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Finding out what is a histogram

Getting familiar with what is a histogram

The most widespread definition of what is a histogram says that it is a representation of some kind of numerical data and its distribution in a graphical manner. If you need to make up a histogram, first of all you will have to identify the overall range of values, find out which would come first, which would come second, etc., create a number of series/intervals of the overall range of identified values and finally, you will have to count the number of values that fall into every series/interval. The process of identifying the range of values is usually called as binning and the result of the identification is the bins that you receive in the end. As a rule, all the bins that you are going to get, have to be of the same size. The common reason why histograms are used is to graphically represent particular data. It is easy to understand the information, if the numbers are not just written but shown graphically. To learn more about what is a histogram, the history of the term and how to use it, keep reading.

Histograms serve to display the form of distribution and the frequency of certain numerical data by means of graphical data. It is especially useful when it comes to a big number of observations. As a rue, this kind of representation information uses rectangles in order to show the frequency of numerical data in certain intervals, which are all of the same size. All the numerical data provided in the histogram in the rectangles should be colored or shaded appropriately.

By means of using a histogram, you can make a presentation of the results of students examination. You will have to denote the score range by bars and paint them with certain color, which seems appropriate to you. You may also compare such histogram to the results of other students’ examination represented in another histogram with the results of the same students but of different year. In this case, you will have to draw the conclusions concerning the level of intelligence of the students that would show decline or increase of intelligence.

If you have a large amount of statistical data and want to present it in an understandable manner, the best solution would be to display all the data through creating a histogram that uses rectangular and serves to demonstrate that or another frequency of items of the data. When providing the results of experiments, scientists often use histograms as a way of representation the data that they gathered within the experiment. One of the fields where the histograms are used most often is biology. In this case, histograms allow to present statistical data about human nature and the nature of animals in terms of a measurable science.

At the end of the day, histograms as a method of graphical representation of statistical information can be also used by photographers because they can help improve the quality of pictures. As it can be seen, histograms are helpful in a wide range of fields of human activity, so knowing them and understanding where and how they can be applied may appear to be helpful in the life of everyone. Histograms, however, have their own history, knowing of which may help take benefits from using this kind of representation even more. Therefore, keep reading to learn interesting facts about what is a histogram, how it came to the world, how people used it a number of centuries ago and with which purpose.

Interesting facts from the history of histograms

As a matter of fact, the history of using this kind of statistical data representation is very rich and long, and includes lots of information about the development in the area of using histograms step by step. Histograms have been successfully used in a great variety of scientific fields, which led to their appearance as a tool in the area of industry due to the possibilities that they can give in regard to solutions of a number of problems related to statistics.

As for the creation of the term, it has Greek origins and can be interpreted from this point of view as a means of writing something graphically. At the same time, this word was not originally applied in Greece in accordance with its meaning that we know today. In the nineteenth century the term «histogram» was used to describe the graphical representation for the first time by a famous statistician known as K. Pearson, who gave it the definition that today can be met in a number of dictionaries.

Having said that, although the modern explanation of the term appeared no so long ago, histograms were used at times when people didn’t know even how to call such method of presenting statistical information. The history of the method is so long that it is not even known precisely when and where it was used for the first time. Before the wide usage of histograms, people tend to make presentations of numerical data by means of bar charts, which are very similar to histograms. The fact of usage bar charts allows us to look deeper on the issue concerning appearance of histograms themselves. In any case, histogram at the beginning of their existence were considered to be a visual method of statistical data approximations. Even nowadays this meaning of histograms is enlightened in the majority of commonly accepted histogram conceptions. A significant role is played by histograms, among all the others, when it comes to disassociation from their commonly accepted definition and using them as a mathematical means to provide visualization of objects dealing with statistical data approximations.

The periods of exploration histograms

Lately, it can be seen that histograms became extremely important in certain areas of informatics. Apart from databases, histograms play significant role in different kinds of computer vision and processing of images at various levels. In this case, histograms are helpful in approaching several tasks by images, such as images compression, searching for identical images and so on. When talking of color histograms, we should also mention their usage in literature. Color histograms include a define number of pixels that is required for improving the quality of the images and find a particular color in the image. In the area of databases, histograms are most commonly considered to be a means of different data compressing and distributing. In this case, the first time when this role of histograms was mentioned, was in the middle of eightieth of twentieth century. Since that time, the period of intensification in exploring and studying histograms has begun.

The history of histograms has several significant periods, identifying the stages of their development and usage. They are the following:

  • The first appearance of histograms in the world. As far as it is known, the first time when histograms were suggested touse for data distribution was the thesis of a scientist known as Kooi. In his thesis, he argued that histograms were a significant improvement in the area of distribution of the data.
  • After the first appearance of histograms, there was suggested the first alternative to histograms. This alternative presented the changes in the parameters of the source and were called as equidepth histograms. There form has been changing throughout the whole time of usage of histograms.
  • The period of optimal sort parameter. After a small amount of time since the alternative to the histograms were suggested, the issue of histograms has not beed discussed at a proper level and the problems if errors in the usage of histograms has been ignored. At the end of this period, it was proclaimed that the optimal kind of histograms had particular frequency as the parameter of the sort.
  • The period of new partition constraints. After the above described period in development histograms and discussion them by different scientists, there were two significant questions arisen in regard to their effectiveness. The first one concerned the issue of partition constraints and the second question was dedicated to the issue of optimization qualities of histograms.
  • The period of exploring partition rules and their characteristics. Within this period of histogram development, the exploration of multi-dimensional partition characteristics and rules were on the top of importance. Since then, many new approaches have been suggested, as well as alternatives to the multi-dimensional partition.
  • The exploration and development of effective and dynamic constructions. As far as it is known, the effectiveness of estimation is considered to be the most significant characteristic of histograms, another property that is also very considerable is a concern. According to this, all the histograms were divided into two groups, such as dynamic and static.
  • The exploration of error guaranties. In most of cases, the development of histograms has to do with defining those kinds of histograms that provide the less number of errors. After a number of discoveries in the area of histogram functioning, a certain period was dedicated to exploring problems in regard to this issue and searching the ways of predicting and preventing errors that may occur.
  • The period of development of unconventional histograms. Apart from the majority of approaches to exploring the properties and specificities of histograms, there are also those that do not follow the generally accepted methodology. Such approaches provide new techniques of histogram usage and define the areas of independence/dependence between the dimensions in statistical data.

The ways of defining what is a histogram

Taking into consideration all the information provided above, it is obvious that histograms have a great number of different definitions, each of which describes that or another role they play and field of human activity where they are used. Therefore, it would be helpful to classify the most common approaches to defining what is a histogram in accordance with the functions of histograms in that or another area. Such approaches are provided below:

  • The distribution of data. This way of usage histograms if popular in statistical science and helps demonstrate the distribution of statistical data and the frequency of particular items.
  • Means of motivation. In this case, histograms can be used as a method of data approximation, since when it come to databases, the distribution of data is not really helpful due to the impossibility of being stored appropriately. Histograms are used in databases to solve a number of problems related to database systems and optimization of data.
  • Histograms that are used within constructing distribution of data and demonstrating the frequencies of values. This approach to defining what is a histogram has several additional categories, each of which indicates the presence of certain characteristics and condition in different cases of applying histograms.

All the information provided in the article will be helpful when learning the basics of what is a histogram and can be a good theoretical background to applying histograms to solving different kinds of problems, including mathematical and so on.

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