Statistics is the art and science of collecting and analyzing data and understanding the nature of variability. Mathematics, especially probability, governs the underlying theory, but statistics is driven by applications to real problems.
In this chapter, we introduce several data sets that we will encounter throughout the text in the examples and exercises.
If you have ever traveled by air, you probably have experienced the frustration of flight delays. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics maintains data on all aspects of air travel, including flight delays at departure and arrival (http://www.bts.gov/xml/ontimesummarystatistics/src/index.xml).
LaGuardia Airport (LGA) is one of three major airports that serves the New York City metropolitan area. In 2008, over 23 million passengers and over 375,000 planes flew in or out of LGA. United Airlines and American Airlines are two major airlines that schedule services at LGA. The data set FlightDelays contains information on all 4029 departures of these two airlines from LGA during May and June 2009 (Tables 1.1 and 1.2).
Each row of the data set is an observation . Each column represents a variable—some characteristic that is obtained for each observation. For instance, on the first observation listed, the flight was a United Airlines plane, flight number 403, destined for Denver, and departing on Friday between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. This data set consists of 4029 observations and ...