std deviation and dynamic array

Posted on 2011-04-26
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi, I have to calculate the standard deviation and use dynamic array.
When I double check with excel, both my results don't match.
could you tell me what I am doing wrong in my code?

Ps: the professor provided us with the std deviation formula:
sd= 1/(n-1)[ Sum(x^2)-1/(n-1)[(Sum(x))^2] ]

thanks for the help.

I have entered 6 numbers: 2 2 3 3 4 4.
in excel I get: .89
in my code: .8.....why???

using namespace std;

int main(){

	int n=0;
	cout<<"How many data: ";
	int *a= new int[n];

	cout<<"Enter "<<n<<" data: ";
	for (int i=0;i<n;++i)

	//sdt deviation
	double sd =0;
	int sumXsquare =0, sumx =0;
	for(int i=0;i<n;++i)
	sumXsquare += a[i]*a[i];
	sd = (1.0/(n-1))*(sumXsquare-((1.0/n)*(sumx*sumx)));

	cout<<"Standard Deviation = "<<setprecision(4)<<sd<<endl;

return 0;

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Question by:pgmerLA
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 35465065
Hi pgmerLA,

IMO you 'n' instead of (n-1) at '... sumXsquare-((1.0/n)...' - shouldn't this be '... sumXsquare-((1.0/(n-1)) ...'?

LVL 53

Accepted Solution

Infinity08 earned 2000 total points
ID: 35465359
>> sd= 1/(n-1)[ Sum(x^2)-1/(n-1)[(Sum(x))^2] ]

That formula doesn't look like any standard deviation formula I know.

>> When I double check with excel, both my results don't match.

Be aware that the STDEV function in Excel does NOT calculate the standard deviation. It calculates the sample standard deviation :


To calculate the standard deviation in Excel, use STDEVP :


>> in my code: .8.....why???

0.8 happens to be the sample variance  (ie. the square of the sample standard deviation). But that might be by accident rather than by design :)

The standard deviation of the 6 values you entered would be 0.81650, and is obtained using the formula :

        mu = Sum(xi) / n                              <--- average (mean)
        sigma = sqrt( Sum((xi - mu)²) / n )   <--- standard deviation
LVL 33

Expert Comment

ID: 35465466
Just some arithmetic to show equivalences:

If sigma = sqrt( Sum((xi - mu)²) / n )
n sigma²
= Sum(  (xi - mu)²  )
= sum( xi² - 2 xi mu + mu² )
= sum(xi²) - 2mu sum(xi) + mu² * sum(1)
= sum(xi²) - 2mu sum(xi) + n mu²

But mu = sum(xi)/n
==> sum(xi) = n mu

n sigma² = Sum(  (xi - mu)²  )
= sum(xi²) - 2mu sum(xi) + n mu²
= sum(xi²) - 2mu  (n mu)  + n mu²
= sum(xi²) - 2 n mu²    + n mu²
= sum(xi²) - n mu²

sigma² = ( sum(xi²) - n mu² )/n = ( sum(xi²)/n - mu² )
sigma = sqrt( sum(xi²)/n - mu² )

The (n-1) term in the OP (instead of n) is related to a particular method of sampling populations IIRC.

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LVL 53

Expert Comment

ID: 35465569
>> Just some arithmetic to show equivalences:

You put a bit more effort into it than me ;)

That would mean that the formula from the question (assuming the second (n-1) was supposed to be n) is meant to calculate the sample variance, and not the standard deviation. In which case, 0.8 is the right answer.
Or, assuming that the sqrt got lost while copy-pasting the formula, it would be meant to calculate the sample standard deviation. In which case 0.89 is the right answer.

Neither of these is the standard deviation though (as I mentioned earlier). So, if you actually want to calculate the standard deviation, you'll have to use the formula I mentioned in my previous post, and you should get the result 0.81650
LVL 53

Expert Comment

ID: 35468871
@pgmerLA : could you explain how that post (http:#35465466) answers your question, please ? It seems I completely misunderstood what your problem was. It appeared to me that your question was about what you were doing wrong in the code, and why you were getting 0.8 as the result.

Author Comment

ID: 35471352
@Infinity08:I added sqrt to my formula and it worked. I actually wanted to give you the points. I did too fast.
How can I retract it?
LVL 53

Expert Comment

ID: 35472909
>> How can I retract it?

You can click the "Request Attention" button, and ask a moderator to re-open the question.

Thanks for clarifying :)

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