International Statistical Review

W.F. Sheppard's Smoothing Method: A Precursor to Local Polynomial Regression

Early View

Summary W.F. Sheppard has been much overlooked in the history of statistics although his work produced significant contributions. He developed a polynomial smoothing method and corrections of moment estimates for grouped data as well as extensive normal probability tables that have been widely used since the 20th century. Sheppard presented his smoothing method for actuaries in a series of publications during the early 20th century. Population data consist of irregularities, and some adjustment or smoothing of the data is often necessary. Simple techniques, such as Spencer's summation formulae involving arithmetic operations and moving averages, were commonly practised by actuaries to smooth out equally spaced data. Sheppard's method, however, is a polynomial smoothing method based on central differences. We will show how Sheppard's smoothing method was a significant milestone in the development of smoothing techniques and a precursor to local polynomial regression.

Related Topics

Related Publications

Related Content

Site Footer

Address:

This website is provided by John Wiley & Sons Limited, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 8SQ (Company No: 00641132, VAT No: 376766987)

Published features on StatisticsViews.com are checked for statistical accuracy by a panel from the European Network for Business and Industrial Statistics (ENBIS)   to whom Wiley and StatisticsViews.com express their gratitude. This panel are: Ron Kenett, David Steinberg, Shirley Coleman, Irena Ograjenšek, Fabrizio Ruggeri, Rainer Göb, Philippe Castagliola, Xavier Tort-Martorell, Bart De Ketelaere, Antonio Pievatolo, Martina Vandebroek, Lance Mitchell, Gilbert Saporta, Helmut Waldl and Stelios Psarakis.