Questions tagged [probability-distributions]

Questions on using, finding, or otherwise relating to probability distributions, probability density functions (pdfs), cumulative distribution functions (cdfs), or other related functions.

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72
votes
4answers
101k views

Probability density function vs. probability mass function

I've a 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 ...
65
votes
9answers
16k views

What do $\pi$ and $e$ stand for in the normal distribution formula?

I'm a beginner in mathematics and there is one thing that I've been wondering about recently. The formula for the normal distribution is: $$f(x)=\frac{1}{\sqrt{2\pi\sigma^2}}e^{-\displaystyle{\frac{(...
56
votes
5answers
70k views

How can a probability density be greater than one and integrate to one

Wikipedia says: The probability density function is nonnegative everywhere, and its integral over the entire space is equal to one. and it also says. Unlike a probability, a probability density ...
49
votes
4answers
32k views

How was the normal distribution derived?

Abraham de Moivre, when he came up with this formula, had to assure that the points of inflection were exactly one standard deviation away from the center, and so that it was bell-shaped, as well as ...
44
votes
7answers
114k views

Poisson Distribution of sum of two random independent variables $X$, $Y$

$X \sim \mathcal{P}( \lambda) $ and $Y \sim \mathcal{P}( \mu)$ meaning that $X$ and $Y$ are Poisson distributions. What is the probability distribution law of $X + Y$. I know it is $X+Y \sim \mathcal{...
38
votes
3answers
87k views

What is the difference between “probability density function” and “probability distribution function”?

Whats the difference between probability density function and probability distribution function?
36
votes
1answer
8k views

Formal definition of conditional probability

It would be extremely helpful if anyone gives me the formal definition of conditional probability and expectation in the following setting, given probability space $ (\Omega, \mathscr{A}, \mu ) $ ...
34
votes
4answers
49k views

Expected Value of a Binomial distribution?

If $\mathrm P(X=k)=\binom nkp^k(1-p)^{n-k}$ for a binomial distribution, then from the definition of the expected value $$\mathrm E(X) = \sum^n_{k=0}k\mathrm P(X=k)=\sum^n_{k=0}k\binom nkp^k(1-p)^{n-k}...
34
votes
4answers
19k views

Why does the median minimize $E(|X-c|)$?

Suppose $X$ is a real-valued random variable and let $P_X$ denote the distribution of $X$. Then $$ E(|X-c|) = \int_\mathbb{R} |x-c| dP_X(x). $$ The medians of $X$ are defined as any number $m \in \...
33
votes
1answer
9k views

Distinguishing probability measure, function and distribution

I have a bit trouble distinguishing the following concepts: probability measure probability function (with special cases probability mass function and probability density function) probability ...
31
votes
4answers
15k views

Precise definition of the support of a random variable

$\newcommand{\F}{\mathcal{F}} \newcommand{\powset}[1]{\mathcal{P}(#1)}$ I am reading lecture notes which contradict my understanding of random variables. Suppose we have a probability space $(\Omega, \...
31
votes
1answer
5k views

Is there a uniform distribution over the real line?

For every interval $[a,b]$, there exists a uniform probability density over this interval, which is the constant function $f(x)=\frac{1}{|a-b|}$ for $a < x < b$, and $f(x)=0$ for all other $x$. ...
31
votes
1answer
840 views

Zombie outbreak on a $k$-regular graph

Suppose we have a zombie outbreak on a connected $k$-regular graph of order $n$. There are $n_0$ initially infected zombie nodes, and each turn, each zombie infects its neighbors with probability $p$....
28
votes
3answers
19k views

Integral of Brownian motion is Gaussian?

Let $(W_t)$ be a standard Brownian motion, so that $W_t \sim N(0,t)$. I'm trying to show that the random variable defined by $Z_t = \int_0^t W_s \ ds$ is a Gaussian random variable, but have not ...
28
votes
2answers
24k views

How is logistic loss and cross-entropy related?

I found that Kullback-Leibler loss, log-loss or cross-entropy is the same loss function. Is the logistic-loss function used in logistic regression equivalent to the cross-entropy function? If yes, can ...
28
votes
6answers
32k views

What is the use of moments in statistics?

Can anyone give me a simple explanation (i.e. without too many equations) of what is the use of moments in statistics? Why do we need moments? What can we learn from them?
28
votes
2answers
31k views

Expectation of the min of two independent random variables?

How do you compute the minimum of two independent random variables in the general case ? In the particular case there would be two uniform variables with a difference support, how should one proceed ?...
27
votes
9answers
4k views

Is there a *simple* example showing that uncorrelated random variables need not be independent?

