7.1 Statistics. Histograms. and Probability
7.2 The Normal Distribution
7.3 Random Number Generation
7.4 Interpolation
7.5 Summary

This chapter is unlike the first six chapters in thatit covers relatively few MATLAB functions. These functions are easy to use and have widespread and important uses in statistics and data analysis; however. their proper application requires informed judgment and experience. Here we present enough of the mathematical foundations of these methods to allow you to apply them properly.
We begin with an introduction to basic statistics and probability in Section 7.1. You will see how to obtain and interpret histograms, which are specialized plots for displaying statistical results. The normal distribution, commonly called the bell-shaped curve, forms the basis of many statistical methods and is covered in Section 7.2. As you saw in Chapter 4. MATLAB is useful for programming simulations. In Section 7.3 you will see how to include random processes in your simulation programs. In Section 7.4 you will see how to use interpolation with data tables to estimate values that are not in the table. An interesting application of this method is in machine control, and we give an example of controlling a robot arm.

When you have finished this chapter, you should be able to use MATLAB to do the following:

  • Solve basic problems in statistics and probability.
  • Create simulations incorporating random processes.
  • Apply interpolation techniques.
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