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Lecture 4
Probability Distributions –
Review
Instructor:
Eng. Ghada AlMashaqbeh
The Hashemite University
Computer Engineering Department
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Outline
• Introduction.
• Some useful discrete and continuous
probability distributions.
• Empirical distributions.
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Some Useful Probability
Distributions
• Why we need to know such
distributions?
–To find the suitable distribution that
models the simulation inputs where using
the mean instead of generating the
random variants from these distributions
results in serious errors most of the time.
–Also they are needed to model the
simulation outputs to study their
behavior and the relation between them.
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Discrete Distributions
• Discrete random variables are used
to describe random phenomena in
which only integer values can
occur.
• In this section, we will learn about:
–Bernoulli trials and Bernoulli distribution
–Binomial distribution
–Geometric and negative binomial
distribution
–Poisson distribution
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Bernoulli Trials and Bernoulli
Distribution
• Bernoulli Trials:
– Consider an experiment consisting of n trials, each can
be a success or a failure.
• Let X
j
= 1 if the jth experiment is a success
• and X
j
= 0 if the jth experiment is a failure
– The Bernoulli distribution (one trial):
– where E(X
j
) = p and V(X
j
) = p (1p) = p q
• Bernoulli process:
– The n Bernoulli trials where trails are independent:
p(x
1
,x
2
,…, x
n
) = p
1
(x
1
) p
2
(x
2
) … p
n
(x
n
)
¦
¹
¦
´
¦
= = = ÷
= =
= =
otherwise , 0
2 1 0 , 1
,..., 2 , 1 , 1 ,
) ( ) ( ,...,n , ,j x q p
n j x p
x p x p
j
j
j j j
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Binomial Distribution
• The number of successes in n Bernoulli trials, X,
has a binomial distribution.
– The mean, E(x) = p + p + … + p = n*p
– The variance, V(X) = pq + pq + … + pq = n*pq
The number of
outcomes having the
required number of
successes and
failures
Probability that
there are
x successes and
(nx) failures
¦
¹
¦
´
¦
=


.

\

=
÷
otherwise , 0
,..., 2 , 1 , 0 ,
) (
n x q p
x
n
x p
x n x
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Example 1 ( Binomial)
• The chance that a bit transmitted through a
digital transmission channel is received in error
is 0.1. Also, assume that the transmission trials
are independent. Let X= the number of bits in
error in the next four bits transmitted:
1) Describe the sample space of this experiment
and indicate the value of X for each outcome.
2) Determine P(X = 2).
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Example Solution I
1) Sample space : E =Error , O =Okay
Outcome X Outcome X
________________________________________
OOOO 0 EOOO 1
OOOE 1 EOOE 2
OOEO 1 EOEO 2
OOEE 2 EOEE 3
OEOO 1 EEOO 2
OEOE 2 EEOE 3
OEEO 2 EEEO 3
OEEE 3 EEEE 4
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Example Solution II
The event that X = 2 consists of six outcomes
{ EEOO, EOEO, EOOE, OEEO, OEOE, OOEE}
P(EEOO) = P(E) P(E) P(O)P(O) =
(0.1)(0.1)(0.9)(0.9) =0.0081
0486 . 0 ) 9 . 0 ( ) 1 . 0 ( 6 ) 9 . 0 ( ) 1 . 0 (
2
4
) 2 (
2 2 2 2
= =


.

\

= = X P
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Geometric & Negative Binomial
Distribution
• Geometric distribution
– The number of Bernoulli trials, X, to achieve the 1
st
success:
– E(x) = 1/p, and V(X) = q/p
2
• Negative binomial distribution
– The number of Bernoulli trials, y, until the k
th
success
– If Y is a negative binomial distribution with parameters p and
k, then:
– E(Y) = k/p, and V(Y) = kq/p
2
¹
´
¦
=
=
÷
otherwise , 0
,..., 2 , 1 ,
) (
1
n x p q
x p
x
¦
¹
¦
´
¦
+ + =


.

