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ar..!!

A theoretical approach to determine probabilities requires the ability to count the number

of ways certain events can occur. In some cases, counting is simple because there is only

one way for an event to occur. For example, there is only one way in which a 4 will show

up on a single roll of a die. In most cases, however, counting is not always an easy

matter. Imagine trying to count the number of ways of being dealt a pair in 5 card poker.

The fundamental principle of counting is often used when many selections are made from

the same set of objects. Suppose we want to know the number of different ways four

people can line up in a carnival line. The first spot in line can be occupied by any of the

four people. The second can be occupied any of the three people who are left. The third

spot can be filled by either of the two remaining people, and the fourth spot is filled by

the last person. So, the total number of ways four people can create a line is equal to the

product 4 × 3 × 2 × 1 = 24. This product can be abbreviated as 4! (read "4 factorial"). In

general, the product of the positive integers from 1 to n can be denoted by n! which

equals n × (n-1) × (n-2) ×...2 × 1. It should be noted that 0! is by definition equal to 1.

The example of the carnival line given above illustrates a situation involving

permutations. A permutation is any arrangement of n objects in a definite order.

Generally, the number of permutations of n objects is n. Now, suppose we want to make

a line using only two of the four people. In this case, any of the four people can occupy

the first space and any of the three remaining people can occupy the second space.

Therefore, the number of possible arrangements, or permutations, of two people from a

group of four, denoted as P4,2 is equal to 4 × 3 = 12. In general, the number of

permutations of n objects taken r at a time is

Many times the order in which objects are selected from a group does not matter. For

instance, we may want to know how many different 3 person clubs can be formed from a

student body of 125. By using permutations, some of the clubs will have the same people,

just arranged in a different order. We only want to count then number of clubs that have

different people. In these cases, when order is not important, we use what is known as a

combination. In general, the number of combinations denoted as Cn,r or is equal to Pn,r /r!

or Cn,r = n!/r! × (n-r)! For our club example, the number of different three person clubs

that can be formed from a student body of 125 is C125,3 or 125!/3! × 122! = 317,750.

Probability Theory - Experiments

Probability theory is concerned with determining the likelihood that a certain event will

occur during a given random experiment. In this sense, an experiment is any situation

which involves observation or measurement. Random experiments are those which can

have different outcomes regardless of the initial conditions and will be heretofore referred

to simply as experiments.

The results obtained from an experiment are known as the outcomes. When a die is

rolled, the outcome is the number found on the topside. For any experiment, the set of all

outcomes is called thesample space. The sample space, S, of the die example, is denoted

by S= which represents all of the possible numbers that can result from the roll of a die.

We usually consider sample spaces in which all outcomes are equally likely.

The sample space of an experiment is classified as finite or infinite. When there is a limit

to the number of outcomes in an experiment, such as choosing a single card from a deck

of cards, the sample space is finite. On the other hand, an infinite sample space occurs

when there is no limit to the number of outcomes, such as when a dart is thrown at a

target with a continuum of points.

While a sample space describes the set of every possible outcome for an experiment, an

event is any subset of the sample space. When two dice are rolled, the set of outcomes for

an event such as a sum of 4 on two dice is represented by E =.

In some experiments, multiple events are evaluated and set theory is needed to describe

the relationship between them. Events can be compounded forming unions, intersections,

and complements. The union of two events A and B is an event which contains all of the

outcomes contained in event A and B. It is mathematically represented as A ∪ B. The

intersection of the same two events is an event which contains only outcomes present in

both A and B, and is denoted A ∩ B. The complement of event A, represented by A', is

an event which contains all of the outcomes of the sample space not found in A.

Looking back at the table we can see how set theory is used to mathematically describe

the outcome of real world experiments. Suppose A represents the event in which a 4 is

obtained on the first roll and B represents an event in which the total number on the dice

is 5.

The compound set A ∪ B includes all of the outcomes from both sets,

The compound set A ∩ B includes only events common to both sets,. Finally, the

complement of event A would include all of the events in which a 4 was not rolled first.

Probability Theory - Rules Of Probability

By assuming that every outcome in a sample space is equally likely, the probability of

event A is then equal to the number of ways the event can occur, m, divided by the total

number of outcomes that can occur, n. Symbolically, we denote the probability of event

A as P(A) = m/n. An example of this is illustrated by drawing from a deck of cards. To

find the probability of an event such as getting an ace when drawing a single card from a

deck of cards, we must know the number of aces and the total number of cards. Each of

the 4 aces represent an occupance of an event while all of the 52 cards represent the

sample space. The probability of this event is then 4/52 or.08.

Using the characteristics of the sets of the sample space and an event, basic rules for

probability can be created. First, since m is always equal to or less than n, the probability

of any event will always be a number from 0 to 1. Second, if an event is certain to

happen, its probability is 1. If it is certain not to occur, its probability is 0. Third, if two

events are mutually exclusive, that is they can not occur at the same time, then the

probability that either will occur is equal to the sum of their probabilities. For instance, if

event A represents rolling a 6 on a die and event B represents rolling a 4, the probability

that either will occur is 1/6 + 1/6 = 2/6 or 0.33. Finally, the sum of the probability that an

event will occur and that it will not occur is 1.

