The differences between bias, consistency, and efficiency

Sometimes code is easier to understand than abstract math. A few days ago I was having a hard time conveying bias, consistency, and efficiency in a statistics class. Writing some pseudo-code on the board seemed to help clear things up. Loops and calls to random number generation routines are more tangible than discussions about random samples.

Later I turned the pseudo-code into Python code (after all, Python is supposed to be “executable pseudo-code”) and fancied it up a bit. The following page gives some explanation, some plots of the output, and the source code.

The difference between an unbiased estimator and a consistent estimator