arguably this is difference of median from bullseye
  • Precision = How must variance is the “spray” of bullets. Arguably this is the standard deviation.

Multi Arm Bandits

Explore vs Exploit

Epsilon Greedy

Soft Max

Summarizing Data - How to characterize a data set

When we have a dataset, we need to reason about it, and reason about the changes to it.

Data Shape - Normal, Uniform, Exponential

Which average - Mean, Median and Mode


Robust Statistics - Medians and Percentile


Other Resources

  • Bandit Algorithoms
  • Computer Age Statistical Inference
  • Python for Data Analysis
  • R CookBook
  • Python Data Science Handbook
  • Think Stats