A series of measurements $x_i = x_1, \dots, x_n$ is a one dimensional list or array which is by nature very space inefficient to store. A histogram is a two dimensional data structure that can be configured to a custom trade off between space and accuracy. The values are sorted into bucket according to their size.

There are two properties controlling the trade off that a histogram represents:

To construct the histogram, each individual value $x_i$ is assigned to a bucket $b$: $b = \lfloor \frac{x_i}{g}\rfloor$. Although the original series of measurements cannot be reconstructed, an approximation can be generated from the histogram:

  1. Calculate the value that a bucket corresponds to: $x_b = b*g$

  2. The value $x_b$ has to be inserted zero or more times corresponding to the number of values in the bucket.

Due to the fact that each bucket of a histogram contains an absolute number (i.e. the number of measurements of the corresponding magnitude), it is very useful for visualizing and analyzing the values in a series of measurements. Outliers can be easily identified by looking for buckets with an exceptionally high or low number of values.

NOTE: A histogram is not suitable for comparing two or more series of measurements because of its absolute nature. Distributions are a better alternative.

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