Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy Birthday JMP!

We know we're late, JMP's birthday was October 5, but we have been busy with PR activities for our book, which includes creating and maintaining this blog. That said, JMP is 20 years old and, in those 20 years, JMP has become one of our favorite software packages that we use daily.

John Sall, co-founder and Executive Vice President of SAS, who leads the JMP business division recently wrote about JMP's 20th birthday in his blog, bLog-Normal Distribution. John describes the events that lead up to the first release of JMP on October 5, 1989 and the niche that it filled for engineers and scientists as a desktop point-and-click software tool that takes full advantage of the graphical user interface.

As we reflect upon using JMP, both in our own work as statisticians and in collaborating with engineers and scientists, our experiences mirror, almost exactly, what is described in JMP is 20 Years Old. John wrote, "We learned that engineers and scientists were our most important customer segment. These people were smart, motivated and in a hurry - too impatient to spend time learning languages, and eager to just point and click on their data." Things have not changed much. Engineers and scientists are busier than ever, and want to be able to get quick answers to the challenges they face. They really value JMP's powerful and easy-to-use features.

"What was missing was the exploratory role, like a detective, whose job is to discover things we didn't already know", writes John. JMP has made detectives of all of us by giving us the ability to easily conduct Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) using features such as linked graphs and data tables, excluding/including observations from plots and analysis on the fly, and drag-and-drop tools, such as the Graph Builder and the Table Builder (Tabulate).

Here are some of our old and new JMP favorites that we find ourselves using over and over again.

- Graph Builder: new drag and drop canvas for creating a variety of graphs allowing us to display many data dimensions in one plot.
- Profiler Simulator: awesome tool that gives us the ability to use simulation techniques to define and evaluate process operating windows.
- Variability/Gauge Chart: one of our all time favorites to study and quantify sources of variability and look for systematic patterns or profiles in the data.
- Distribution: a real work horse. Great to examine and fit different distributions to our data, calculate statistical intervals (confidence, prediction, tolerance), conduct simple tests of significance on the mean and standard deviation of a population, and perform capability analysis.
- Control Chart > Presummarize: this function makes it even easier to fit more appropriate control limits to Xbar charts for data from a batch process, which contains multiple sources of variation.
- Bubble Plot: a dynamic visualization tool that shows a scatter plot in motion and is sure to wow your friends.
- Reliability Platform: new and improved reliability tools that make it easy to fit and compare different distributions, as well as, predict product performance.

Happy Birthday JMP. We look forward to 20 more years of discoveries and insights in engineering and science!

Brenda and José

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