The third rule above represents a special case of adding probabilities. In many cases, two

events are not mutually exclusive. Suppose we wanted to know the probability of either

picking a red card or a king. These events are not mutually exclusive because we could

pick a red card that is also a king. The probability of either of these events in this case is

equal to the sum of the individual probabilities minus the sum of the combined

probabilities. In this example, the probability of getting a king is 4/52, the probability of

getting a red card is 26/52, and the probability of getting a red king is 2/52. Therefore, the

chances of drawing a red card or a king is 4/52 + 26/52 - 2/52 = 0.54.

Often the probability of one event is dependant on the occupance of another event. If we

choose a person at random, the probability that they own a yacht is low. However, if we

find out this person is rich, the probability would certainly be higher. Events such as

these in which the probability of one event is dependant on another are known as

conditional probabilities. Mathematically, if event A is dependant on another event B,

then the conditional probability is denoted as P(A|B) and equal to P(A ∩ B)/P(B) when

P(B) ≠ 0. Conditional probabilities are useful whenever we want to restrict our

probability calculation to only those cases in which both event A and event B occur.

Events are not always dependant on each other. These independent events have the same

probability regardless of whether the other event occurs. For example, probability of

passing a math test is not dependent on the probability that it will rain.

Using the ideas of dependent and independent events, a rule for determining probabilities

of multiple events can be developed. In general, given dependent events A and B, the

probability that both events occur is P(A ∩ B) = P(B) × P(A|B). If events A and B are

independent, P(A ∩ B) = P(A) × P(B). Suppose we ran an experiment in which we rolled

a die and flipped a coin. These events are independent so the probability of getting a 6

and a tail would be (1/6) × 1/2 = 0.08.

probabilities can be calculated exactly, and experiments with numerous trials are not

needed. However, it depends on the classical notion that all the events in a situation are

equally possible, and there are many instances in which this is not true. Predicting the

weather is an example of such a situation. On any given day, it will be sunny or cloudy.

By assuming every possibility is equally likely, the probability of a sunny day would then

be 1/2 and clearly, this is nonsense.

Probability Theory - Empirical

Probability

The empirical approach to determining probabilities relies on data from actual

experiments to determine approximate probabilities instead of the assumption of equal

likeliness. Probabilities in these experiments are defined as the ratio of the frequency of

the occupance of an event, f(E), to the number of trials in the experiment, n, written

symbolically as P(E) = f(E)/n. If our experiment involves flipping a coin, the empirical

probability of heads is the number of heads divided by the total number of flips.

The relationship between these empirical probabilities and the theoretical probabilities is

suggested by the Law of Large Numbers. It states that as the number of trials of an

experiment increases, the empirical probability approaches the theoretical probability.

This makes sense as we would expect that if we roll a die numerous times, each number

would come up approximately 1/6 of the time. The study of empirical probabilities is

known as statistics.

Probability Theory - Using Probabilities

Probability theory was originally developed to help gamblers determine the best bet to

make in a given situation. Suppose a gambler had a choice between two bets; she could

either wager $4 on a coin toss in which she would make $8 if it came up heads or she

could bet $4 on the roll of a die and make $8 if it lands on a 6. By using the idea of

mathematical expectation she could determine which is the better bet. Mathematical

expectation is defined as the average outcome anticipated when an experiment, or bet, is

repeated a large number of times. In its simplest form, it is equal to the product of the

amount a player stands to win and the probability of the event. In our example, the

gambler will expect to win $8 × 0.5 = $4 on the coin flip and $8 × 0.17 = $1.33 on the

roll of the die. Since the expectation is higher for the coin toss, this bet is better.

When more than one winning combination is possible, the expectation is equal to the sum

of the individual expectations. Consider the situation in which a person can purchase one

of 500 lottery tickets where first prize is $1000 and second prize is $500. In this case, his

or her expectation is $1000 × (1/500) + $500 × (1/500) = $3. This means that if the same

lottery was repeated many times, one would expect to win an average of $3 on every

ticket purchased.

Probability Theory - History Of

Probability Theory

The branch of mathematics known as probability theory was inspired by gambling

problems. The earliest work was performed by Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576) an Italian

mathematician, physician, and gambler. In his manual Liber de Ludo Aleae, Cardano

discusses many of the basic concepts of probability complete with a systematic analysis

of gambling problems. Unfortunately, Cardano's work had little effect on the

development of probability because his manual, which did not appeared in print until

1663, received little attention.

In 1654, another gambler named Chevalier de Méré created a dice proposition which he

believed would make money. He would bet even money that he could roll at least one 12

in 24 rolls of two dice. However, when the Chevalier began losing money, he asked his

mathematician friend Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) to analyze the proposition. Pascal

determined that this proposition will lose about 51% of the time. Inspired by this

proposition, Pascal began studying more of these types of problems. He discussed them

with another famous mathematician, Pierre de Fermat (1601-1665) and together they laid

the foundation of probability theory.

Probability theory is concerned with determining the relationship between the number of

times a certain event occurs and the number of times any event occurs. For example, the

number of times a head will appear when a coin is flipped 100 times. Determining

probabilities can be done in two ways; theoretically and empirically. The example of a

coin toss helps illustrate the difference between the two approaches. Using a theoretical

approach, we reason that in every flip there are two possibilities, a head or a tail. By

assuming each event is equally likely, the probability that the coin will end up heads is

1/2 or 0.5. The empirical approach does not use assumption of equal likeliness. Instead,

an actual coin flipping experiment is performed and the number of heads is counted. The

probability is then equal to the number of heads divided by the total number of flips.

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