Benford's Law, Pure and Applied

Lectures & Discussions
Thursday, November 6, 2014
3:30 PM

Dr. Richard Cleary, Professor of Mathematics at Babson College will present Benford's Law, Pure and Applied on Thursday, November 6 at 3:30 p.m. in Olin 114.

Benford’s Law refers to a discrete probability distribution that does a remarkable job describing the first digits in a wide variety of ‘real world’ measurements.  The Benford distribution has some intriguing properties that connect it to pure mathematical subjects like number theory, but it is also has applications in auditing and fraud detection.  We will begin with a discussion of the pure mathematical connections, continue with a data collection exercise that shows Benford’s Law in practice, and conclude with a demonstration that shows how a combination of politics and a subtle statistical error may have slowed adoption of Benford’s Law by auditors.

Posted Date 
Saturday, November 1, 2014

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