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Published by: Manoj Jha on Sep 12, 2010
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  • Rules for Computing Probabilities
  • Example
  • Bayes¶ Theorem

A Survey of Probability Concepts

A probability is a measure of the likelihood that an event in the future will happen. It can only assume a value between 0 and 1. 

A value near zero means the event is not likely to happen. A value near one means it is likely. There are three ways of assigning probability: ± classical, ± empirical, and ± subjective. 


Definitions continued 

An experiment is a situation involving chance or probability that leads to results called outcomes. An outcome is the result of a single trial of an experiment. An event is one or more outcomes of an experiment.  


Assigning Probabilities
Three approaches to assigning probabilities ± Classical ± Empirical ± Subjective


Classical Probability Consider an experiment of rolling a six-sided die. and a six) in the collection of six equally likely possible outcomes. 5 . a four. What is the probability of the event ³an even number of spots appear face up´? The possible outcomes are: There are three ³favorable´ outcomes (a two.

Mutually Exclusive Events  Events are mutually exclusive if the occurrence of any one event means that none of the others can occur at the same time.  6 . Events are independent if the occurrence of one event does not affect the occurrence of another.

Collectively Exhaustive Events  Events are collectively exhaustive if at least one of the events must occur when an experiment is conducted. 7 .

8 .Empirical Probability The empirical approach to probability is based on what is called the law of large numbers. The key to establishing probabilities empirically is that more observations will provide a more accurate estimate of the probability.

If we toss the coin a great number of times. 100.Law of Large Numbers Suppose we toss a fair coin.000 and 10. 500. The result of each toss is either a head or a tail. 10.000 times and then computing the relative frequency of heads 9 .5. the probability of the outcome of heads will approach . 50. The following table reports the results of an experiment of flipping a fair coin 1. 1.

Example On February 1.98 113 10 . what is the probability that a future mission is successfully completed? Number of successful flights Probability of a successful flight ! Total number of flights 111 ! ! 0.Empirical Probability . This was the second disaster in 113 space missions for NASA. 2003. On the basis of this information. the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded.

Problem Two dice are rolled. find the probability that the sum is a) equal to 1 b) equal to 4 c) less than 13 .

(3.(6.(5.(2.3).1).(5.(4.6)  (4.(3.3).5).3).1).2).(1.(3.(3.(4.2).4).4).5).4).1).4).1).6)  (6.(5.6)  (2.6) }  Let E be the event "sum equal to 1".Solution a) The sample space S of two dice is shown below.5).(2.2).(2.(1.5).(1.2).3).(6.(3.(4.1).(5.(6.(1.5).(5.2).(2.(6. hence  (E) = n(E) / n(S) = 0 / 36 = 0 .(2. There are no outcomes which correspond to a sum equal to 1.3).(4.2).6)  (5.4).6)  (3.5).(4. S = { (1.3).(1.1).(6.4).

hence. hence. E = S.(2. (E) = n(E) / n(S) = 3 / 36 = 1 / 12 c) All possible ouctcomes.    b) Three possible ouctcomes give a sum equal to 4: E = {(1.2).1)}.3).(3. (E) = n(E) / n(S) = 36 / 36 = 1 . give a sum less than 13.

. find the probability that the die shows an odd number and the coin shows a head.Problem  A die is rolled and a coin is tossed.

(6.(4.(5.(5.H).T).T).T).T).H) (1.T)} Let E be the event "the die shows an odd number and the coin shows a head".(6.H).H).H)} The probability (E) is given by (E) = n(E) / n(S) = 3 / 12 = 1 / 4    .H).H).H).T).(3.Solution     The sample space S of the experiment is as follows S = { (1.(2.(3.(3.H).(5.(2. Event E may be described as follows E={(1.(4.

If A and B are two events that are not mutually exclusive. the probability of one or the other event¶s occurring equals the sum of their probabilities.P(A and B) 16 . then (A or B) is given by the following formula: P(A or B) = P(A) + P(B) .If two events A and B are mutually exclusive. P(A or B) = P(A) + P(B)  The General Rule of Addition .Rules for Computing Probabilities Rules of Addition  Special Rule of Addition .

or .1/52 = 16/52.Addition Rule .3077 17 .P(A and B) = 4/52 + 13/52 .Example What is the probability that a card chosen at random from a standard deck of cards will be either a king or a heart? P(A or B) = P(A) + P(B) .

Example  If the probabilities are respectively 0.23 that a person purchasing a new automobile will choose the color green.21 and 0.15. what is the probability that a given buyer will purchase a new automobile that comes in one of those colors? . 0. red or blue.09. white. 0.

a green.21+0. red.68 .23 =0.R and B be the events that a buyer selects respectively. white.W. or blue automobiles.09+0. the probability is (G U W U R U B)= (G)+ (W)+ (R)+ (B) =0. Since these four events are mutually exclusive.15+0.Solution  Let G.

