As Bay Area technology companies ramp up hiring out of the recession, they are in hot pursuit of a particular kind of employee: those with experience in statistics and other data-manipulation techniques.

Rather than looking for just plain-vanilla computer scientists, who typically don't have as deep a study of math and statistics, companies from Facebook Inc. to online advertising company AdMob Inc. say they need more workers with stronger backgrounds in statistics and a related field called machine learning, which involves writing algorithms that get smarter over time by looking for patterns in large data sets.

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