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Questions tagged [probability-theory]

Use this tag only if your question is about the modern theoretical footing for probability, for example probability spaces, random variables, law of large numbers, and central limit theorems. Use [tag:probability] instead for specific problems and explicit computations. Use [tag:probability-distributions] for specific distribution functions, and consider [tag:stochastic-processes] when appropriate.

30
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2answers
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Explain why $E(X) = \int_0^\infty (1-F_X (t)) \, dt$ for every nonnegative random variable $X$

Let $X$ be a non-negative random variable and $F_{X}$ the corresponding CDF. Show, $$E(X) = \int_0^\infty (1-F_X (t)) \, dt$$ when $X$ has : a) a discrete distribution, b) a continuous ...
21
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3answers
7k 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\...
65
votes
10answers
14k 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 ...
87
votes
5answers
133k views

Is the product of two Gaussian random variables also a Gaussian?

Say I have $X \sim \mathcal N(a, b)$ and $Y\sim \mathcal N(c, d)$. Is $XY$ also normally distributed? Is the answer any different if we know that $X$ and $Y$ are independent?
14
votes
1answer
53k views

Gamma Distribution out of sum of exponential random variables

I have a sequence $T_1,T_2,\ldots$ of independent exponential random variables with paramter $\lambda$. I take the sum $S=\sum_{i=1}^n T_i$ and now I would like to calculate the probability density ...
50
votes
2answers
10k 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, ...
47
votes
7answers
38k 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 been ...
23
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3answers
3k views

If $E[X|Y]=Y$ almost surely and $E[Y|X]=X$ almost surely then $X=Y$ almost surely

Assume that $X$ and $Y$ are two random variables such that $Y=E[X|Y]$ almost surely and $X= E[Y|X]$ almost surely. Prove that $X=Y$ almost surely. The hint I was given is to evaluate: $$E[X-Y;X>a,...
18
votes
1answer
4k views

Moment generating functions/ Characteristic functions of $X,Y$ factor implies $X,Y$ independent.

This is solely a reference request. I have heard a few versions of the following theorem: If the joint moment generating function $\mathbb{E}[e^{uX+vY}] = \mathbb{E}[e^{uX}]\mathbb{E}[e^{vY}]$ ...
37
votes
4answers
20k views

Are functions of independent variables also independent?

It's a really simple question. However I didn't see it in books and I tried to find the answer on the web but failed. If I have two independent random variables, $X_1$ and $X_2$, then I define two ...
54
votes
9answers
24k views

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 ...
64
votes
6answers
17k 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 ...
26
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 ...
32
votes
4answers
17k 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 \...
21
votes
5answers
36k 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 ...
64
votes
14answers
21k 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 ...
35
votes
1answer
7k 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 ) $ ...
35
votes
2answers
6k views

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 wide-sense-...
44
votes
7answers
106k 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{...
8
votes
3answers
9k views

Hitting probability of biased random walk on the integer line

Lets say we start at point 1. Each successive point you have a, say, 2/3 chance of increasing your position by 1 and a 1/3 chance of decreasing your position by 1. The walk ends when you reach 0. ...
19
votes
2answers
9k views

The limit of a convergent Gaussian random variable sequence is still a Gaussian random variable

I'm trying to prove this conclusion but have some problems with one of the steps. Assume $X_1,\ldots,X_n,\ldots$ is a sequence of Gaussian random variables, converging almost surely to $X$, prove ...
15
votes
5answers
11k views

Why isn't there a uniform probability distribution over the positive real numbers?

Apparently, the solution to the Card Doubling Paradox is that a uniform probability distribution over the positive real numbers doesn't exist. Can anyone explain why this is the case and what ...
249
votes
8answers
17k views

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 ...
28
votes
3answers
19k views

Example where union of increasing sigma algebras is not a sigma algebra

If $\mathcal{F}_1 \subset \mathcal{F}_2 \subset \dotsb$ are sigma algebras, what is wrong with claiming that $\cup_i\mathcal{F}_i$ is a sigma algebra? It seems closed under complement since for all $...
13
votes
1answer
3k views

how to show convergence in probability imply convergence a.s. in this case?

Assume that $X_1,\cdots,X_n$ are independent r.v., not necessarily iid, Let $S_n=X_1+\cdots+X_n$, suppose that $S_n$ converges in probability, how can we show that $S_n$ converges a.s.?
36
votes
3answers
11k views

Choose a random number between $0$ and $1$ and record its value. Keep doing it until the sum of the numbers exceeds $1$. How many tries do we need?

Choose a random number between $0$ and $1$ and record its value. Do this again and add the second number to the first number. Keep doing this until the sum of the numbers exceeds $1$. What's the ...
27
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
22
votes
1answer
3k views

Constructing a subset not in $\mathcal{B}(\mathbb{R})$ explicitly

While reading David Williams's "Probability with Martingales", the following statement caught my fancy: Every subset of $\mathbb{R}$ which we meet in everyday use is an element of Borel $\sigma$-...
26
votes
3answers
5k views

Random walk on $n$-cycle

For a graph $G$, let $W$ be the (random) vertex occupied at the first time the random walk has visited every vertex. That is, $W$ is the last new vertex to be visited by the random walk. Prove the ...
18
votes
3answers
13k views

Convergence of random variables in probability but not almost surely.

