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From "Phil Steitz" <>
Subject RE: [math] TTestImpl
Date Mon, 17 May 2004 20:07:51 GMT
Thanks for the feedback.
>1) Is there a specific reason why ttest would throw an exception if there
>is not sufficient data. In my case I would like to execute it with only 2
>data (even if it does not mean anything). The developer should be smart
>enough to make this test BEFORE calling the function if it really needed

We have debated this kind of issue quite a bit.  When a mathematical computation is meaningless
(bad or insufficient data to compute a meaningful result), we have essentially three choices:
1) throw an exception (what TTestImpl does, used when computation is meaningless) 2) return
NaN (when led there by IEE754) or 3) return nonsense.   We have not been 100% consistent in
choosing between 1) and 2), but have tried to rigorously avoid 3).  In the specific case of
the t-test, I think I erred in setting the minimum sample size to 5, since the test can in
fact be meaningfully performed (though power will be very low) for samples as small as 2.
 I will fix this.

>2) I cannot find the functions for a homoscedastic or paired t-test (I
>assumed the one that is implemented is for an unequal variance). There are
>3 kinds of T-Tests and it is not clear to see which one is used. I would
>love to see something like double ttest(double[] v1, double[] v2, int type)

Good point.  The reference in the javadoc gives the formulas used, which are for un-paired,
no assumption of equal variance.  I will make this more explicit in the javadoc itself.  Regarding
the paired and homoscedastic tests, I agree that this would be a good addition and it seems
reasonable to me to add a flag to indicate the type of the test.  Patches are welcome :-)
 If there are no objections, and no patches come in this week, I will try to ge this in this


Joel Freyss
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