Modern theory of probability is formulated on the footing of measure theory. Use this tag if your question is about this theoretical footing (for example probability spaces, random variables, law of large numbers, central limit theorems, and the like). Use (probability) for explicit computation of ...

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Intuition for the definition of the Gamma function?

In these notes by Terence Tao is a proof of Stirling's formula. I really like most of it, but at a crucial step he uses the integral identity $$n! = \int_{0}^{\infty} t^n e^{-t} dt$$ coming from ...
43
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5answers
5k views

Chance of meeting in a bar

Two people have to spend exactly 15 consecutive minutes in a bar on a given day, between 12:00 and 13:00. Assuming uniform arrival times, what is the probability they will meet? I am mainly ...
37
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9answers
4k views

The Monty Hall problem

I was watching the movie 21 yesterday, and in the first 15 minutes or so the main character is in a classroom, being asked a "trick" question (in the sense that the teacher believes that he'll get the ...
34
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7answers
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Proving that 1- and 2-d simple symmetric random walks return to the origin with probability 1

How does one prove that a simple (steps of length $1$ in directions parallel to the axes) symmetric (each possible direction is equally likely) random walk in $1$ or $2$ dimensions returns to the ...
32
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5answers
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Intuition behind Conditional Expectation

I'm struggling with the concept of conditional expectation. First of all, if you have a link to any explanation that goes beyond showing that it is a generalization of elementary intuitive concepts, ...
32
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4answers
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Rain droplets falling on a table

Suppose you have a circular table of radius $R$. This table has been left outside, and it begins to rain at a constant rate of one droplet per second. The drops, which can be considered points as they ...
28
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7answers
38k views

What is the best book to learn probability?

Question is quite straight... I'm not very good in this subject but need to understand at a good level.
28
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3answers
3k views

Why is this coin-flipping probability problem unsolved?

You play a game flipping a fair coin. You may stop after any trial, at which point you are paid in dollars the percentage of heads flipped. So if on the first trial you flip a head, you should stop ...
27
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3answers
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Random Variable Inequality

Doing a little reading over the break (The Probabilistic Method by Alon and Spencer); can't come up with the solution for this seemingly simple (and perhaps even a little surprising?) result: (A-S ...
26
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8answers
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Lebesgue integral basics

I'm having trouble finding a good explanation of the Lebesgue integral. As per the definition, it is the expectation of a random variable. Then how does it model the area under the curve? Let's take ...
25
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3answers
529 views

Expected length of the shortest polygonal path connecting random points

$N$ points are selected in a uniformly distributed random way in a disk of a unit radius. Let $L(N)$ denote the expected length of the shortest polygonal path that visits each of the points at least ...
22
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1answer
830 views

How far can probability intransitivity be stretched?

Once upon a time I read about nontransitive dice - sets of dice where "is more likely to roll a higher number than" is not a transitive relation. After the surprise wore off, I wondered - just how far ...
21
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1answer
782 views

Expository articles on Analysis and Probability theory

When I come across a notion from algebra or number theory which I don't know I usually check Keith Conrad's page to see if he has written something about it. Key features of his articles are a very ...
20
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6answers
6k views

Zero probability and impossibility

I read a comment under this question: There are plenty of events that can occur that have zero probability. This reminds me that I have seen similar saying before elsewhere, and have never ...
20
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9answers
4k views

Reference book on measure theory

I post this question with some personal specifications. I hope it does not overlap with old posted questions. Recently I strongly feel that I have to review the knowledge of measure theory for the ...
20
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3answers
21k views

Probability density function vs. probability mass function

I've an confession to make. I've been using pdf's and pmf's without actually knowing what they are. The idea that I've been having so long is that density = area under the curve but if I look at it ...
20
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1answer
3k views

Cardinality of Borel sigma algebra

It seems it's well known that if a sigma algebra is generated by countably many sets, then the cardinality of it is either finite or $c$ (the cardinality of continuum). But it seems hard to prove it, ...
19
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2answers
704 views

Cover time chess board (king)

Consider a random walk of a king on a standard chess board, which at each step moves to a uniformly random permitted square. What's the exact mean time to visit all squares (cover time), starting ...
18
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5answers
2k views

What is a Markov Chain?

