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INTRODUCTION

In probability and statistics, a probability distribution assigns a probability

to each measurable subset of the possible outcomes of a random experiment, survey
or procedure of statistical inference. Random variable is a variable whose value is
subject to variations due to chance. A random variable can take on a set of possible
different values each with an associated probability in contrast to other mathematical
variables. The concept of probability distribution and random variables which they
describe underlies the mathematical discipline of probability theory and the science of
statistic. There is a spread or variability in almost any value that can be measured in a
population, examples the height of people, durability of metal, sales growth and
traffic flow.

Binomial distribution with parameter n and p is the discrete probability

distribution of the number of successes in a sequence of n independent yes or no
experiments, each yields success with probability, p. A success or failure experiment
is called Bernoulli trial. When n=1, the binomial distribution is a Bernoulli
distribution. One of the uses of binomial distribution can be found in real life is either
cures the disease (success) or it doesn’t cure the disease (failure). Basically, anything
that can only be success or failure can be represented by a binomial distribution.

Poisson distribution is a discrete probability distribution that expresses the

probability of a given number of events occurring in a fixed interval of time and/or
space if these events occur with a known average rate and independently of the time
since the last events. The Poisson distribution can also be used for the number of
events in other specified intervals such as distance, area and volume. Example that
may follow a Poisson distribution is the number of phone calls received per hour by a
call center. The binomial distribution converges towards the Poisson distribution as
the number of trials goes to infinity while the product np remains fixed. Therefore, the
Poisson distribution with parameter λ=np can be used as approximation to B(n,p) of
the binomial distribution if n is sufficiently large and p is sufficiently small.
According to two rules, this approximation is good if n ≥ 20 and p ≤ 0.05, or
if n ≥ 100 and np ≤ 10.

Normal distribution is often used in the natural and social sciences to

represent real-values random variables whose distributions are not known. The
normal distribution is sometimes informally called the bell curve. If n is large enough,
then the skew of the distribution is not too great. In this case a reasonable
approximation to B(n,p) is given by the normal distribution N[np , np (1-p)] and this
basic approximation can be improved by using a suitable continuity correction. The
basic approximation generally improves as n increases ( at least 20) and is better when
p is not near to 0 or 1.
In this coursework, p=0.05, 0.1 and 0.5 and n=5,10 and 20 is used to find
the probabilities by using binomial distribution, Poisson distribution and normal
distribution. The probabilities are then tabulated and the probabilities distributions are
illustrated graphically. The probability distributions obtained are compared and
discussed. The probability distributions are also discussed when n increases with
constant probability.
METHODOLOGY

Binomial distribution may be approximated under certain circumstances by

Poisson distribution or normal distribution. In this coursework, the probabilities are
calculated manually and by using Microsoft Excel 2010. First, a random variable
having binomial distribution, B(n,p) is considered. The probabilities of p=0.05 and
n=5 is calculated by using binomial distribution with the formula P(X=r) = ncrprqn-r.
Then, the probabilities is calculated by using Poisson distribution with the formula
e−λ (λr )
P(X=r) = . The probabilities is also calculated by using normal distribution
r!
x−µ
with the formula . Continuity correction is used in the normal distribution
σ

because it is a continuous random variable. The continuity correction is calculated by

P(X=r) = P(r-0.5 <X< r+0.5). All the steps above are repeated by using p=0.1 and
p=0.5.

The calculations for n=10 and 20 for p=0.05, 0.1 and 0.5 is calculated by
using Microsoft Excel 2010. All results obtained is tabulated and the probability
distributions is illustrated graphically. The graphs of binomial distribution, Poisson
distribution and normal distribution are combined with constant probability and
sample size, n. The distributions obtained are then compared and commented. The
graphs of n=5, 10 and 20 is combined in the same distributions. The shapes of the
distribution are compared and commented when n increases.
CONCLUSION

From the coursework, we can conclude that binomial distribution may be

approximated under certain circumstances by Poisson distribution or normal
distribution. The probabilities of p=0.05, 0.1 and 0.5 and n=5, 10 and 20 are obtained
by using binomial distribution, Poisson distribution and normal distribution. The
probabilities obtained are tabulated and the probability distributions are illustrated
graphically. Then, the graphs of binomial distribution, Poisson distribution and normal
distribution are combined with constant probability and sample size, n. From the
graph, when p=0.05, 0.1 and 0.5 and n=5, 10 and 20, the shapes of the Binomial
distribution and the Poisson distribution are similar. However, for p=0.1 the normal
distribution tends to be similar to the other two distribution when n increases. The
graphs of n=5, 10 and 20 is combined in the same distributions. From the binomial
distributions combined graphs, the shape of binomial distribution of p=0.05 tends to
be symmetrical when n increases from 5 to 20. When n increases from 5 to 20 for
binomial distribution of p=0.1, the shape of binomial distribution is more symmetrical.
When n increases from 5 to 20 for binomial distribution of p=0.5, the shape of
binomial distribution is always symmetrical. The above results obtained are the same
for the Poisson distributions combined graphs and normal distribution combined
graphs. In conclusion, when n increases, the shape of the probability distribution
graph tends to be symmetrical.