New York: John Wiley & Sons/London: Chapman & Hall, 1947. First edition. Sixteen figures, seven tables. Ink notation on front free endpaper. A very good copy in the scarce d.j. Navy cloth with gilt spine. Octavo. xii, 212 pp. Item #12026
Abraham Wald pioneered the science of decision analysis and, in particular, that of sequential decision making. Before Wald, the traditional style of statistical decision was to posit a hypothesis, make a predetermined number of measurements, then make a decision whether to accept or reject the hypothesis. Wald realized that this procedure is quite wasteful, and that many measurements could be saved if given the option to decide at every step whether to continue or stop the measurement process. This idea revolutionized the art of statistical testing and was later developed in the hands of computer scientists into a field known as on-line algorithms. “Most, although not all, of [Wald’s] results were summed up in Sequential Analysis (1974). With minor exceptions, the entire contents of this book were obtained by him. Such a phenomenon is rare in mathematical books and indicates the extent to which he founded and dominated the field of sequential analysis” (DSB).