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Chapter

8
Probability and
Rules on Probability

Chapter Outline
Introduction
Experiments, Outcomes
and Sample Spaces
Operations with Events
Probability of an Event
Rules on Probability

Probability

Introduction
In general, the word probability is used to define the chance of occurrence of an
event. A lot of people are familiar with probability from observing games of chance, such
as card games and lotteries.
Probability is not only used in games of chances. Predictions in the fields of
weather forecasting, investments, insurance, and other areas rely on probability. This
chapter introduces the basic concepts of probability and the different rules used to solve
problems involving probability.

Experiments, Outcomes and Sample Spaces


An experiment or statistical experiment, is the process that when performed,
results in one and only one of many observations. These observations are called
outcomes. The collection of all outcomes for an experiment is called a sample space, and
is usually denoted by S .

Example 1
Determine the sample space in each experiment.
a. rolling a die once
b. tossing a coin twice
c. a coin is tossed until a tail or three heads appear
Solution

Example 2
A newly married couple is planning to have three children. List the
elements of the sample space S1 using the letter M for male and the
letter F for female. Define a second sample space S 2 where the
elements represent the number of females.
Solution

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Example 3
An experiment involves tossing a pair of dice, 1 green and 1 red,
and recording the numbers that come up. If x equals the outcome on the
green die and y the outcome on the red die, describe the sample space.
Solution

An event is a subset of the sample space. If an event is a set containing only one
element of the sample space, then it is called a simple event. A compound event is one
that can be expressed as the union of simple events.
Two events A and B are mutually exclusive if they cannot occur together. Two
events are said to de independent if the occurrence of one does not affect the occurrence
of the other.
The null space or empty space is a subset of the sample space that contains no
elements. We denote this event by the symbol .

Example 4
For the sample space of Example 3,
a. List the elements corresponding to the event A that the sum is greater
than 8
b. List the elements corresponding to the event B that a 2 occurs on either
die.
c. List the elements corresponding to the event C that a number greater
than 4 comes up on the green die.
Solution

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Operations with Events


1. Intersection of Events
The intersection of two events A and B, denoted by the symbol A B , is the
event containing all elements that are common to A and B.
2. Union of Events
The union of two events A and B, denoted by the symbol A B , is the event
containing all the elements that belong to A or to B or to both.
3. Complement of an Event
The complement of an event A with respect to S is the set of all elements of S that
are not in A. We denote the complement of A by the symbol A' .

Example 5
For the sample space of Example 3,
a. List the elements corresponding to the event A C
b. List the elements corresponding to the event A B
c. List the elements corresponding to the event C'
Solution

Probability of an Event
Probability refers to the likelihood of occurrence of an event. There are three
approaches to probability. The subjective probability refers to the probability in which
chance of occurrence given by a particular person to an event is based on his/her
educated guesses, opinion, intuition or beliefs. The empirical probability is the one in
which probability is assigned based on the prior knowledge of the events that happened in
the past or based on research or experiment. The classical probability approach is applied
only when all possible outcomes are equally likely to happen, and the probability of an
event is equal to 1 divided by the total number of outcomes.
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Probability

Probability is a numerical measure of the likelihood that a specific event will


occur. The probability of an event always lies in the range 0 to 1. To every point in the
sample space we assign a probability such that the sum of all probabilities is 1.
The probability that an event E will occur is denoted by P( E ) and the
probability that it will not occur is denoted by P( E' ) . An event will either occur or not
occur. Hence, the sum of the probability of occurrence and the probability of
nonoccurrence is always equal to 1. That is,
P( E ) + P( E' ) = 1 .

The probability of an event that is certain to occur is 1. The probability of an


event that cannot occur is zero.
If an experiment can result in N equally likely outcomes and an event E can
n
. More formally,
result in n outcomes then the probability that E will occur is
N
n( E )
P( E ) =
N
where n( E ) = number of sample points in E
N = total number of sample points in the sample space

Example 6
Find the errors in each of the following statements:
a. The probabilities that an automobile salesperson will sell 0, 1, 2, or 3
cars on any given day in February are, respectively, 0.19, 0.38, 0.29,
and 0.15.
b. The probability that it will rain tomorrow is 0.40 and the probability
that it will not rain tomorrow is 0.52.
c. The probabilities that a printer will make 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 or more
mistakes in printing a document are, respectively, 0.19, 0.34, -0.25,
0.43, and 0.29.
d. On a single draw from a deck of playing cards the probability of
selecting a heart is , the probability of selecting a black card is , and
the probability of selecting a black heart card is .
Solution

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Example 7
a. Find the probability of getting an even number from a single roll
of a dice.
b. If a card is drawn from an ordinary deck, find the probability of
drawing
i. an ace
ii. a spade
iii. a face card
c. A box contains 5 red, 4 blue, and 3 white balls. If a ball is chosen at
random, what is the probability that
i. it is not red
ii. it is not white
Solution

Example 8
If a letter is chosen at random from the English alphabet, find the
probability that the letter
a. is a vowel;
b. precedes the letter j;
c. follows the letter g.
Solution

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Example 9
A box contains 5 red, 4 blue, and 3 white balls. Suppose three balls
are drawn at random. What is the probability that
a. they are of different colors?
b. they are all red?
c. two are blue, one is white?
d. exactly two are blue?
e. none is blue?
Solution

Example 10
a. A die is loaded in such a way that an even number is twice as likely to
occur as an odd number. If E is an event that a number less than 4
occurs on a single toss of the die, find P( E ) .

b. Three men are seeking public office. Candidates A and B are given
about the same chance of winning, but candidate C is given twice the
chance of either A or B.
i. What is the probability that C wins?
ii. What is the probability that A does not win?
Solution

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Example 11
If a permutation of the word white is selected at random, find
the probability that the permutation
a. begins with a consonant;
b. ends with a vowel;
c. has the consonants and vowels alternating.
Solution

Example 12
If 3 books are picked at random from a shelf containing 5 novels, 3 book
of poems, and a dictionary, what is the probability that
a. the dictionary is selected?
b. 2 novels and 1 book of poems are selected?
Solution

Rules on Probability
Theorem 1 (Addition Rule) If A and B are any two events, then
P( A B ) = P( A ) + P( B ) P( A B ) .