20 . P(A) + P(~A) = 1 or P(A) = 1 .P(~A).The Complement Rule The complement rule is used to determine the probability of an event occurring by subtracting the probability of the event not occurring from 1.

12.7. 0.28.5. what is the probability that he will service at least 5 cars on his next day at work? .4.10 and 0.19. 0. or 8 or more cars on any given workday are respectively. 0.6. 0.Example  If the probabilities that an automobile mechanic will service 3.07.24. 0.

Solution  Let E be the event that at least 5 cars are serviced. (E)=1-0.19=0. Now.31 Hence. Ec is the event that fewer than 5 cars are serviced.12+0.31=0. (E)=1.69 . Since (Ec)=0.(Ec) where.

Joint Probability ± Venn Diagram JOINT PROBABILITY A probability that measures the likelihood two or more events will happen concurrently. 23 .

This rule is written: P(A and B) = P(A)P(B)  24 . Two events A and B are independent if the occurrence of one has no effect on the probability of the occurrence of the other.Special Rule of Multiplication   The special rule of multiplication requires that two events A and B are independent.

P(R1 and R2) = P(R1)P(R2) = (. so P(R2) = .60 The probability that the second member selected made a reservation is also .60) = .60.36 25 .60. written as P(R1) = . Since the number of AAA members is very large.60)(. you may assume that R1 and R2 are independent. What is the probability both made airline reservations last year? Solution: The probability the first member made an airline reservation last year is . Two members are selected at random.Multiplication Rule-Example A survey by the American Automobile association (AAA) revealed 60 percent of its members made airline reservations last year.60.

Conditional Probability A conditional probability is the probability of a particular event occurring. 26 . given that another event has occurred. The probability of the event A given that the event B has occurred is written P(A|B).

A and B. 27 . the joint probability that both events will happen is found by multiplying the probability that event A will happen by the conditional probability of event B occurring given that A has occurred.General Multiplication Rule It states that for two events.

robability of A given B P(A B) ! P(A ‰ B) . where P ( B ) { 0 P(B)  Independent events: P( A B) ! P( A) P( B A) ! P( B) .Conditional Probability ‡ Conditional Probability .

Conditional Probability (continued) Rules of conditional probability: P( A B) ! P( A ‰ B) so P( A ‰ B) ! P( A B) P( B) P( B) ! P( B A) P( A) If events A and D are statistically independent: P ( A D ) ! P ( A) P ( D A) ! P ( D ) so P ( A ‰ D ) ! P ( A) P ( D ) .

Example A golfer has 12 golf shirts in his closet. He plays golf two days in a row and does not do laundry. He gets dressed in the dark. What is the likelihood both shirts selected are white? 30 .General Multiplication Rule . so he just grabs a shirt and puts it on. Suppose 9 of these shirts are white and the others blue.

General Multiplication Rule . To determine the probability of 2 white shirts being selected we use formula: P(AB) = P(A) P(B|A) P(W1 and W2) = P(W1)P(W2 |W1) = (9/12)(8/11) = 0.55 31 . given that the first shirt selected is also white.Example     The event that the first shirt selected is white is W1. is P(W2 | W1) = 8/11. The probability is P(W1) = 9/12 The event that the second shirt selected is also white is identified as W2. The conditional probability that the second shirt selected is white.

g.Contingency Tables A CONTINGENCY TABLE is a table used to classify sample observations according to two or more identifiable characteristics E. A survey of 150 adults classified each as to gender and the number of movies attended last month. Each respondent is classified according to two criteria²the number of movies attended and gender. 32 .

What is the probability of randomly selecting an executive who is loyal to the company (would remain) and who has more than 10 years of service? 33 .Example A sample of executives were surveyed about their loyalty to their company.Contingency Tables . would you remain with the company or take the other position?´ The responses of the 200 executives in the survey were cross-classified with their length of service with the company. ³If you were given an offer by another company equal to or slightly better than your present position. One of the questions was.

or . Since there are 120 executives out of the 200 in the survey who would remain with the company P(A1) = 120/200. Event B4 happens if a randomly selected executive has more than 10 years of service with the company.60. P(B4| A1) is the conditional probability that an executive with more than 10 years of service would remain with the company. so P(B4| A1) = 75/120.Contingency Tables . Of the 120 executives who would remain 75 have more than 10 years of service. 34 .Example Event A1 happens if a randomly selected executive will remain with the company despite an equal or slightly better offer from another company. Thus.

60 IBM .30 .50 .20 .Example Counts AT& T Telecommunication Computers Total 40 20 60 IBM 10 30 40 Total 50 50 100 robabilities AT& T Telecommunication Computers Total . 50 .2 0 .10 .00 Probability that a project is undertaken by IBM given it is a telecommunications project: P ( IBM T ) ! P ( IBM + T ) P (T ) 0 . 10 ! ! 0 .40 Total .Contingency Table .40 .50 1.

