You are on page 1of 3






: 1210912012





Example 4.1
A panel of 10 experts for the Wine Spectator (a national publication) is asked to taste a
new white wine and assign a rating of 0,1,2, or 3. A score is then obtained by adding together the
ratings of the 10 experts. How many values can this random variable assume?
Solution : A sample point is a sequence of 10 numbers associated with the rating of each expert.
For example, one sample point is {1,0,0,1,2,0,0,3,1,0}.
The random variable assigns a score to each one of these sample points by adding the 10
numbers together. Thus, the smallest score is 0 (if all 10 ratings are 0) and the largest score is 30
(if all 10 ratings are 3). Since every integer between 0 and 30 is a possible score, the random
variable for the sample point above is x = 8.
This is an example of a discreate random variable, since there is a finite number of
distinct possible values. Whenever all the possible values a random variable can assume can be
listed (or counted), the random variable is discreate.
Example 4.2
Suppose the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) takes readings once a month on the
amount of pesticide in the discharge water of a chemical company. If the amount of pesticide
exceeds the maximum level set by the EPA, the company is forced to take corrective action and
may be subject to penalty. Consider the following random variable :
Number, x, of the months before the companys discharge exceeds the EPAs maximum level
What values can x assume?
Solution : the companys discharge of pesticide may exceed the maximum allowable level on the
first month of testing, the second month of testing, etc. it is possible that the companys discharge
will never exceed the maximum level. Thus, the set of possible values for the number of months
until the level is first exceeded is the set of all positive integers.
If we can list the values of a random variable x, even though the list is never ending, we
call the list countable and the corresponding random variable discreate. Thus, the number of
months until the companys discharge first exceeds the limit is a discreate random variable.

Example 4.4
Recall the experiment of tossing two coins (Section 4.1), and let x be the number of heads
observed. Find the probability associated with each value of the random variable x, assuming the
two coins are fair.
Solution : The sample space and sample points for this experiment are reproduced in figure 4.2.
Note that the random variable x can assume values 0,1,2. Recall (from chapter 3) thaht the
probability associated with each of the four sample points is . Then identifying the probabilities
of the sample points associated with each of these values of x, we have :
P (x = 0) = P (TT) =
P (x = 1) = P (TH) + P(HT) = + =
P (x = 2) = P(HH) =
Example 4.9
A machine that produces stampings for automobile engines is malfunctioning and
producing 10% defectives. The defective nondefective stampings proceed from the machine in a
random manner. If the next five stampings are tested, find the probability that three of them are
Solution : let x equal the number of defectives in n = 5 trials. Then x is a binomial random
variable withp, the probability that a single stamping will be defective, equal to 1, and q = 1 p
= 1 1 = 9. The probability distribution for x is given by the expression.
P (x) = (

) px qn-x = (



(x = 0,1,2,3,4,5)

To find the probability of observing x = defectives in a sample of n = 5 , substitute x = 3

into the formula for p(x) to obtain.
P (3) =

= 0.0081

(.1)3(.9)5-3 =


(.1)3(.9)2 = 10(.1)3(.9)2