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0. Introduction

Most students don't have a concrete understanding of what statistics is or how much it impacts most aspects of their everyday life. This section strives to answer some questions you may have (or should have) about the material you're about to learn.

What is Statistics?

According to Merriam-Webster: Statistics is a branch of mathematics dealing with the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of masses of numerical data.

Why is Statistics important?

Statistics is everywhere. Let's imagine a few things that may be part of a typical day for a college student:
  • Do you check the weather before you get dressed? If so, you're relying on climate models to predict what the weather will be like. 
  • Do you drive to school? Statistics were used to determine if the car you drive passed safety requirements laid out by the government, to determine how much to charge you for your auto insurance, and were likely used to design the roads and freeways on your route to effectively handle the necessary traffic flow.
  • Does your email have a spam filter? You have Data Mining, a branch of Statistics, to thank for keeping those Viagra advertisements out of your mailbox. Similar methodologies are how Spotify and Pandora decide what songs to play based on your ratings, Netflix decides what movies to recommend to you, and how Facebook sorts your news feed.
  • Do you take any prescription or over-the-counter drugs? They all have to pass strict guidelines, using Statistics, set forth by the FDA in clinical trials to go to market.