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Principles of Communication

Principles of Communication

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Published by ngpvn

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Published by: ngpvn on Nov 15, 2009
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02/02/2015

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 2.1
2
UU
CHAPTER 2 
Probability and Random Variables
2.1 Introduction
At the start of Sec. 1.1.2, we had indicated that one of the possible waysof classifying the signals is: deterministic or random. By
random 
we mean
unpredictable 
; that is, in the case of a random signal, we cannot with certaintypredict its future value, even if the entire past history of the signal is known. If thesignal is of the deterministic type, no such uncertainty exists.Consider the signal
( ) ( )
1
cos2
x t A f
= π + θ
. If
A
,
θ
and
1
are known,then (we are assuming them to be constants) we know the value of
( )
x
for all
.(
A
,
θ
and
1
can be calculated by observing the signal over a short period oftime).Now, assume that
( )
x
is the output of an oscillator with very poorfrequency stability and calibration. Though, it was set to produce a sinusoid offrequency
1
f
=
, frequency actually put out maybe
1
'where
( )
f f
111
'
±
.Even this value may not remain constant and could vary with time. Then,observing the output of such a source over a long period of time would not be ofmuch use in predicting the future values. We say that the source output varies ina random manner.Another example of a random signal is the voltage at the terminals of areceiving antenna of a radio communication scheme. Even if the transmitted
 
2.2(radio) signal is from a highly stable source, the voltage at the terminals of areceiving antenna varies in an unpredictable fashion. This is because theconditions of propagation of the radio waves are not under our control.But
randomness is the essence of communication.
Communicationtheory involves the assumption that the transmitter is connected to a source,whose output, the receiver is not able to predict with certainty. If the studentsknow ahead of time what is the teacher (source + transmitter) is going to say(and what jokes he is going to crack), then there is no need for the students (thereceivers) to attend the class!Although less obvious, it is also true that there is no communicationproblem unless the transmitted signal is disturbed during propagation orreception by unwanted (random) signals, usually termed as
noise 
and
interference.
(We shall take up the statistical characterization of noise inChapter 3.)However, quite a few random signals, though their exact behavior isunpredictable, do exhibit statistical regularity. Consider again the reception ofradio signals propagating through the atmosphere. Though it would be difficult toknow the exact value of the voltage at the terminals of the receiving antenna atany given instant, we do find that the
average values 
of the antenna output overtwo successive one minute intervals do not differ significantly. If the conditions ofpropagation do not change very much, it would be true of any two averages (overone minute) even if they are well spaced out in time. Consider even a simplerexperiment, namely, that of tossing an unbiased coin (by a person without anymagical powers). It is true that we do not know in advance whether the outcomeon a particular toss would be a head or tail (otherwise, we stop tossing the coinat the start of a cricket match!). But, we know for sure that in a long sequence oftosses, about half of the outcomes would be heads (If this does not happen, wesuspect either the coin or tosser (or both!)).
 
2.3Statistical regularity of averages is an experimentally verifiablephenomenon in many cases involving random quantities. Hence, we are temptedto develop mathematical tools for the analysis and quantitative characterizationof random signals. To be able to analyze random signals, we need to understand
random variables.
The resulting mathematical topics are: probability theory,random variables and random (stochastic) processes. In this chapter, we shalldevelop the probabilistic characterization of random variables. In chapter 3, weshall extend these concepts to the characterization of random processes.
2.2 Basics of Probability
We shall introduce some of the basic concepts of probability theory bydefining some terminology relating to
random experiments 
(i.e., experimentswhose outcomes are not predictable).
2.2.1. Terminology
Def. 2.1:
 
Outcome
 The end result of an experiment. For example, if the experiment consistsof throwing a die, the outcome would be anyone of the six faces,
16
,........,
F
 
 
Def. 2.2: Random experiment
 An experiment whose outcomes are not known in advance. (e.g. tossing acoin, throwing a die, measuring the noise voltage at the terminals of a resistoretc.)
 
Def. 2.3: Random event
 A random event is an outcome or set of outcomes of a random experimentthat share a common attribute. For example, considering the experiment ofthrowing a die, an event could be the 'face
1
' or 'even indexed faces'(
246
,,
F F
). We denote the events by upper case letters such as
A
,
or
A A
12
,
⋅⋅⋅⋅
 
 

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