What is a intuitive explanation of a Markov Chain, and how they work? Please provide at least one practical example.
18
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3answers
1k views

Card doubling paradox

Suppose there are two face down cards each with a positive real number and with one twice the other. Each card has value equal to its number. You are given one of the cards (with value $x$) and after ...
18
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2answers
528 views

Does Brownian motion visit every point uncountably many times?

Let $B_t$ be a one-dimensional standard Brownian motion. Is it true that, almost surely, for every $x \in \mathbb{R}$ the set $\{t : B_t = x\}$ is uncountable? Let $A_x$ be the event that $\{t : ...
17
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2answers
886 views

Translations of Kolmogorov Student Olympiads in Probability Theory

I am deeply interested in Kolmogorov's probability contest whose tests could be found in English for the five first years but there is no English translation to its problems from round 6 onward. I ...
17
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1answer
639 views

Slowest frog on a ladder amongst many, how fast does it climb and how much is it lagging below the others?

In English: Frogs are climbing up a ladder. Each frog jumps to the next level of the ladder at unit rate and independently of the other frogs and of the level it is at. All the frogs start at level ...
16
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2answers
675 views

On the set of the sub-sums of a given series

Choose a sequence $(x_n)_{n\in\mathbb N}$ of nonnegative real numbers with finite sum $x=\sum\limits_{n\in\mathbb N}x_n$ and consider the set $X=\{x_I\mid I\subseteq \mathbb N\}$ where, for every ...
15
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2answers
2k views

Beta function derivation

How do I derive the Beta function using the definition of the beta function as the normalizing constant of the Beta distribution and only common sense random experiments? I'm pretty sure this is ...
15
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7answers
3k views

Good books on “advanced” probabilities

what are some good books on probabilities and measure theory? I already know basic probabalities, but I'm interested in sigma-algrebas, filtrations, stopping times etc, with possibly examples of ...
15
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1answer
499 views

Kakutani skyscraper is infinite

Karl E. Petersen's book "Ergodic Theory", chapter 2, exercise 9, on page 56 Prove that for any ergodic measure preserving transformation $T:X\rightarrow X$ on a non-atomic probability space $(X, ...
15
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1answer
242 views

What is the distribution of this random series?

Let $\xi_n$ be iid and uniformly distributed on the three numbers $\{-1,0,1\}$. Set $$X = \sum_{n=1}^\infty \frac{\xi_n}{2^n}.$$ It is clear that the sum converges (surely) and the limit has $-1 \le ...
15
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1answer
312 views

The problem of the most visited point.

Represents the set $R_{n\times n}=\{1,2,\ldots, n\}\times\{1,2,\ldots, n\} $ as a rectangle of $n$ by $n$ as points in the figures below for exemple. How to calculate the number of circuits that visit ...
14
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3answers
4k views

Intuitive explanation of a definition of the Fisher information

I'm studying statistics. When I read the textbook about Fisher Information, I couldn't understand why the Fisher Information is defined like this: $$I(\theta)=E_\theta\left[-\frac{\partial^2 ...
14
votes
2answers
288 views

Problem on EU commission

Consider the following problem. A collection of $n$ countries $C_1, \dots, C_n$ sit on an EU commission. Each country $C_i$ is assigned a voting weight $c_i$. A resolution passes if it has the ...
13
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3answers
2k views

The Laplace transform of the first hitting time of Brownian motion

Let $B_t$ be the standard Brownian motion process, $a > 0$, and let $H_a = \inf \{ t : B_t > a \}$ be a stopping time. I want to show that the Laplace transform of $H_a$ is ...
13
votes
2answers
288 views

Number of digits until a prime is reached

Begin with a random digit from $1$ to $9$. Add a random digit to the right-hand side from $0$ to $9$ until a prime number is reached. How many digits are necessary in the avarage ? More precisely: ...
13
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2answers
412 views

Central Limit Theorem implies Law of Large Numbers?

Let $X_i$ be iid random variables and let $\overline{X}_n=(X_1+\cdots+X_n)/n$. If $EX_i=\mu$ and $\operatorname{Var}X_i = \sigma^2$ then the central limit theorem says that with some conditions we ...
13
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1answer
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What is meant by a continuous-time white noise process?

