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Chapter Four
Discrete Random Variables

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McGraw-Hill/Irwin

4.1
4.2
4.3
*4.4

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## Two Types of Random Variables

Discrete Probability Distributions
The Binomial Distribution
The Poisson Distribution

## 4.1 Random Variables

A random variable is a variable that assumes
numerical values that are determined by the
outcome of an experiment.
Discrete random variable: Possible values can be
counted or listed. [e.g. the number of defective units
in a batch of 20, a listener rating (on a scale of 1 to
5) in a AccuRating music survey]
Continuous random variable: May assume any
numerical value in one or more intervals. [e.g. the
waiting time for a credit card authorization, the
interest rate charged on a business loan.]
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## 4.2 Discrete Probability

Distributions
The probability distribution of a discrete random variable is a table,
graph, or formula that gives the probability associated with each
possible value that the variable can assume.

## Example 4.3: Number of Radios

Sold at Sound City in a Week
p(x), Probability
0
p(0) = 0.03
1
p(1) = 0.20
2
p(2) = 0.50
3
p(3) = 0.20
4
p(4) = 0.05
5
p(5) = 0.02
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## Expected Value of a Discrete

Random Variable
The mean or expected value of a discrete random
variable is:

X xp( x)
All x

## Example 4.4: Expected Number of Radios Sold in a Week

p(x), Probability
x p(x)
0
p(0) = 0.03
0(0.03) = 0.00
1
p(1) = 0.20
1(0.20) = 0.20
2
p(2) = 0.50
2(0.50) = 1.00
3
p(3) = 0.20
3(0.20) = 0.60
4
p(4) = 0.05
4(0.05) = 0.20
5
p(5) = 0.02
5(0.02) = 0.10
1.00
2.10
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## Variance and Standard Deviation

The variance of a discrete random variable is:

X2 ( x X ) 2 p ( x)
All x

X X2

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Deviation

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Example 4.7:
of
0
0.1323
1
0.2420
2
0.0050
3
0.1620
4 Variance
0.1805
2

5
X 0.89
0.1682

## Variance and Standard Deviation of the Number

p(x), Probability
(x - X)2 p(x)
p(0) = 0.03
(0 2.1)2 (0.03) =
p(1) = 0.20

(1 2.1)2 (0.20) =

p(2) = 0.50

(2 2.1)2 (0.50) =

p(3) = 0.20

(3 2.1)2 (0.20) =

## p(4) = 0.05 Standard deviation

(4 2.1)2 (0.05) =
p(5) = 0.02 X
1.00

2
0.89 (5
0.2.1)
9434
(0.02) =

## 4.3 The Binomial Distribution

The Binomial Experiment
1. Experiment consists of n identical trials

## 2. Each trial results in either success or failure

3. Probability of success, p, is constant from trial to trial
4. Trials are independent

## If x = the total number of successes in n trials of a

binomial experiment, then x a binomial random
variable and the probability of x successes in n
trials is:
n!
p(x) =
p x q n -x
x!(n - x)!
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## Example: Binomial Probabilities

Example 4.10
x =
number of patients who will experience nausea
following treatment with Phe-Mycin

## n = 4 , p = 0.1 , q = 1 p = 1 - 0.1 = 0.9

Find the probability that 2 of the 4 patients treated will experience
nausea.

p(2) P(x=2)=

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4!
(0.1) 2 (0.9) 4-2 =6(0.1) 2 (0.9) 2 =0.0486
2!(4-2)!

n = 4, p = 0.1

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## Binomial Probability Table

p = 0.1
Table 4.7(a) for n = 4 trials
values of p (.05 to .50)

P(x = 2)=.0486
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## Mean and Variance of a Binomial

Random Variable
If x is a binomial random variable with parameters n and p, then

Mean

Variance

Standard deviation

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X = np
x2 = npq , q 1 - p
x = x2

## 4.4 The Poisson Distribution

Consider the number of times an event occurs over an interval of time
or space, and assume that
1.
2.

## The probability of occurrence is the same for any intervals of equal

length.
The occurrence in any interval is independent of an occurrence in
any non-overlapping interval.

## If x = the number of occurrences in a specified interval, then x a

Poisson random variable and the probability of x occurrences in the
interval is:

e x
p(x) =
x!
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## expected number of occurrences

e 2.71828..., the Naperian constant

## Example: Poisson Probabilities

Example 4.13
x =
number of Cleveland air traffic control errors during one
week
= 0.4 (expected number of errors per week)
Find the probability that 3 errors will occur in a week.

e -0.4 (0.4) 3
p(3) P(x = 3) =
= .0072
3!
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Table 4.9

=0.4

x
0
1
2
3
4
5

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0.1
0.9048
0.0905
0.0045
0.0002
0.0000
0.0000

0.2
0.8187
0.1637
0.0164
0.0011
0.0001
0.0000

0.4
0.6703
0.2681
0.0536
0.0072
0.0007
0.0001

e -0.4 (0.4)3
p(3) P(x = 3) =
= 0.0072
3!

1.00
0.3679
0.3679
0.1839
0.0613
0.0153
0.0031

= 0.4

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## Mean and Variance of a Poisson

Random Variable
If x is a Poisson random variable with parameter , then

Mean

X =

Variance

x2 =

Standard Deviation

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x = x2

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## Discrete Random Variables

Summary
4.1
: Two Types of Random Variables
4.2 Discrete Probability Distributions
4.3 The Binomial Distribution
*4.4 The Poisson Distribution

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