Computer performance assessment is a quantitative science. Mathematical and statistical tools give us many ways in which to rate the overall performance of a system and the performance of its constituent components. In fact, there are so many ways to quantify system performance that selecting the correct statistic becomes a challenge in itself. In this section, we describe the most common measures of “average” computer performance and then provide situations where the use of each is appropriate and inappropriate. In the second part of this section, we present other ways in which quantitative information can be misapplied through erroneous reasoning. Before proceeding, however, a few definitions are in order. ...

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