Is there a simple example showing that given $X,Y$ uncorrelated (covariance is zero), $X,Y$ are not independent? I have looked up two references, however, I am dissatisfied with both. In Reference ...
27
votes
3answers
14k views

Expectation of the maximum of i.i.d. geometric random variables

Given $n$ independent geometric random variables $X_n$, each with probability parameter $p$ (and thus expectation $E\left(X_n\right) = \frac{1}{p}$), what is $$E_n = E\left(\max_{i \in 1 .. n}X_n\...
26
votes
5answers
45k views

Difference between power law distribution and exponential decay

This is probably a silly one, I've read in Wikipedia about power law and exponential decay. I really don't see any difference between them. For example, if I have a histogram or a plot that looks like ...
26
votes
1answer
18k views

Characteristic function of a standard normal random variable

The characteristic function of a random variable X is given by $$\Phi_X(\omega) = \mathbb{E}e^{j\omega X}=\int_{-\infty}^\infty e^{j\omega x}f_X(x) dx.$$ One can easily capture the similarity between ...
25
votes
1answer
12k views

sum of squares of dependent gaussian random variables

Ok, so the Chi-Squared distribution with n degrees of freedom is the sum of the squares of n independent Gaussian random variables. The trouble is, my Gaussian random variables are not independent. ...
24
votes
3answers
6k views

Intuition for probability density function as a Radon-Nikodym derivative

If someone asked me what it meant for $X$ to be standard normally distributed, I would tell them it means $X$ has probability density function $f(x) = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2\pi}}\mathrm e^{-x^2/2}$ for all $...
23
votes
2answers
20k views

Proof of upper-tail inequality for standard normal distribution

$X \sim \mathcal{N}(0,1)$, then to show that for $x > 0$, $$ \mathbb{P}(X>x) \leq \frac{\exp(-x^2/2)}{x \sqrt{2 \pi}} \>. $$
23
votes
3answers
68k views

Sum of independent Gamma distributions is a Gamma distribution

If $X\sim \mathrm{Gamma}(a_1,b)$ and $Y \sim \mathrm{Gamma}(a_2,b)$, I need to prove $X+Y\sim(a_1+a_2,b)$ if $X$ and $Y$ are independent. I am trying to apply formula for independence integral and ...
23
votes
5answers
40k views

Showing that Y has a uniform distribution if Y=F(X) where F is the cdf of continuous X

Let $X$ be a random variable with a continuous and strictly increasing c.d.f. function $F$ (so that the quantile function $F^{−1}$ is well-defined). Define a new random variable $Y$ by $Y = F(X)$. Show ...
23
votes
3answers
3k views

Existence of independent and identically distributed random variables.

I often see the sentence "let $X_1, X_2, \ldots$ be a sequence of i.i.d. random variables with a certain distribution". But given a random variable $X$ on a probability space $\Omega$, how do I know ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

Probability of picking an odd number from the set of naturals?

I know there's no uniform distribution for a countably infinite set, but I'm wondering if there's still a way to determine the probability of picking from a subset of a countably infinite set. For ...
22
votes
0answers
2k views

A difficult integral

For $\gamma>0,\delta>0$, trying to evaluate this integral: $$ I=\int_0^H\frac{e^{i t x} \log\left(\frac{H}{H-x}\right) ^{\frac{1}{\gamma }-1} \left(\left(\frac{k}{H \log \left(\frac{H}{H-x}\...
21
votes
3answers
8k views

How to deduce the CDF of $W=I^2R$ from the PDFs of $I$ and $R$ independent

Given pdf of $I$ and $R$ (both $I$ and $R$ are independent RV's), how to find cdf of $W =I^2R$? Where, $$ \begin{align} f_I(i)&=6i(1-i), &0 \leq i \leq 1 \\ f_R(r)&=2r, &0 \leq r\...
21
votes
2answers
20k views

Order statistics of i.i.d. exponentially distributed sample

I have been trying to find the general formula for the $k$th order statistics of $n$ i.i.d exponential distribution random variables with mean $1$. And how to calculate the expectation and the ...
20
votes
3answers
36k views

Maximum Likelihood Estimator of parameters of multinomial distribution

Suppose that 50 measuring scales made by a machine are selected at random from the production of the machine and their lengths and widths are measured. It was found that 45 had both measurements ...
20
votes
4answers
74k views

Multiplication of a random variable with constant

Suppose $X$ is a random variable which follows standard normal distribution then how is $KX$ ($K$ is constant) defined. Why does it follow a normal distribution with mean $0$ and variance $K^2$. ...
20
votes
2answers
23k views

How does one generally find a joint distribution function (or density) from marginals when there is dependence?

