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Abstract:
Experiments were conducted to observe the normal or Gaussian distribution governing dice probability. This phenomenon, informally referred to as the bell curve, dictates that outcome of the mean value experiences the highest frequency. Two unbiased dice were rolled 100 times to obtain a large data set, from which the sum of each trial was obtained. Charting the data indicated a very clear example of normal distribution, with the sum of 7 having the highest frequency. Statistical methods like standard deviation, and mean were recorded to make a fair judgement of the results, which conformed with the basic principles of Normal Distribution.

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ENGL 21007 - Bubrow

Observing probability and distribution of outcomes using two simultaneously-

rolled dice

ABSTRACT

Experiments were conducted to observe the normal or Gaussian distribution governing dice probability.

This phenomenon, informally referred to as the bell curve, dictates that outcome of the mean value

experiences the highest frequency. Two unbiased dice were rolled 100 times to obtain a large data set, from

which the sum of each trial was obtained. Charting the data indicated a very clear example of normal

distribution, with the sum of 7 having the highest frequency. Statistical methods like standard deviation,

and mean were recorded to make a fair judgement of the results, which conformed with the basic principles

of Normal Distribution.

INTRODUCTION

Gaussian Distribution, or Normal Distribution (used interchangeably), states that the mean value of a data

set will experience the higher frequency of outcome. This type of distribution, or bell curve phenomenon

extends to many regions of study. The results of a Mathematics exam, for example, will always show that

the average score (that is the score of all students divided by the number of students) occurs at the highest

rate, while both the highest and lowest rarely occur. This type of curve (as seen in Figure 1) indicates that

deviations from the mean of a set implies less occurrence. Very simple dice probability dictates that each

number on a fair die has an equal chance (that is, of 1/6) of appearing after a roll. Taking this to a further

level, by taking the sum of two dice rolled simultaneously and taking the result provides for interesting

complications. As the set of sums that can occur from two 6-sided dice range from 2 and 12 inclusive,

Gaussian Probability would state that the occurrence of a sum of 7, which is the mean, would be most

frequent. Not only is this hypothesis backed by simple probability (the fact that more pairs of numbers sum

up to 7 than any other sum) but previous,

professional research has concluded that

normal distribution governs the sum of dice.

The study, named Investigation of probability

distributions using dice simulations, confirms

that sums of 10 and 11 for three dice (the mean

of all sums being 10.5) experience the highest

frequency of occurrence. Also, conforming to

the Gaussian Distribution theory, the extremes

of the data set of sums, 3 and 18, receive the

lowest frequency of occurrence. The

experiment will provide a means to verify the

governance of Normal Distribution when it

comes to the sum of two unbiased dice.

MATERIALS AND METHOD

For the sake of reliability, two unbiased (no physical alterations made) dice with 6 sides each were used.

The procedure of the experiment was simple: the two dice were rolled simultaneously 100 times, making

for 100 unique trials. For each mentioned trial, three sets of data types were recorded: the number indicated

by the first die, the number indicated by the second die, and the sum of the two previous numbers. Data

was collected after each individual result and were graphed for further analysis.

1

Naman Pujari

Due March 20th

ENGL 21007 - Bubrow

RESULTS

The method, when carried out, provided interesting results. It was noticeable by simple observation, that a

normal distribution did occur. The sum of 7 had the highest probability while both sums of 2 and 12, the

extremes of the data set experienced little to no occurrence. See appendix for data from all 100 trials.

Plotting the data in the table above provides us with a graph (as seen in Figure 2) that displays the normal

distribution visually.

2

Naman Pujari

Due March 20th

ENGL 21007 - Bubrow

DISUSSION

Figure 2 provides more insight into the situation than Table 1 as it includes a visual factor. Although obvious

at first that there are hints of Gaussian Distribution, there are a few anomalies. A good example of this

would be the frequency of occurrence for sums of 5, as its frequency drop unnaturally (per the principles

of Normal Distribution, of course). This however, is not a worrying signal, as the amount of trials conducted

(100) were very less to ensure an accurate depiction of the situation. Had there been more trials and data,

there would certainly be a more properly curved Gaussian distribution. It is important to note, for this

reason, that the principles of probability are only seen well in data when a high amount of trials are taken.

One major success, as observed from the graph, is the fact that sums of 7 experienced the highest frequency

of occurrence. This conforms to both the laws of probability, and the Normal Distribution theorem as

explained in the introduction.

Taking the standard deviation of the data (seen in

the appendix) can provide for more in-depth

understanding. For perfect distributions, 68% of

all data lies within one standard deviation of the

mean (the mean in this case being 7). Figure 3

provides better insight.

The value of standard deviation is 2.83, which

can be rounded off to 3 as all the numbers in the

data set of sums are whole numbers. Note:

calculation for the standard deviation can be

found in the appendix. Hence, setting the limits

defined by m-d and m+d (m being 7) provides us

with an interval ranging from 4 to 10. Referring

to Table 1., and adding the percentage

frequencies for each sum in the established interval provides a value of 72%.

This finding strengthens the evidence for Gaussian distribution, as 72% is quite close to the ideal value of

68%, given the relatively rudimentary conditions of the experiment.

CONCLUSION

The report confirmed many theorems regarding Gaussian Distribution. What was first established was the

fact that the mean of all the sums (7) experienced the highest percent frequency. It was also proven that the

data set shared a common feature with standard Normal Distribution in that 72% (a value very close to the

ideal value of 68%) of all the sums of the two dice fell within the range of 4 to 10 inclusive, which were

within an interval of one standard deviation away from the mean. The findings of the report are very close

to that of the referenced study, in which the two authors, Lukac and Engel, proved that the Gaussian

Distribution was prevalent in the throwing and summing of three dice. A good deduction, using basic

knowledge of probability and by referencing the two studies (this and the one by Lukac and Engel) is that

Normal Distribution applies to any number n dice when their sum in each trial is recorded for a

considerable amount of trials.

REFERENCES

Lukac, S., & Engel, R. (2010). Investigation of Probability Distributions Using Dice Rolling Simulation.

Australian Mathematics Teacher, 66(2), 30-35.

3

Naman Pujari

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ENGL 21007 - Bubrow

APPENDIX

4

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ENGL 21007 - Bubrow

No formula was used to calculate this value. This entire process was reduced significantly by simply

using the =STDEV.P function available on Microsoft Excel. The function took in two parameters, the

starting point for the range of data, and the ending point. Once inputted, it provided the number 2.83

which was rounded to 3.

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