Benchmarking the Numerical Accuracy of Analyse-it
This document describes the performance of Analyse-it for Microsoft Excel version 4.00 against the NIST StRD


Tested against the industry-recognised NIST StRD, Analyse-it performed consistently amongst the best and performed better than some of the more popular well-known statistical packages.


Download Evaluating the Numerical Accuracy of Analyse-it (.pdf)

Download Analyse-it NIST StRD Validation workbooks (.zip)


Our development & validation process

In response to industry concerns about the numerical accuracy of statistical software, the Statistical Engineering and Mathematical and Computational Sciences Divisions of NIST’s Information Technology Laboratory developed datasets with certified values for a variety of statistical methods.

For more information about the datasets see:

The results obtained from statistical software packages can be compared against the certified values. The certified values are accurate to 15 significant digits and computed using ultra-high precision floating point arithmetic.

Most statistical packages use IEEE754 double precision (64bit) floating point arithmetic and due to finite precision, round-off and truncation errors involved in numerical operations, will be unable to obtain the exact certified value. Therefore, a good measure of the accuracy of a result x against the certified value c, can be calculated as the base-10 logarithm of the absolute value of the relative error:

LRE = -log10 (|x - c| / c)

if c ≠ 0, otherwise,

LRE = -log10 |x|

LRE is the number of significant digits in common with the certified value. Higher LRE values are better, and the maximum LRE obtainable is 15.

Performance benchmarks against the NIST StRD

We tested version 4.00 of Analyse-it using the NIST StRD on an Intel Xeon dual processor PC. No statistical package achieves perfect accuracy for all the tests and no one package performs best for every test. In the tests:

  • Analyse-it performed consistently and amongst the best on all tests.
  • Analyse-it performed better than some of the more popular well-known statistical packages.

Some developers of popular statistical software packages have published their own benchmarks against the NIST StRD, and some independent authors have also published benchmarks, see:

  • A comparative study of the reliability of nine statistical software packages,
    Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, 51(8), 3811-3831,
    Keeling, K. B., & Pavur, R. J.
  • On the Accuracy of Statistical Procedures in Microsoft Excel 97,
    Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, July 1999, Volume 31, Number 1, pp 27-37,
    McCullough, B.D. and Wilson, B.
  • Assessing the Reliability of Statistical Software: Part I,
    The American Statistician, Volume 52, Number 4, pp 358-366,
    McCullough, B.D.
  • Assessing the Reliability of Statistical Software: Part II,
    The American Statistician, May 1999, Volume 53, Number 2, pp 149-159,
    McCullough, B.D.

To download the Excel worksheets containing the Analyse-it analyses to perform the NIST StRD, and see comparisons against the published results for other packages, see:

Summary of results

The LRE obtained testing Analyse-it against the NIST StRD are summarized below.

Univariate summary statistics

The univariate tests consist of nine datasets classified by difficulty.

The mean and standard deviation were computed using the Distribution analysis and compared to the certified values.

The lag-1 autocorrelation is not computed by Analyse-it.

Test Difficulty Mean SD
PiDigits Lower 15.0 15.0
Lottery Lower 15.0 15.0
Lew Lower 15.0 15.0
Marvo Lower 15.0 13.1
Michelson Lower 15.0 13.8
NumAcc-1 Lower 15.0 15.0
NumAcc-2 Average 15.0 15.0
NumAcc-3 Average 15.0 9.5
NumAcc-4 Higher 15.0 8.3
Average 15.0 13.3
Minimum 15.0 8.3
Maximum 15.0 15.0

Analysis of variance

The analysis of variance tests consist of eleven datasets classified by difficulty.

The F statistic was computed using the Compare Groups – ANOVA analysis and compared to the certified value.

Test Difficulty F
SiRstv Lower 13.1
SmLs01 Lower 15.0
SmLs02 Lower 15.0
SmLs03 Lower 15.0
AtmWtAg Average 10.2
SmLs04 Average 10.4
SmLs05 Average 10.2
SmLs06 Average 10.2
SmLs07* Higher 4.4
SmLs08* Higher 4.2
SmLs09* Higher 4.2
Average 10.2 (12.4*)
Minimum 4.2 (10.2*)
Maximum 15.0

*Average/Minimum calculated excluding the marked tests.

NOTE: No statistical package has performed the Simon-Lesage tests 7, 8, and 9 (marked *) with more than 4.6 digits of accuracy, and although these programs reported 4.6 digits of accuracy for test 7 they performed markedly worse for tests 8 and 9. This is due to a flaw in the tests themselves rather than in the software packages, as the number 1,000,000,000,000.4 cannot be represented precisely using binary IEEE754 64bit double floating point representation. Instead it is represented as 1,000,000,000,000.4000244140625. Even simple summation of such a series of numbers leads to inaccuracy.

Linear regression

The linear regression tests consist of eleven datasets classified by difficulty.

The beta coefficients and standard error of the coefficients were computed using the Fit Model analysis and compared to the certified values. The minimum LRE value is reported for each analysis.

The R2 statistic was computed and compared to the certified value. No R2 value is computed for the no intercept models due to issues interpreting such a statistic.

The residual sum of square was computed and compared to the certified value.

Test Difficulty Beta Beta SE Residual SS R2
Norris Lower 12.6 13.5 13.3 15.0
Pontius Lower 12.4 12.7 12.4 15.0
NoInt1 Average 14.7 14.4 14.1 -
NoInt2 Average 15.0 15.0 14.6 -
Fillip Higher 7.7 7.8 9.1 11.6
Longley Higher 10.9 11.9 11.7 14.0
Wampler1 Higher 9.9 10.0 15.0 15.0
Wampler2 Higher 13.4 14.7 15.0 15.0
Wampler3 Higher 9.1 13.7 14.1 15.0
Wampler4 Higher 9.9 13.6 15.0 15.0
Wampler5 Higher 5.7 13.6 15.0 13.7
Average 11.0 12.8 13.6 14.4
Minimum 5.7 7.8 9.1 11.6
Maximum 15.0 15.0 15.0 15.0

NOTE: There may be slight variation in the LRE on repeated runs due to the use of available multiple processor cores when computing the QR decomposition of the matrix.

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