Dividing projects into math, statistics, and computing

If you’ve read this blog for long, you know that my work is a combination of math, statistics, and computing.

I was looking over my records and tried to see how my work divides into these three areas. In short, it doesn’t.

The boundaries between these areas are fuzzy or arbitrary to begin with, but a few projects fell cleanly into one of the three categories. However, 85% of my income has come from projects that involve a combination of two areas or all three areas.


If you calculate a confidence interval using R, you could say you’re doing math, statistics, and computing. But for the accounting above I’d simply call that statistics. When I say a project uses math and computation, for example, I mean it requires math outside what is typical in programming, and programming outside what is typical in math.

One thought on “Dividing projects into math, statistics, and computing

  1. Bob Cunningham

    I divide things slightly differently: If it gets used more than once by the client, it’s computing, no matter how much math and stats it contains. I need to worry about usability, reliability, and similar application-level issues.

    If it’s a one-off program, done mainly to accelerate, simplify and/or document my process, then it’s stats or math.

    Both are deliverables, but the second is primarily documentation.

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