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Thread: Language in mathematics - data is _what_ with (or by) error?

  1. #1 Language in mathematics - data is _what_ with (or by) error? 
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    Hello;

    I need to write about some data which has error in it. I mean, it's measurement results and the precision is always limited (there is no such thing as a perfect measurement on a continuous scale).

    What is the correct way of saying this in English?

    - the data is burdened with error?
    - the data contains error?
    - the data is subject to error?

    The last one sounds best, but I am worried that it actually means "there is a risk there might be error in the data". And this is not what I want to say. Error is an inevitable part of the measurement the data came from. I have the same problem with "prone to error" or "error-prone".

    FWIW, I am also writing about simulation data where the values are known perfectly; the error occurs in a real-life situations.

    Thank you for any suggestions,
    L.


    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
    History teaches us that we don't learn from history.
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  3. #2  
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    Sorry to be boring, but the word "data" is plural, so you should say "data are". On the other hand, the compound noun "data set" is singular, so you should say "data set is". "Datum" is singular of "data" btw

    I apologize for the stupidity of my native tongue.

    Actually, like you, I don't like any of your suggestions. Why not simply say something like

    "within error, the measurements agree with simulation data". I am pretty sure all native English speakers would understand that you are saying that any real-life measurement is subject to unavoidable error


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  4. #3  
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    Maybe things are different in jolly old England, but you could certainly get away with saying "data is" over here. As a matter of fact, my Webster's New World dictionary says "n.pl. [now usually with sing. v.]"

    I would go along with "the data is subject to error." Even though there is probably error in the data, you don't know that for certain - any particular data point could be right on the nuts. Excuse the slang.

    Maybe if you used the word "uncertainty" instead of error, it would sound better to you.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Masters Degree organic god's Avatar
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    yeh i agree with harold,
    the word error seems to imply that the person doing the experiment is an idiot and has measured inaccurately.
    using uncertainty highlights the limit of the accuracy of the apparatus. or thats how it seems to me.
    everything is mathematical.
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  6. #5 Re: Language in mathematics - data is _what_ with (or by) er 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    Hello;

    I need to write about some data which has error in it. I mean, it's measurement results and the precision is always limited (there is no such thing as a perfect measurement on a continuous scale).

    What is the correct way of saying this in English?

    - the data is burdened with error?
    - the data contains error?
    - the data is subject to error?

    The last one sounds best, but I am worried that it actually means "there is a risk there might be error in the data". And this is not what I want to say. Error is an inevitable part of the measurement the data came from. I have the same problem with "prone to error" or "error-prone".

    FWIW, I am also writing about simulation data where the values are known perfectly; the error occurs in a real-life situations.

    Thank you for any suggestions,
    L.
    "The data suffers from the standard, expected lack of precision, inherent in this field, or operation".

    Sincerely,


    William McCormick
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