P( An ) 1 2 3 1 2 3 The probability of the union of several independent events is 1 minus the product of probabilities of their complements: P ( A Š A Š A Š.Product Rules for Independent Events The probability of the intersection of several independent events is the product of their separate individual probabilities: P ( A ‰ A ‰ A ‰. Š An ) ! 1  P( A ) P( A ) P( A ). P ( An ) 1 2 3 1 2 3 . ‰ An ) ! P( A ) P ( A ) P ( A ).

The Law of Total Probability and Bayes¶ Theorem The law of total probability: P( A) ! P( A ‰ B)  P( A ‰ B ) In terms of conditional probabilities: P( A) ! P( A ‰ B)  P( A ‰ B ) ! P ( A B) P ( B)  P( A B ) P( B ) More generally (where Bi make up a partition): P( A) ! § P( A ‰ B ) i ! § P( AB ) P( B ) i i .

2 P (U ) ! P (U ‰ W )  P (U ‰ W ) ! P (U W ) P (W )  P (U W ) P (W ) ! (. 75 )(. 80 )  (. 60  . 06 ! . 80   P (W ) ! 1  . 30 P (W ) ! . 75 P (U W ) ! .The Law of Total ProbabilityExample Event U: Stock market will go up in the next year Event W: Economy will do well in the next year P (U W ) ! . 66 . 8 ! . 20 ) ! . 30 )(.

It is computed using the following formula:  39 .Bayes¶ Theorem  Bayes¶ Theorem is a method for revising a probability given additional information.

Example    An economist believes that during periods of high economic growth.40 P ( A L) ! 0.High growth P(H) = 0.30 M . the dollar appreciates with probability 0.Low growth P(L) = 0.20. dollar appreciates with probability 0.70 P ( A M ) ! 0.30. and during periods of low economic growth.20 Event A  Appreciation P ( A H ) ! 0. the U.20 .50 L .Moderate growth P(M) = 0.Bayes¶ Theorem Extended .50. and the probability of low economic growth is 0. the probability of high economic growth is 0. What is the probability we are experiencing a period of high economic growth? Partition: H . the probability of moderate economic growth is 0.70.40.S. the dollar appreciates with probability 0. in periods of moderate economic growth.50. Suppose the dollar has been appreciating during the present period. During any period of time.

20)( 0. 0.30)  ( 0.21 ! ! 0.70)( 0.04 0.70)( 0.21 0.45 ! 0.21 0.30) ! ( 0.467 ! .20  0.Example 2-11 (continued) P( H + A) P( H A) ! P( A) P( H + A) P( H + A)  P( M + A)  P( L + A) P( A H ) P ( H ) ! P( A H) P( H)  P( A M ) P( M )  P( A L) P( L) ( 0.20) .40)( 050)  ( 0.

Example 42 .Bayes Theorem .

) 43 .Bayes Theorem ± Example (cont.

Bayes Theorem ± Example (cont.) 44 .

Bayes Theorem ± Example (cont.) 45 .

Bayes Theorem ± Example (cont.) 46 .

Unfortunately. at an outdoor ceremony in the desert. the weatherman has predicted rain for tomorrow. he incorrectly forecasts rain 10% of the time. the weatherman correctly forecasts rain 90% of the time. it has rained only 5 days each year.Example  Marie is getting married tomorrow. In recent years. What is the probability that it will rain on the day of Marie's wedding? . When it doesn't rain. When it actually rains.

Solution:  The sample space is defined by two mutually-exclusive events . the weatherman predicts rain 10% of the time. It does not rain on Marie's wedding Event B.1 [When it does not rain.0136985 [It rains 5 days out of the year.it rains or it does not rain. a third event occurs when the weatherman predicts rain.9863014 [It does not rain 360 days out of the year. Additionally.]         . Event A2. Event A1. we know the following: P( A1 ) = 5/365 =0.9 [When it rains.] P( A2 ) = 360/365 = 0. It rains on Marie's wedding. the weatherman predicts rain 90% of the time.] P( B | A1 ) = 0. Notation for these events appears below.] P( B | A2 ) = 0. In terms of probabilities. The weatherman predicts rain.

P( A1 | B ) = P( A1 ) P( B | A1 ) --------------------------------------------P( A1 ) P( B | A1 ) + P( A2 ) P( B | A2 ) P( A1 | B ) = (0. the probability it will rain on the day of Marie's wedding.014)(0.111       . The answer can be determined from Bayes' theorem. We want to know P( A1 | B ). given a forecast for rain by the weatherman.9) + (0. as shown below.986)(0.014)(0.9) / [ (0.1)] P( A1 | B ) = 0.

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