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Analytical Chemistry Division (V)

Number: 2002-058-1-500

Title: Definitions and fields of application of the terms robust and rugged and the characteristics or qualities of robustness and ruggedness in analytical chemistry

Task Group
Duncan Thorburn Burns

Members: Klaus Danzer and Alan Townshend

Completion Date: 2008 - project abandoned

A) To develop precise and unequivocal definitions of the terms robust and rugged and the related characteristics/qualities of robustness and ruggedness to be applied to avoid confusion in the various areas of analytical chemistry.

B) To examine the possible quantitative implications and expression of the above terms and characteristics.

There is considerable confusion in the scientific and textbook literature as to the use of the terms robust and rugged and the associated characteristics/qualities of robustness and ruggedness. Many authors use the terms and the associated characteristics as if they were synonymous; others use only one term and characteristic, namely robust/rugged or rugged/ruggedness, whilst a few distinguish their use. Some restrict the field of application to robust/robustness to statistical methods of data evaluation and rugged/ruggedness to experimental design. The use of robust in connection with statistical tests is supported by some professional statisticians and by current word usage as given in the recent "New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary", but which however gives one of the several meanings of rugged, as robust based on American literature usage.

From the above discussion it is clear that to avoid confusion and aid clarity of communication it is necessary to provide clear and unequivocal definitions and fields of usage for the descriptors/characteristics of robust/robustness and of rugged/ ruggedness. It is considered that it would also be advantageous if quantitative expressions could be devised.

A last meeting is being planned for late 2004 and it is projected that the document will be ready for external review around early/mid 2005.
> Nov 2004 report update (pdf file - 12KB)

> May 2006 report update (pdf file - 13KB)

- project abandoned

Last Update: 8 July 2008


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