Assume I have a program that executes the following pseudocode

x = 1
for 0 to n
    y = random real in [0,1)
    if y < x
        x = y
return x

What is the expected value of the return of this function wrt to n?

In english, set X to 1000. Choose a random real in the half-open interval [0,1) n times, setting the minimum to X. What is the expected value of X in terms of n?

  • $\begingroup$ The duplicate addresses a slightly more complicated question, but all the answers tackle it by first answering this question. $\endgroup$
    – whuber
    May 31, 2017 at 1:44

1 Answer 1




(your pseudo-code is ambiguous. this assumes that the for-loop executes $n$ times in total, i.e. that the maximum value is non-inclusive.)


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