- Sum of squares
**Sum of squares**is a concept that permeates much ofinferential statistics anddescriptive statistics . More properly, it is "the sum of thesquared deviations ". Mathematically, it is an unscaled, or unadjusted measure of dispersion (also called variability). When scaled for the number of degrees of freedom, it estimates thevariance , or spread of the observations about their mean value.The distance from any point in a collection of data, to the mean of the data, is the deviation. This can be written as $X\_i\; -\; overline\{X\}$, where $X\_i$ is the ith data point, and $overline\{X\}$ is the estimate of the mean. If all such deviations are squared, then summed, as in $sum\_\{i=1\}^nleft(X\_i-overline\{X\},\; ight)^2$, we have the "sum of squares" for these data.

When more data are added to the collection, the sum of squares will increase, except in unlikely cases such as the new data being equal to the mean. So usually, the sum of squares will grow with the size of the data collection. That is a manifestation of the fact that it is unscaled.

In many cases, the number of degrees of freedom is simply the number of data in the collection, minus one. We write this as "n" − 1, where "n" is the number of data.

Scaling (also known as normalizing) means adjusting the sum of squares so that it does not grow as the size of the data collection grows. This is important when we want to compare samples of different sizes, such as a sample of 100 people compared to a sample of 20 people. If the sum of squares was not normalized, its value would always be larger for the sample of 100 people than for the sample of 20 people. To scale the sum of squares, we divide it by the degrees of freedom, i.e., calculate the sum of squares per degree of freedom, or variance.

Standard deviation , in turn, is the square root of the variance.The above information is how sum of squares is used in descriptive statistics; see the article on

total sum of squares for an application of this broad principle toinferential statistics .**ee also***

Explained sum of squares

*Polynomial SOS

*Residual sum of squares

*Mean squared error

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