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Question. The number of flaws $X$ on an electroplated car grill is known to the have the following probability mass function: $$ \begin{matrix} x & : & 0 & 1 & 2 & 3 \\ p(x) & : & 0.8 & 0.1 & 0.05 & 0.05 \end{matrix} $$

Calculate the mean of $X$.

My working.

$$ \text{Mean} = E(X) = (0 \times 0.8) + (1 \times 0.1) + (2 \times 0.05) + (3 \times 0.05) = 0.35 .$$

But the answer is $0.25$ (which is also $\frac{0.8+0.1+0.05+0.05}{4}$).

What am I doing wrong?

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Your calculations are correct. –  Sasha Oct 29 '11 at 6:01
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If you sum up the probabilities and divide it by $4$, it is clear that the result will always be $0.25$. That does not have any relevance to the problem. Your answer ($0.35$) seems ok. –  Srivatsan Oct 29 '11 at 6:05
    
Thanks, I did suspect the answers in the book are wrong. Must be a slight typo –  Arvin Oct 29 '11 at 6:07

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Your answer ($0.35$) looks correct, and the textbook answer is wrong.

The fraction $\frac{p(0)+p(1)+p(2)+p(3)}{4}$ will evaluate to $\frac{1}{4}=0.25$ for any probability mass function $p$, so that particular ratio does not have any significance for the expectation of $X$.

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