# Expected Value of Max of IID Variables

What is the expected value of the maximum of 500 IID random variables with uniform distribution between 0 and 1?

I'm not quite sure of the technique to go about solving something like this. Could anyone point me the right direction?

Thanks

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Suppose the maximum is $X_{500}$, then $$P(X_{500}\le x)=P(X_i \le x ,i=1,2,...,500)$$ Note that this is so because if the maximum is less than $x$ , then every other oder statistic is less than $x$. Now since the $X_i's$ are IID, it follows that; $$P(X_{500}\le x)=\prod_{i=1}^{500} P(X_i\le x)=x^{500}$$ which is the CDF and so the PDF is $500x^{499}$ (which is obtained by differentiation). Now the expected value of the maximum is found as follows; $$E[X]=\int _0^1 x (500x^{499})dx=\int _0^1 500x^{500}dx=\frac {500}{501}$$

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There is one trick useful for uniform distribution.

The trick: If you have 500 independent uniform random variables on $[0;1]$ then you may think that you have 501 independent uniform random variables on a circumpherence with unit length. You just consider the first random variable as a cut-point, which transforms the circumpherence into a unit segment $[0;1]$.

The average distance between points on the circumpherence is $1/501$ and ...

the average length of 500 intervals is equal to $500/501$.

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Let $Y$ be the maximum. Then $P(Y\le y)=y^{500}$ (if $0\le y\le 1$). So now we know the cumulative distribution function of $Y$, and therefore the density, and therefore the mean.

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George PĆ³lya says "Is there a simpler problem of the same type that you do know how to solve?"

The way to go about solving something like this is to look at simpler cases first. What's the expected value of the maximum of one IID uniform random variable? What is the expected value of the maximum of two?

Mouse over if you want the actual answer.

I believe the answer is $\frac{500}{501}$.

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