\

÷
÷
=
÷
otherwise , 0
,... 2 , 1 , ,
1
1
) (
k k k y p q
k
y
y p
k k y
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Example 2 ( Geometric)
• The chance that a bit transmitted through a
digital transmission channel is received in error
is 0.1. Also, assume that the transmissions are
independent events. Let the random variable X
denote the number of bits transmitted until the
first error.
1) Determine P(X = 5)
P(X=5) = P(OOOOE) = (0.9)(0.9)(0.9)(0.9)(0.1)
= 0.066
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Note
• Note that the binomial, geometric,
and the negative binomial
distribution are based on the
following:
– All are generated from Bernoulli trials.
– All trials are independent.
– The Binomial is the summation of n
Bernoulli(p) random variables.
– The negative Binomial is the
summation of n Geometric(p) random
variables.
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Poisson Distribution I
• Poisson distribution describes many random processes
quite well and is mathematically quite simple.
• Describes the number of events that occur at a
constant rate in a specified period of time.
– where o > 0, pdf and cdf are:
– E(X) = o = V(X)
¦
¹
¦
´
¦
=
=
÷
otherwise , 0
,... 1 , 0 ,
!
) (
x
x
e
x p
x
o
o
¿
=
÷
=
x
i
i
i
e
x F
0
!
) (
o
o
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Poisson Distribution II
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Poisson Distribution III
• Example: A computer repair person is alarmed
each time there is a call for service. The number
of alarms per hour ~ Poisson (o = 2 per hour).
– The probability of three alarms in the next hour:
p(3) = e
2
2
3
/3! = 0.18
also, p(3) = F(3) – F(2) = 0.8570.677=0.18
– The probability of two or more alarms in a 1hour
period:
p(2 or more) = 1 – p(0) – p(1)
= 1 – F(1)
= 0.594
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Continuous Distributions
• Continuous random variables can be used
to describe random phenomena in which
the variable can take on any value in
some interval.
• In this section we will study the following
distributions:
– Uniform
– Exponential
– Normal
– Weibull
– Lognormal
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Parameterization of
Continuous Distributions
• A continuous probability distribution is described (or
defined) in terms of three parameters:
– is the location parameter which determines the central
tendency of the distribution on the xaxis (it could be the
mean or the median). Sometimes called shift parameter.
– is the scale parameter which determines the scale of the
values in the distribution (the standard deviation can be
considered as a scale parameter).
– is the shape parameter which determines the shape of
the distribution (skewness of values). Not all continuous
distributions have a shape parameter.

o
¸
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Uniform Distribution
• A random variable X is uniformly distributed on
the interval (a,b), U(a,b), if its pdf and cdf are:
• Properties
– P(x
1
< X < x
2
) is proportional to the length of the
interval [F(x
2
) – F(x
1
) = (x
2
x
1
)/(ba)]
– E(X) = (a+b)/2 V(X) = (ba)
2
/12
• U(0,1) provides the means to generate random
numbers, from which random variates can be
generated.
• It is called “Completely Random” distribution,
why??????
¦
¹
¦
´
¦
s s
÷
=
otherwise , 0
,
1
) (
b x a
a b
x f
¦
¹
¦
´
¦
>
s
÷
÷
=
b x
b x a
a b
a x
a x
x F
, 1
,
, 0
) (
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Exponential Distribution I
• A random variable X is exponentially
distributed with parameter ì > 0 if its pdf
and cdf are:
¹
´
¦
>
=
÷
elsewhere , 0
0 ,
) (
x e
x f
x ì
ì
¦
¹
¦
´
¦
> ÷ =
=
}
÷ ÷
0 , 1
0 0,
) (
0
x e dt e
x
x F
x
x t ì ì
ì
– E(X) = 1/ì V(X) = 1/ì
2
– Used to model interarrival times when arrivals are
completely random, and to model service times that are
highly variable
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Exponential Distribution II
– For several different exponential pdf’s (see figure), the value
of intercept on the vertical axis is ì, and all pdf’s eventually
intersect.
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Exponential Distribution III
• Memoryless property
–For all s and t greater than or equal to 0:
P(X > s+t  X > s) = P(X > t)
–This means that “the future is
independent of the past”
–Or: the fact that it hasn't happened yet,
tells us nothing about how much longer
it will take before it does happen
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Exponential Distribution IV
• Example: A lamp failure ~ exp(ì = 1/3
per hour), hence, on average, 1 failure per
3 hours.
– The probability that the lamp lasts longer than
its mean life is: P(X > 3) = 1(1e
3/3
) = e
1
=
0.368
– The probability that the lamp lasts between 2
to 3 hours is:
P(2 <= X <= 3) = F(3) – F(2) = 0.145
– The probability that it lasts for another hour
given it is operating for 2.5 hours:
P(X > 3.5  X > 2.5) = P(X > 1) = e
1/3
= 0.717
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Normal Distribution I
• A random variable X is normally distributed if it
has the following pdf:
– Mean:
– Variance:
– Denoted as X ~ N(µ,o
2
)
• Special properties:
– .
– f(µx)=f(µ+x); the pdf is symmetric about µ.
– The maximum value of the pdf occurs at x = µ; the mean
and mode are equal.
– No closed form for its cdf.
0 ) ( lim and , 0 ) ( lim = =
· ÷ ÷· ÷
x f x f
x x
· · ÷
(
(
¸
(
¸