Can somebody provide me with a sequence of (real-valued) functions, say on $[0,1]$ with the Lebesgue measure, such that the sequence converges in probability, or maybe in $\Vert \cdot \Vert _{L^2}$, ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Conditional expectation for a sum of iid random variables: $E(\xi\mid\xi+\eta)=E(\eta\mid\xi+\eta)=\frac{\xi+\eta}{2}$

I don't really know how to start proving this question. Let $\xi$ and $\eta$ be independent, identically distributed random variables with $E(|\xi|)$ finite. Show that $E(\xi\mid\xi+\eta)=E(\eta\mid\...
81
votes
8answers
31k views

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 ...
39
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How to split an integral exactly in two parts

This question is a by-product of a conversation with Theo Buehler in comments to this answer. Let's settle definitions. Definition Let $(\Omega, \mathcal{F}, \mu)$ be a measure space. We say that $X\...
4
votes
3answers
284 views

Can one infer independence by simple reasoning/intuition?

From my recent experience in probability, it feels as though independence is something we "discover" from the system via the equation: $$P(A)*P(B)=P(A\cap B)$$ Could one ever conclude independence ...
90
votes
5answers
12k views

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, ...
42
votes
3answers
8k views

What is the importance of the infinitesimal generator of Brownian motion?

I have read that the infinitesimal generator of Brownian motion is $\frac{1}{2}\small\triangle$. Unfortunately, I have no background in semigroup theory, and the expositions of semigroup theory I have ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

A criterion for independence based on Characteristic function

Let $X$ and $Y$ be real-valued random variables defined on the same space. Let's use $\phi_X$ to denote the characteristic function of $X$. If $\phi_{X+Y}=\phi_X\phi_Y$ then must $X$ and $Y$ be ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Show that $E(X)=\int_{0}^{\infty}P(X\ge x)\,dx$ for non-negative random variable $X$

Show that for a non-negative random variable $X$, $$\mathbb E(X)=\int_0^\infty \mathbb P(X\ge x) \, dx.$$ I started with $$\mathbb E(X)=\int_0^\infty x \, dF(x)=\int_0^\infty \int_0^x dt\,dF(x).$$ ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Correlated joint normal distribution: calculating a probability

Given $$ f_{XY}(x,y) = \frac{1}{2\pi \sqrt{1-\rho^2}} \exp \left( -\frac{x^2 +y^2 - 2\rho xy}{2(1-\rho^2)} \right) $$ $Y = Z\sqrt{1-\rho^2} + \rho X$ And $$ f_{XZ}(x,z) = \frac{1}{2\pi } \exp \...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

$X$ and $Y$ i.i.d., $X+Y$ and $X-Y$ independent, $\mathbb{E}(X)=0 $and $\mathbb{E}(X^2)=1$. Show $X \sim N(0,1)$

$X$ and $Y$ are independent and identically distribued (i.i.d.), $X+Y$ and $X-Y$ are independent, $\mathbb{E}(X)=0$ and $\mathbb{E}(X^2)=1$. Show that $X\sim N(0,1)$. We should use characteristic ...
6
votes
3answers
953 views

Using Recursion to Solve Coupon Collector

I read a brilliant answer by Mike Spivey on one of the questions and I was wondering how I could use it to solve a coupon collectors problem. The problem is : There are coupons labelled 1,2,3...,10 ...
5
votes
4answers
655 views

Conditional expectation of independent variables

Claim. Let $Z_1, Z_2$ be two independent and identically distributed random variables. Then we have: $$ \mathbb E[Z_1|Z_1+Z_2] =\frac{Z_1+Z_2}{2}. $$ Proof. To see this, I have proceeded as follows. ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the name of this theorem, and are there any caveats?

For random variable $X$ that follows some distribution, $f(x)$ is the probability density function of that distribution if and only if $$\mathbb{E}[\phi(X)] = \int_{-\infty}^\infty \phi(x) f(x)dx$$ ...
3
votes
1answer
928 views

When Superposition of Two Renewal Processes is another Renewal Process?

When superposition of two renewal processes is another renewal process? If you merge (superpose) two Poisson processes with parameters $\lambda_1$ and $\lambda_2$, the outcome is another Poisson ...
6
votes
3answers
962 views

Distribution of $(XY)^Z$ if $(X,Y,Z)$ is i.i.d. uniform on $[0,1]$

$X,Y$ and $Z$ are independent uniformly distributed on $[0,1]$ How is random variable $(XY)^Z$ distributed? I had an idea to logarithm this and use convolution integral for the sum, but I'm not sure ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Generalized Second Borel-Cantelli lemma

A generalized version of the second Borel-Cantelli lemma says Theorem 5.3.2. Second Borel-Cantelli lemma, II. Let $\mathcal F_n, n \ge 0$ be a filtration with $F_0 = \{\emptyset, \Omega\}$ and $...
4
votes
2answers
756 views

If $X_n \stackrel{d}{\to} X$ and $c_n \to c$, then $c_n \cdot X_n \stackrel{d}{\to} c \cdot X$

Let $X_n$, $X$ random variables on a probability space $(\Omega,\mathcal{A},\mathbb{P})$ and $(c_n)_n \subseteq \mathbb{R}$, $c \in \mathbb{R}$ such that $c_n \to c$ and $X_n \stackrel{d}{\to} X$. ...
26
votes
2answers
1k views

A simple way to obtain $\prod_{p\in\mathbb{P}}\frac{1}{1-p^{-s}}=\sum_{n=1}^{\infty}\frac{1}{n^s}$.

Let $ p_1<p_2 <\cdots <p_k < \cdots $ the increasing list in set $\mathbb{P}$ of all prime numbers . By sum of infinite geometric series we have $\sum_{k=0}^\infty r^k = \frac{1}{1-r}$, ...
19
votes
4answers
15k views

Density of first hitting time of Brownian motion with drift

I just started learning about Brownian motion and I am struggling with this question: Suppose that $X_t = B_t + ct$, where $B$ is a Brownian motion, $c$ is a constant. Set $H_a = \inf \{ t: X_t =a \}$...