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Old 28th October 2014, 01:32 PM   #1
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Default High quality statistics

Some "statistical analysis" to ponder next time you look for causation:

Spurious Correlations

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etc., etc.

John L.
"...His brain is squirming like a toad..." Jim Morrison
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Old 28th October 2014, 03:59 PM   #2
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Many years ago, I had a subscription to a publication, "The Journal of Irreproducable Results". My favorite article was about "Data Enrichment", where they used statistics slight-of-hand to get an excellent correlation between height above floor and "heads" on a coin toss...
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Old 28th October 2014, 05:17 PM   #3
SY is offline SY  United States
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You've ruined my productivity this morning, John.
"Cities are globs. Globs are bubbling collections. Bubbling collections are hurricanes of the dead and the living all blasting subliminal stories lost in the nether of breezes."
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Old 31st October 2014, 02:43 PM   #4
Glowbug is offline Glowbug  United States
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The machine does not isolate us from the great problems of nature but plunges us more deeply into them. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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Old 31st October 2014, 02:54 PM   #5
rdf is offline rdf  Canada
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I say we play it safe. For the children.
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Old 31st October 2014, 04:33 PM   #6
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Let's just assume causation for a moment:
Do people drown in pools because Nicholas Cage appears in movies or does Nick get roles because enough people drowned?
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Old 31st October 2014, 05:28 PM   #7
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Let me put it like this : Eli Lilly decided it was more productive Not to renew the Prozac sponsorship deal with Mr Cage.
Without the additional income, he was forced to accept more roles.
The BBC : 1
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Old 2nd November 2014, 12:14 PM   #8
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In the 1970's Motorola's product quality was pretty bad, as was the quality of pretty much every American company. The Quasar TV's were so bad that they sold the entire division to Panasonic and got out of the business. Freshly built products rolling off the assembly line didn't work, so technicians like me were hired to fix them. The Defects Per Unit (DPU) rate was a number greater than 1. This was expensive.

This started a revolution (1980's) in product design and manufacturing. Within 10 years the DPU rate had to be abandoned for the DPHU rate (Defects Per Hundred Units) which was a number less than 1.

Part of this were mandatory classes for all engineers in Design For Manufacturing, Design For Assembly, Failure Mode Analysis, Statistics and More Statistics. All of this was part of a new "revolution" called Six Sigma Design.

We all learned to worship Sigma. Fancy analysis tools were created to appease Sigma. Sometimes entire programs were held up because Sigma wasn't happy.

We had a particularly tough product design involving a lot of new previously unseen and untried technology, in which many of the product design specs were arbitrarily set by a bunch of suits in a meeting room. Several prototype runs were done, after which the results were distilled down into "management quality" charts that only presented the CP and CPK graphs which were not meeting the required Six Sigma Design numbers. A whole bunch of yelling and screaming ensued, which begat meetings and more meetings to "empower teams" to go off and solve the problems. I got stuck on one of those teams where most of the members were not hardware engineers, nor fully understanding of 6 Sigma. We were assigned to solve some CPK failures that had been with the product since first proto run.

Too often the real issues were overlooked. CPK is a measure to see how well the distribution of your product's performance measurements matches up with it's specifications. Ideally all the measured data should lie centered within the spec window. CPK will not compute with a one sided spec like transmitter power must be greater than 6 watts, so an arbitrary upper spec limit is set, say 10 watts.

It turns out that these arbitrary upper spec limits were the problem with two of the big CPK failures, so I wrote an Excel Macro that I dubbed "The Six Sigma Shuffle" and ran it against these two specs. It just iterated the upper spec limit against the raw data and solved for the highest CPK. Bingo...CPK is now OK, but we have to fail a small number of radios because they are too GOOD!

We reported our results in the weekly management meeting, management is happy, and our crisis team is disbanded, and we go back to our regular jobs. About 2 days later an engineer comes to me and asks if I can make the Shuffle work on a two sided spec, so I modify it.

They run the shuffle against the entire collected data set for the last several prototype runs to determine the NEW product design specs in order to make Sigma happy. Many of the original product design goals were modified to fit the data on what we could actually build and the product took a giant step toward being one of the most successful radios to ever come out of the Florida factory. That was over 20 years ago and I still see those units in use today.
Too much power is almost enough! Turn it up till it explodes - then back up just a little.
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Old 3rd November 2014, 09:51 AM   #9
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Too often people mistake data for information. Many years ago I was called into a PMR manufacturer who was having a lot of end of line failures of their new transceiver. we sat on the line for a morning and watched them gathering data to pass to management, none of which pointed to the problem. Data from each stage of the line showed units passed but a significant proportion failed final test. In the afternoon we sat at each station of the production line and talked to the operatives. We very quickly found the problem. The rf front end included a complex helical filter which was aligned by technicians. We soon discovered some filters were very hard to calibrate according to the instructions provided by R&D but the technicians had learned how to' tweak' them so they passed. Thing is, the troublesome units were faulty (a single wrong capacitor value) which is why they failed the alignment procedure. The next day we sat with the techs and insisted they follow the procedure and failed units that would no align. They all turned out to be faulty.


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Old 3rd November 2014, 11:53 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ruffrecords View Post
Thing is, the troublesome units were faulty (a single wrong capacitor value)
QA/QC must have been foreign language in those days.
(textbook example)
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