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Probability Repeated Trials

Probability Repeated Trials

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03/18/2014

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\u201cJUST THE MATHS\u201d
UNIT NUMBER
19.5
PROBABILITY 5
(The binomial distribution)
by
A.J.Hobson

19.5.1 Introduction and theory
19.5.2 Exercises
19.5.3 Answers to exercises

UNIT 19.5 - PROBABILITY 5 - THE BINOMIAL DISTRIBUTION
19.5.1 INTRODUCTION AND THEORY

In this Unit, we shall be concerned, \ufb01rstly, with probability problems having onlytwo events (which are mutually exclusive and independent), although many trials may be possible. For example, the pairs of events could be \u201cup and down\u201d, \u201cblack and white\u201d, \u201cgood and bad\u201d, and, in general, \u201csuccessful and unsuccessful\u201d.

Statement of the problem
Suppose that the probability of success in a single trial is una\ufb00ected when successive trials
are carried out (that is, we have independent events). Then what is the probability that, in
nsuccessive trials,exactly rwill be successful ?
General Analysis of the problem
Let us build up the solution in simple stages:
(a) Ifp is the probability of success in a single trial, then the probability of failure is 1\u2212p =q,
say.
(b) In the following table, let S stand for success and let F stand for failure. The table shows
the possible results of one, two or three trials and their corresponding probabilities:
NO. OF TRIALS POSSIBLE RESULTS RESPECTIVE PROBABILITIES
1
F,S
q, p
2
FF,FS,SF,SS
q2, qp, pq, p2
3
FFF,FFS,FSF,FSS,
q3, q2p, q2p, qp2,
SFF,SFS,SSF,SSS
q2p, qp2, qp2, p3
(c)Summary
(i) Inone trial, the probabilities that there will be exactly 0 or exactly 1 successes are the
respective terms of the expression
q+ p.
(ii) Intwo trials, the probabilities that there will be exactly 0, exactly 1 or exactly 2 successes
are the respective terms of the expression
q2+ 2qp+ p2; that is,(q+ p)2.
1
(iii) Inthree trials, the probabilities that there will be exactly 0, exactly 1, exactly 2 or
exactly 3 successes are the respective terms of the expression
q3+ 3q2p+ 3qp2+ p3; that is,(q+ p)3.

(iv) Inany number,n, of trials, the probabilities that there will be exactly 0, exactly 1, exactly 2, exactly 3,...... or exactlyn successes are the respective terms in the binomial expansion of the expression

(q +p)n.
(d)MAIN RESULT:
The probability that, inn trials, there will be exactlyr successes, is the term containingpr
in the binomial expansion of (q +p)n.
It can be shown that this is the value of
nCr qn\u2212rpr.
EXAMPLES
1. Determine the probability that, in 6 tosses of a coin, there will be exactly 4 heads.
Solution
q= 0.5, p= 0.5, n= 6, r= 4.
Hence, the required probability is given by
6C4.(0.5)2.(0.5)4=6!
2!4!.14.1
16=15
64.
2. Determine the probability of obtaining the most probable number of heads in 6 tosses
of a coin.
Solution
The most probable number of heads is given by12\u00d7 6 = 3.
The probability of obtaining exactly 3 heads is given by
6C3.(0.5)3(0.5)3=6!
3!3!.18.18=20
64\ue0000.31
2

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