So I know one can go from a joint density function $f(x,y)$ to marginal density functions, like $f_x(x)$ by integrating against the other variables as in $f_x(x) = \int f(x,y) dy$...but given $f_x(x)$ ...
20
votes
1answer
829 views

Integrating a matrix function involving a determinant and exponential trace

I am trying to find the normalizing constant for a probability distribution and ran into a difficult integral. When $X$ is an $p \times k$ matrix, $a>0,$ and $g>0,$ how can I compute $$\int \...
19
votes
2answers
8k views

Proving the sum of two independent Cauchy Random Variables is Cauchy

Is there any method to show that the sum of two independent Cauchy random variables is Cauchy? I know that it can be derived using Characteristic Functions, but the point is, I have not yet learnt ...
19
votes
4answers
1k views

very elementary proof of Maxwell's theorem

Maxwell's theorem (after James Clerk Maxwell) says that if a function $f(x_1,\ldots,x_n)$ of $n$ real variables is a product $f_1(x_1)\cdots f_n(x_n)$ and is rotation-invariant in the sense that the ...
19
votes
1answer
17k views

Memoryless property and geometric distribution

Suppose $X$ is a random variable taking values in $\mathbb N_0$ with the memoryless property,i.e., for each pair of number $s,t \in \mathbb N$, $$P(X\geq s+t\mid X>t)=P(X\geq s)$$ Show that a ...
18
votes
2answers
439 views

Angular distribution of lines passing through two squares.

Let's say I've got two squares with side length $d$ that are held parallel at a distance $m$ apart. Suppose that particles are randomly falling from above in such a way that the polar angle $\...
18
votes
1answer
6k views

Can we prove the law of total probability for continuous distributions?

If we have a probability space $(\Omega,\mathcal{F},P)$ and $\Omega$ is partitioned into pairwise disjoint subsets $A_{i}$, with $i\in\mathbb{N}$, then the law of total probability says that $P(B)=\...
17
votes
3answers
34k views

Proof of $\frac{(n-1)S^2}{\sigma^2} \backsim \chi^2_{n-1}$

It's a standard result that given $X_1,\cdots ,X_n $ random sample from $N(\mu,\sigma^2)$, the random variable $$\frac{(n-1)S^2}{\sigma^2}$$ has a chi-square distribution with $(n-1)$ degrees of ...
17
votes
2answers
31k views

How to Prove that the minimum of two exponential random variables is another

How can I prove that the minimum of two exponential random variables is another exponential random variable, i.e. Z = min(X,Y)
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Are polynomials dense in Gaussian Sobolev space?

Let $\mu$ be standard Gaussian measure on $\mathbb{R}^n$, i.e. $d\mu = (2\pi)^{-n/2} e^{-|x|^2/2} dx$, and define the Gaussian Sobolev space $H^1(\mu)$ to be the completion of $C_c^\infty(\mathbb{R}^n)...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do depictions of the normal distribution in textbooks often not look normal?

Here's something I've been wondering for a while. Normal distributions as most of you know look like this (standard normal from -4 to 4): But in textbooks and other serious sources, one often sees ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

Math Intuition and Natural Motivation Behind t-Student Distribution

I am trying to understand with basic mathematical background how the $t$-Student distribution is a "natural" pdf to define. A more accessible explanation than this post, or the daunting Biometrika ...
17
votes
1answer
317 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

$66$ points in $100$ shots.

I just received a probability problem from a friend via a text and by the time I took to read it, I was sent a solution as well - which is confusing.. The question goes like this.. A person shoots ...
16
votes
2answers
367 views

How does one prove $\int_0^\infty \prod_{k=1}^\infty \operatorname{\rm sinc}\left( \frac{t}{2^{k+1}} \right) \mathrm{d} t = 2 \pi$

Looking into the distribution of a Fabius random variable: $$ X := \sum_{k=1}^\infty 2^{-k} u_k $$ where $u_k$ are i.i.d. uniform variables on a unit interval, I encountered the following ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

There are 10 men, 10 women, and 10 rooms. Each person randomly goes into a room.

What is the expected number of rooms with at least one man and woman? Our prof. gave us the following solution however, I'm confused about the probability portion of the answer (especially the $(\...
16
votes
2answers
48k views

Probability distribution of a sum of uniform random variables

Given a random variable $$X = \sum_i^n x_i,$$ where $x_i \in (a_i,b_i)$ are independent uniform random variables, how does one find the probability distribution of $X$?