Corollary 1 If A and B are mutually exclusive, then


P( A B ) = P( A ) + P( B ) .
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Corollary 2 If A1 , A2 , A3 , . . . , An are mutually exclusive, then


P( A1 A2 . . . An ) = P( A1 ) + P( A2 ) + . . . + P( An ) .
Theorem 2 If A and A are complementary events, then
P( A ) + P( A' ) = 1 .

Example 13
In a college graduating class of 100 students, 54 studied mathematics, 69
studied history, and 35 studied both mathematics and history. If one of
these students is selected at random, find the probability that
a. the student took mathematics or history;
b. the student did not take any of these courses;
c. the student took history but not mathematics.
Solution

Example 14
If A, B, and C are mutually exclusive events and P(A) = 0.2, P(B) = 0.3,
and P(C) = 0.4, find
a. P(A B C)
b. P[A (B C)]
c. P(B C)
Solution

Example 15
The probability that an American industry will locate in Manila is
0.7, the probability that it will locate in Baguio is 0.4, and the probability
that it will locate in either Manila or Baguio is 0.8. What is the probability
that the industry will locate in both cities?
Solution

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The probability of an event B occurring when it is known that some event A has
occurred is called a conditional probability and is denoted by P(B|A).
The probability of B, given A, denoted by P(B|A), is defined by the equation
P( B / A ) =

P( A B )
P( A )

if P(A) > 0

Theorem 3 Two events A and B are independent if and only if


and P(A|B) = P(A)
P(B|A) = P(B)
Otherwise, A and B are dependent.
Theorem 4 (Multiplicative Rule) If in an experiment the events A and B can both
occur, then
P(A B) = P(A) P(B|A)
Theorem 5 If A and B are independent events, then
P(A B) = P(A) P(B)
Theorem 6 (Generalized Multiplicative Rule)
If, in an experiment, the events A1, A2, A3, . . . , Ak can occur, then
P(A1 A2 A3 . . . Ak)
=
P(A1) P(A2|A1) P(A3|A1 A2) . . . P(Ak| A1 A2 A3 . . . Ak-1)

If the events A1, A2, A3, . . . , Ak are independent, then


P(A1 A2 A3 . . . Ak) = P(A1) P(A2) P(A3) . . . P(Ak)

Example 16
If R is the event that a convict committed armed robbery and D is
the event that the convict pushed dope, state in words what probabilities
are expressed by
a. P(R|D)
b. P(D|R)
c. P(R|D)
Solution

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Example 17
A random sample of 200 adults are classified below by sex and
their level of education attained.
Gender
Education
Male
Female
Elementary
38
45
Secondary
28
50
College
22
17

If a person is picked at random from this group, find the probability that
a. the person is a male, given that the person has secondary
education;
b. the person does not have a college degree , given that the person
is a female.
Solution

Example 18
The probability that an automobile being filled with gasoline will
also need an oil change is 0.25; the probability that it needs a new oil
filter is 0.40; and the probability that both the oil and filter need changing
is 0.14.
a. If the oil had to be changed, what is the probability that a new
oil filter is needed?
b. If a new oil filter is needed, what is the probability that the oil
had to be changed?
Solution

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Example 19
The probability that a doctor correctly diagnoses a particular
illness is 0.7. Given that the doctor makes an incorrect diagnosis, the
probability that the patient enters a lawsuit is 0.9. What is the probability
that the doctor makes an incorrect diagnosis and the patient sues?
Solution

Example 20
A town has two fire engines operating independently. The
probability that a specific fire engine is available when needed is 0.96.
a. What is the probability that neither engine is available when needed?
b. What is the probability that a fire engine is available when needed?
Solution

Example 21
Find the probability of selecting four good quarts of milk in
succession from a cooler containing 20 quarts of which 5 have spoiled.
Solution

Theorem 7 (Bayes Rule)


If the events B1, B2, . . . , Bk constitute a partition of the sample space S where
P(Bi) 0 for i= 1, 2, . . . , k, then for any event A in S such that P(A) 0,
P(A) = P(B1 A) + P(B2 A) + . . . + P(Bk A)
= P(B1) P(A|B1) + P(B2) P(A|B2) + . . . + P(Bk) P(A|Bk)
P(Bi /A) = P( Bi I A )
P( A )

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Example 22
In a certain region of the country it is known from past experience
that the probability of selecting an adult over 40 years of age with cancer
is 0.05. If the probability of a doctor correctly diagnosing a person with
cancer as having the disease is 0.78, and the probability of incorrectly
diagnosing a person without cancer as having the disease is 0.06,
a. What is the probability that a person is diagnosed as having
cancer?
b. What is the probability that a person diagnosed as having
cancer actually has the disease?
Solution

Example 23
Suppose that colored balls are distributed in three
indistinguishable boxes as follows:
Boxes
1
2
3
Red
2
4
3
White
3
1
4
Blue
5
3
3
A box is selected at random from which a ball is drawn at random.
a. Find the probability that the ball is red.
b. Given that the ball is red, what is the probability that box 3 is
selected?
Solution

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