Tuesday, December 7, 2010

An application of statistical sampling

Professor Brown, our stats teacher, has for his first lecture an example of statistics applied to the D Day invasion. The contribution from statistics and probability to the defense sector is very real and I enjoy the examples of their application.

I thought this was another interesting example.

"During World War II, America and her allies needed to estimate the number of Panzer V tanks Germany had produced. The solution was simple: Look at the serial numbers of the captured tanks. If you assume the tanks had been sequentially numbered — as in fact they were — you could view the serial numbers of the captured tanks as random samples from the entire range. You could then use statistics to estimate the range and hence the number of tanks produced. More details available here."

Neat stuff.

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