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Statistics is one of the few fields for which the U.S. Department of Labor forecasts a faster rate of growth in jobs than for computer science. The widespread use of statistics is very much a twentieth-century phenomenon. An increasingly important aspect of modern statistics is the design of experiments and surveys -- as well as analyzing the resulting data -- in areas of application ranging from archeology to future population impact.


Statisticians use surveys -- for example, opinion polls and census information-- to predict the patterns of behavior of large groups based on relatively small samples. They ask questions such as: How can we be sure that what we predict from our small sample is true of the population being sampled? Questions like this are answered using probability theory. This is a branch of mathematics which is important in its own right, but which also provides the theoretical underpinning for statistics.

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