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Subject: Re: [office-comment] Statistical SUMMARY() function

HI Leonard,

Thanks for the proposal.

Another way of accomplish this might be something in the middle.  So, 
imagine a application MENU choice that instead of calculating the values 
and pasting them in as static values -- an approach with the liabilities 
you mention -- have the Menu option paste in the underlying formulas.  So 
a menu option that pastes in a range/block of formulas.  This approach 
might be applicable in other places as well: a formula block template, 
where you have a group of related functions that you want to paste in at 
once, but have a single dialog box for filling out the common parameters. 
This would make it more of an application UI feature than a format 

In general, OpenFormula 1.0  is not trying to extend the conventional 
spreadsheet formula model used by Excel, etc.  We're trying to create 
something that is well-documented and compatible.  However, once we have 
that core, I am quite open to the idea of extending it in the future to 
create more specialized functionality. 

My preference would be to treat this holistically.  For example, we take 
it as a task to improve ODF for use in engineering.  We create a 
subcommittee to investigate this topic, talk with engineers, find out what 
is needed, etc., and the results come back that spreadsheet needs some 
more formulas, more chart types, and presentations need the ability to use 
mathematical notation.  There could be similar efforts for medical, 
academic, financial, etc.  But it will work best where we an alignment of 
interested experts willing to help specify the requirements, as well as 
vendors or open source projects willing to implement these features.


Leonard Mada <discoleo@gmx.net> wrote on 06/02/2008 06:42:36 PM:

> Dear list members,
> One of the most used features in spreadsheets is to analyze and 
> summarize the data. This is used in academia and businesses alike.
> In both instances, spreadsheet users often need to perform an 
> exploratory data analysis and in one of the first steps they will 
> summarize their data.
> I discussed this issue more fully at:
> http://www.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=89980
> While Calc (and ODF) has (most) functions implemented as separate 
> funcitons, it lacks a unified function to compute all parameters at 
> once. MS Excel does come with such a 'Menu'-entry in the advanced 
> statistical toolpack.
> ====================
> Excel did implement a menu-command. Unfortunately, IF the data-changes, 
> the computed statistics won't change and need to be manually updated. 
> The user might not notice that the data has changed.
> Therefore I opt strongly against the Menu-command and for a 
> Also, using menu commands is not transparent, especially IF the 
> spreadsheet will be later used by someone else or if the user revisits 
> the spreadsheet a couple of months later.
> =================================
> 1.) MS Excel: does have a SUMMARY-Menu command in the advanced
>     statistical package (but no separate function)
> 2.) professional statistical programs:
>     e.g. R (http://cran.R-project.org) has a summary() function
>     [and some other summary-type functions, like fivenum()]
> ===========
> Both academia (research) and businesses alike would benefit from such a 
> feature.
> Users will be able to easily get all the relevant summaries. Summaries 
> will be formatted as for publishing / presentation (see options later).
> =============
> Despite my desire to teach people correctly summarizing the data, and 
> compute the descriptive statistics, I have to admit that this is an 
> illusive goal. It is much easier to have a function that computes 
> everything automatically without any user-interaction, than hope for ALL 

> these people learning descriptive statistics.
> ==================
> 1.) Function-Name: obviously: SUMMARY()
> 2.) Parameters: (range; option)
>   - range: the data range in the spreadsheet
>   - option:
>      -- default: "BRIEF" OR 0: compute most important summaries
>      -- "DETAILED" OR 1: compute advanced summaries
>      -- "PUBLICATION" OR 2: compute summaries and format as for
>          publication in a professional journal
>      -- "TABLE" OR 4: compute summaries as for publication,
>          BUT display them in tabular format (for inclusion in a table)
>      -- some other: ... lets leave the feature-list open
>   - results:
>      -- an array with the important summaries
> IMPORTANT: This is an array function!
> REASONING for Options:
>  - most of the time, users need only some basic descriptive statistics.
>  - I am against displaying ALL possible parameters, when most of them
>    are of NO use.
>   [this is descriptive statistics]
>  - the 'DETAILED' option will print more advanced statistics.
>  - the 'PUBLICATION' OR 'PRINT'-option will additionally format the 
>    as for print, so that the user can simply COPY/PASTE the results
>  - the 'TABLE' is as the 'PUBLICATION', but in tabular format
> ===================
>  a.) the function shall verify IF the data is:
>   -- numerical non-binary
>   -- binary (numerical or categorical)
>   -- categorical, NON-binary
>   -- obviously, it can't detect ordinal values
>  b.) it should verify IF the first row in the series is a LABEL
>   -- it should skip any eventual labels
>  c.) computed values should be:
>      min
>      first quartile
>      median
>      third quartile
>      max
>      mean
>      standard deviation
>      median absolute deviation of the median (MAD)
>       -- has the best possible breakdown point
>     (I deliberately omit the mode; NO strong opinion about variance)
>      ALL BRIEF PLUS additionally
>      variance
>      mode (well, lets include it)
>      standard error
>      CV (coefficient of variation)
>      percentile 2.5% and 97.5%
>      [for the IPR95%]
>      mean absolute deviation of the mean (ADM - or average deviation)
>      [although this is better known as the previously mentioned MAD, it 
>       actually a much less robust estimator than the MAD]
>      very robust locationless estimators:
>        Sn = 1.1926 * MEDi{MEDj|Xi-Xj|)
>        Qn = QUANTILE( |Xi-Xj|; 0.25), where i<j
>     [see http://www.jstor.org/pss/2291267 for details]
>    PRINT
>     - add text to the same cells and
>     - group relevant parameters together
>     - to allow easy COPY/PASTE:
>     *median (range)* 'median (min-max)'
>          -- the '...' are the actual values for these parameters
>          -- the *...* are strings
>          -- the range, IQR and IPR95% refer to the 2 separate values,
>              NOT the difference
>     *median (interquartile range)* 'value (value - value)'
>     *median (IPR95%)* 'value (value - value)'
>     *mean (SD)* 'value (value)'
>     - both the TEXT and the values should be provided in the same cell,
>       so as to allow easy COPY/PASTE
>     - both 3 versions of the MEDIAN (...) should be provided
>       [they serve different purposes and range / IQR / IPR95% are always
>        grouped with the median]
>     - I prefer 'mean (SD)' over mean +- SD, because the mean +- SD makes
>       actually NO sense; it is mean +- 2*SD that makes sense
>    TABLE:
>     - as PRINT, BUT display the names/text-strings in the first column
>     - and the values in the next column
>     - to easily COPY/PASTE as a table
> I will discuss the NON-numerical details in a later post.
> Sincerely,
> Leonard
> P.S. I hope to get some time later this week to rephrase the BINOMDIST() 

> description. I did not forget about it, I was just too busy.
> -- 
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