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st: What is this problem called?

From   "Kieran McCaul" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: What is this problem called?
Date   Fri, 16 Nov 2007 14:01:21 +0900


A colleague has asked me the following question:

Suppose a surgeon performs a number of surgical procedures using a new
technique.  He/she records the operating time for each operation.  How
would the data be analysed so as to determine the number of procedures
performed before the operating time stabilises?

I haven't come across a problem quite like this before, but it seems to
me that it's a question that might arise, for example, when evaluating
the implementation of new industrial or manufacturing processes.

I have an idea about how I would approach this analysis, but first I'd
like to have a look at what others may have done.

Searching the literature is difficult though if you don't know what the
problem is called.

Does anyone recognise this problem or something analogous to it and can
you give me a name I can search on or point me to a few relevant papers.
I can back-track though the literature from there.

Thanks in advance,


Kieran McCaul MPH PhD
WA Centre for Health & Ageing (M573)
University of Western Australia
Level 6, Ainslie House
48 Murray St
Perth 6000

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