.

\

÷
÷ = x
x
x f ,
2
1
exp
2
1
) (
2
o
µ
t o
· · ÷ µ
0
2
o
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Normal Distribution II
• Evaluating the distribution:
– Use numerical methods (no closed form)
– Independent of µ and o, using the standard
normal distribution:
Z ~ N(0,1)
– Transformation of variables: let Z = (X  µ) / o,
}
· ÷
÷
= u
z
t
dt e z
2 /
2
2
1
) ( where ,
t
( )
) ( ) (
2
1
) (
/ ) (
/ ) (
2 /
2
o
µ
o µ
o µ

t
o
µ
÷
÷
· ÷
÷
· ÷
÷
u = =
=

.

\

÷
s = s =
}
}
x
x
x
z
dz z
dz e
x
Z P x X P x F
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Normal Distribution III
• Example: The time required to load an
oceangoing vessel, X, is distributed as N(12,4)
– The probability that the vessel is loaded in less than 10
hours:
• Using the symmetry property, u(1) is the complement of
u (1)
1587 . 0 ) 1 (
2
12 10
) 10 ( = ÷ u =

.

\

÷
u = F
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Weibull Distribution I
• A random variable X has a Weibull distribution if
its pdf has the form:
• 3 parameters:
– Location parameter: u,
– Scale parameter:  , ( > 0)
– Shape parameter. o, (> 0)
¦
¹
¦
´
¦
>
(
(
¸
(
¸


.

\
 ÷
÷


.

\
 ÷
=
÷
otherwise , 0
, exp
) (
1
v

v

v

o
o o
x
x x
x f
) ( · ÷· v
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Weibull Distribution II
• Example: u = 0 and o = 1:
When  = 1,
X ~ exp(ì = 1/o)
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Lognormal Distribution
• A random variable X has a lognormal distribution
if its pdf has the form:
– Mean E(X) = e
µ+o
2
/2
– Variance V(X) = e
2µ+o
2
/2 (
e
o
2
 1)
• Relationship with normal distribution
– When Y ~ N(µ, o
2
), then X = e
Y
~ lognormal(µ, o
2
)
– Parameters µ and o
2
are not the mean and variance of
the lognormal
( )
¦
¹
¦
´
¦
(
(
¸
(
¸
÷
÷
=
otherwise 0,
0 ,
2
ln
exp
2
1
) (
2
2
x
σ
μ x
σx π
x f
µ=1,
o
2
=0.5,1,2.
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• Usually used to model time needed to
perform some task.
• Also, it can be used to model some process
in the case where collecting actual data is
not possible.
• These are the same applications of Weibull
distribution.
Lognormal Distribution II
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• A distribution whose parameters are the observed
values in a sample of data.
– May be used when it is impossible or unnecessary to
establish that a random variable has any particular
theoretical parametric distribution.
– So, we will use the actual data rather than fitting a
theoretical distribution to them as in the previous
described distributions.
– Advantage: no assumption beyond the observed values in
the sample.
– Disadvantage: sample might not cover the entire range of
possible values.
• How to generate such distributions will be covered
later.
Empirical Distributions
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• The world that the simulation analyst sees is
probabilistic, not deterministic.
• In this chapter:
– Reviewed several important probability distributions.
– Showed applications of the probability distributions in a
simulation context.
• Important task in simulation modeling is the
collection and analysis of input data, e.g.,
hypothesize a distributional form for the input
data. Reader should know:
– Difference between discrete, continuous, and empirical
distributions.
– Poisson process and its properties.
Summary
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Additional Notes
• The lecture covers the following
sections from the textbook:
–Chapter 6
• Section 6.2
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