What is meant by a continuous-time white noise process? In a discussion following a question a few months ago, I stated that as an engineer, I am used to thinking of a continuous-time ...
12
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4answers
635 views

probability and statistics: Does having little correlation imply independence?

Suppose there are two correlated random variable and having very small correlation coefficient (order of 10-1). Is it valid to approximate it as independent random variables?
12
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3answers
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Is there a possibility to choose fairly from three items when every choice can only have 2 options

Me and my wife are often not knowing which DVD to watch. If we have two options we have a simple solution, I put one DVD in one hand behind my back and the other DVD in the other hand. She will ...
12
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2answers
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Uniqueness of product measure (non $\sigma$-finite case)

Let $(X,\mathscr{A},\mu), (Y,\mathscr{B},\nu)$ be two measure spaces, then we have the product measurable space $(X\times Y, \mathscr{A}\times\mathscr{B})$ where $\mathscr{A}\times\mathscr{B}$ is the ...
12
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2answers
371 views

Asymptotics of the sum of squares of binomial coefficients

We are trying to estimate the cardinality $K(n,p)$ of so-called Kuratowski monoid with $p$ positive and $n$ negative linearly ordered idempotent generators. In particular, we are interesting in the ...
12
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2answers
668 views

Conditional expectation on more than one sigma-algebra

I'm facing the following issue. Let $X$ be an integrable random variable on the probability space $(\Omega,\mathcal{F},\mathbb{P})$ and $\mathcal{G},\mathcal{H} \subseteq \mathcal{F}$ be two ...
12
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3answers
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Best fit ellipsoid

Given a collection of points $P \subset \mathbb R^3$, a crude characterization of the "shape" of $P$ is sometimes given by the principal components. We construct a covariance matrix, e.g., if $P$ is ...
12
votes
2answers
426 views

Difference in probability distributions from two different kernels

I wonder if the probability kernels of Markov processes on the same state space are close enough, does it also hold for the probabilities of the event that depend only on first $n$ values of the ...
12
votes
1answer
438 views

An unusual type of linear algebra problem

I've come across the following linear algebra problem while trying to derive something in information theory. I'm looking both for numerical ways to solve this type of problem and for anything ...
12
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1answer
294 views

pointwise limit of finite measures

If there is a sequence of measures $\mu_n$ such that $\mu_n(A) \overset{n}{\rightarrow} \mu(A)$ for all $A$ in the $\sigma$-field and if $\mu_n(\Omega)\leq c$ $(c<\infty)$ for all $n$, then $\mu$ ...
12
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1answer
658 views

Meaning of “kernel”

In analysis, there are at least three kinds of "kernel" concepts: In probability theory, there is a concept called transition probability, also called probability kernel, from one measure space $X$ ...
12
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3answers
366 views

Limit of a Wiener integral

How to show that $$ \lim _{\alpha \rightarrow \infty } \sup_{t \in \left [0,T \right]} \left | e^{-\alpha t} \int _ 0 ^t e^{\alpha s} ~ dB_s \right | =0, \ \ \text{a.e.} $$ where $\left (B_s ...
11
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2answers
270 views

A planar Brownian motion has area zero

I'm looking for proofs of Paul Lévy's theorem that a planar Brownian motion has Lebesgue measure $0$. I know of only two proofs: one is in Lévy's original paper (Théorème 12, p. 532) and the other is ...
11
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2answers
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Does convergence in distribution implies convergence of expectation?

If we have a sequence of random variables $X_1,X_2,\ldots,X_n$ converges in distribution to $X$, i.e. $X_n \rightarrow_d X$, then is $$ \lim_{n \to \infty} E(X_n) = E(X) $$ correct? I know that ...
11
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3answers
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Can I apply the Girsanov theorem to an Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process?

Let $W_t$ be a standard Brownian motion, and $X_t$ a measurable adapted process. Girsanov's theorem says that under certain conditions, the Brownian motion with drift $Y_t = W_t - \int_0^t X_s\,ds$ ...
11
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4answers
501 views

Number of possibilities to cross a hexagonal lattice.

An ant walks along the line segments in the hexagonal lattice shown, from start to finish. The ant must go in the direction shown if there is an arrow, and never goes on the same line segment twice. ...