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Practice Exam 2

1. What are the mean and variance of the Gamma distribution with parameters α and θ?

Solution: The mean is µ = αθ and the variance is σ 2 = αθ2 .

2. Describe in three sentences or less the relationship between the Exponential distribution,

Poisson distribution, and a Poisson process.

Solution: The waiting times between successive changes in a Poisson process exhibit an expo-

nential distribution, while the number of changes relates to the Poisson distribution.

3. Let X ∼ N (1, 4). Construct a new random variable Z from X that is standard normal,

Z ∼ N (0, 1).

X −µ

Solution: Define Z = to change a normally distributed continuous random vari-

σ

able X into a standard normal variable Z.

4. Let X and Y be continuous random variables that are uniformly distributed on [a, b] and

[2a, 2b] respectively, 0 < a < 1/2 and 5 < b. Which is greater P (X = 2) or P (Y = 2)? Which

is greater P (X ≤ 2) or P (Y ≤ 2)?

Solution: Both P (X = 2) = P (Y = 2) = 0, so neither one is bigger. We have P (X ≤

2−a 2−2a

2) = F (2) = b−a and P (Y ≤ 2) = G(2) = 2b−2a . We see that

F (2) − G(2) = − = = > 0,

b − a 2b − 2a 2(b − a) 2(b − a)

2

2

5. Let X ∼ N (0, 1). Find P (0.53 < X ≤ 2.06) and P (|X| < 1.96).

Solution: We have P (0.53 < X ≤ 2.06) = P (X ≤ 2.06) − P (X ≤ 0.53) = .9803 −

.7019 = 2784 . Also, P (|X| < 1.96) = P (−1.96 < X < 1.96) = P (X < 1.96) − P (X ≤

−1.96) = P (X < 1.96) − (1 − P (X ≤ 1.96)) = 2P (X ≤ 1.96) − 1 = 2(.975) − 1 = .95 .

2

6. If the m.g.f. of X is M (t) = e166t+200t , then find the mean and variance of X and P (170 ≤

X < 200).

Solution: There are two ways to solve this problem. The first is simply to compute

2

M 0 (t) = (166 + 200t2 )e166t+200t =⇒ µ = M 0 (0) = 166,

2 2

M 00 (t) = (166 + 400t)2 e166t+200t + 400e166t+200t =⇒ M 00 (0) = 1662 + 400,

σ 2 = M 00 (0) − (M 0 (0))2 = 1662 + 400 − 1662 = 400.

2 /2t2

The other is to note that X ∼ N (µ, σ 2 ) if the m.g.f. of X is of the form M (t) = eµt+σ , so

in particular X ∼ N (166, 400) .

7. The waiting times in minutes until two calls (previously wrongly worded as “between successive

calls”) to 911 between noon and midnight yesterday were

20 28 81 4 9 41 9 11 10 24 20

44 18 30 16 53 15 38 50 84 44 69

Suppose these calls are the result of sampling from a Gamma distribution with α = 2 and

θ = 120/7. Compare the theoretical distribution mean and variance with the mean and

variance of the sample. Compare P (X < 35) with the proportion of times that are less than

35 minutes. Is the Gamma distribution a good model for this data?

Solution: We use google to compute the sample mean x̄ and variance s2 of these numbers and

use µ = αθ and σ 2 = αθ2 to obtain

x̄ = 32.6 s2 = 548.3,

µ = 34.3 σ 2 = 587.8.

3

35

x2−1 e−7x/120

Z

P (X < 35) = 2 dx

0 Γ(2) 1207

Z 35

49x −7x/120

= e dx

0 14400

35 Z 35

49x 120 −7x/120 49 120 −7x/120

= · e − · e dx

14400 −7

0 0 14400 −7

Z 35

−7 · 35 −7·35/120 7 −7x/120

= e + e dx

120 0 120

35

= (−49/24)(.1298) − e−7x/120 0

= (−49/24)(.1298) − (.1298 − 1) = −.2650 + .8702 = .6052

It seems the Gamma distribution is a good model for this data. For a gamma distribution for

α = 2 we expect to see numbers which correspond to the waiting time until the second call

comes in.

2

4

8. A kid loves prizes at the bottom of cereal boxes and is trying to get all four prizes from his

favorite cereal. The four different prizes are randomly put into the boxes at the factory. If his

mom decides to buy the cereal until all four prizes are obtained, then what is the expected

number of boxes she will have to buy until the boy has obtained all four prizes?

Solution: We can think of this as four Poisson process, one after the other. Notice that when

he first opens a box, there is certainly one of the four prizes inside, so he has a 100% chance

to get a prize he doesn’t already have. Afterwards, there is a diminishing chance that he gets

a new prize each time he finds a new prize. In particular, after opening the first box, there

is a 75% chance that subsequent boxes will contain a new prize. After opening the box with

the 2nd new prize, there is a 50% chance that the subsequent boxes will contain a new prize,

and finally after opening the box with the 3rd new prize, there is only a 25% chance that a

subsequent box will contain a new prize. Let X1 , X2 , X3 , X4 be the discrete random variables

X2 = number of additional boxes until obtaining second new prize,

X3 = number of additional boxes until obtaining third new prize,

X4 = number of additional boxes until obtaining fourth new prize.

Bernoulli trials with probability of success pi = (5 − i)/4, i = 1, 2, 3, 4. So in particular, if

X = X1 +X2 +X3 +X4 is the total number of boxes you need, from the linearity of expectation

we have E(X) = E(X1 ) + E(X2 ) + E(X3 ) + E(X4 ) = 1 + 4/3 + 4/2 + 4/1 = 8.33. She will

likely have to buy 9 boxes of the cereal.

3x e−3

Solution: We have µ = λ = σ 2 = 3. So f (x) = x!

. In particular, P (X = 2) = f (2) =

32

3!e3

≈ .075 .

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