Box Sampler Overview

What is Box Sampler?

Box Sampler is a spreadsheet add-in for doing simulation and resampling operations in probability and statistics.

Note that the term "Box Sampler" refers both to the software overall, and to a particular sampling model within the program -- drawing balls or other items from a box or urn.  Other models that are part of the Box Sampler software are: a deck of cards, dice, a list of numbers or any objects, and the generation of random numbers from a specified distribution.

Several Ways to Use Box Sampler

Box Sampler is a spreadsheet add-in and uses the worksheet interface as a platform.  You will be using Box Sampler versions of standard spreadsheet files.  

You can get these Box Sampler spreadsheet files in 3 ways, depending on whether you will be constructing the simulation from the ground up yourself (option 3 below), or using an existing model or example (options 2 and 1).

  1. Open an example worksheet (in Excel, an .xls file).  A number of such worksheets come with the software and instructors will create others.  They have information specific to the example being worked.

  2. Open a generic template file (in Excel, an .xlt file) -- for example, a "1-box, 2-sample" template.  In Excel, note two things:

- You'll need to select "All files" where it says "Files of Type" in Excel's File Open dialog box.  Alternatively, just double click the file in Windows Explorer.

- When saving any work you do in the template, Excel saves it as an .xls file, so as to keep the template file unchanged. 

  1.  Use the Box Sampler "new model" menu item to construct a model yourself and set up the appropriate template. This involves specifying how many populations you want to draw from, how to represent the population (s), and how many samples to draw. A standard template file will appear (an .xlt file in Excel) corresponding to your specifications, and you will save this template as a worksheet (.xls file in Excel) for this specific problem. 

To know more about how to specify the details go through the Box Sampler add-in procedure.

Whichever way you proceed, you will end up with a worksheet file that will model the problem.  Let's see what a typical Box Sampler worksheet looks like.

Box Sampler Worksheet

Box Sampler has five different blocks, each block having a distinct role to play in the simulation process. These blocks are arranged from left to right. The following diagram shows a typical Box Sampler screen. 


To understand more about Box Sampler, you can page through this description by using the "Next" and "Previous" links at the top of each page.

Alternatively, you can learn about the Five Step Method, or view a complete example with explanation.