ASQ - Statistics Division

Statistical Engineering Webinar (PDF Slides) – March 16, 2011 Webinar

Abstract: Much has been written about how statisticians can be more impactful and influential as a profession. One potential opportunity recently proposed is that society may need us to function more as an engineering discipline in the future, rather than solely as a pure science. One can define engineering as the study of how to best utilize scientific and mathematical principles for the benefit of mankind. In other words, engineers do not focus on advancement of the fundamental laws of science, but rather on how existing science might be best utilized for practical benefit, i.e., putting the "parts" together in novel ways rather than inventing new "parts". The recent performance of the IBM computer "Watson" on the game show Jeopardy is one such example of an engineering versus a scientific breakthrough. This is not to say that engineers do not perform research, or do not develop theory. Rather, it suggests that engineers’ theoretical developments tend to be oriented towards the question of how to best utilize known science to benefit society. If this need for an emphasis on statistical engineering in addition to statistical science is true, then one could argue that our ability to make this transition will largely determine our future vitality as a discipline. The presenters will discuss the need for enhanced focus on statistical engineering, provide an operational definition, and give tangible examples of its application. They will share their thoughts on how statistical engineering should be integrated with such things as statistical theory, applied statistics, statistical methods, and statistical thinking, in order to view the statistics discipline as a system.

Keywords: Statistical thinking - Statistical engineering

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