Questions tagged [distributions]

A distribution is a mathematical description of probabilities or frequencies.

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205k views

What is the intuition behind beta distribution?

Disclaimer: I'm not a statistician but a software engineer. Most of my knowledge in statistics comes from self-education, thus I still have many gaps in understanding concepts that may seem trivial ...
307k views

When (and why) should you take the log of a distribution (of numbers)?

Say I have some historical data e.g., past stock prices, airline ticket price fluctuations, past financial data of the company... Now someone (or some formula) comes along and says "let's take/use ...
405k views

In linear regression, when is it appropriate to use the log of an independent variable instead of the actual values?

Am I looking for a better behaved distribution for the independent variable in question, or to reduce the effect of outliers, or something else?
233k views

How to determine which distribution fits my data best?

I have a dataset and would like to figure out which distribution fits my data best. I used the fitdistr() function to estimate the necessary parameters to ...
99k views

Can a probability distribution value exceeding 1 be OK?

On the Wikipedia page about naive Bayes classifiers, there is this line: $p(\mathrm{height}|\mathrm{male}) = 1.5789$ (A probability distribution over 1 is OK. It is the area under the bell curve ...
203k views

Help me understand Bayesian prior and posterior distributions

In a group of students, there are 2 out of 18 that are left-handed. Find the posterior distribution of left-handed students in the population assuming uninformative prior. Summarize the results. ...
87k views

Why does the Cauchy distribution have no mean?

From the distribution density function we could identify a mean (=0) for Cauchy distribution just like the graph below shows. But why do we say Cauchy distribution has no mean?
34k views

Assessing approximate distribution of data based on a histogram

Suppose I want to see whether my data is exponential based on a histogram (i.e. skewed to the right). Depending on how I group or bin the data, I can get wildly different histograms. One set of ...
67k views

Understanding “variance” intuitively

What is the cleanest, easiest way to explain someone the concept of variance? What does it intuitively mean? If one is to explain this to their child how would one go about it? It's a concept that I ...
215k views

Relationship between poisson and exponential distribution

The waiting times for poisson distribution is an exponential distribution with parameter lambda. But I don't understand it. Poisson models the number of arrivals per unit of time for example. How is ...
142k views

Calculating the parameters of a Beta distribution using the mean and variance

How can I calculate the $\alpha$ and $\beta$ parameters for a Beta distribution if I know the mean and variance that I want the distribution to have? Examples of an R command to do this would be most ...
10k views

What's so 'moment' about 'moments' of a probability distribution?

I KNOW what moments are and how to calculate them and how to use the moment generating function for getting higher order moments. Yes, I know the math. Now that I need to get my statistics knowledge ...
77k views

How is the minimum of a set of IID random variables distributed?

If $X_1, ..., X_n$ are independent identically-distributed random variables, what can be said about the distribution of $\min(X_1, ..., X_n)$ in general?
20k views

Intuition on the Kullback–Leibler (KL) Divergence

I have learned about the intuition behind the KL Divergence as how much a model distribution function differs from the theoretical/true distribution of the data. The source I am reading goes on to say ...
40k views

How can a distribution have infinite mean and variance?

It would be appreciated if the following examples could be given: A distribution with infinite mean and infinite variance. A distribution with infinite mean and finite variance. A distribution with ...
18k views

What is the advantages of Wasserstein metric compared to Kullback-Leibler divergence?

What is the practical difference between Wasserstein metric and Kullback-Leibler divergence? Wasserstein metric is also referred to as Earth mover's distance. From Wikipedia: Wasserstein (or ...
150k views

Mean absolute deviation vs. standard deviation

In the text book "New Comprehensive Mathematics for O Level" by Greer (1983), I see averaged deviation calculated like this: Sum up absolute differences between single values and the mean. Then ...
40k views

How to identify a bimodal distribution?

I understand that once we plot the values as a chart, we can identify a bimodal distribution by observing the twin-peaks, but how does one find it programmatically? (I am looking for an algorithm.)
242k views

How to perform a test using R to see if data follows normal distribution

I have a data set with following structure: a word | number of occurrence of a word in a document | a document id How can I perform a test for normal ...
59k views

If the t-test and the ANOVA for two groups are equivalent, why aren't their assumptions equivalent?

I'm sure I've got this completely wrapped round my head, but I just can't figure it out. The t-test compares two normal distributions using the Z distribution. That's why there's an assumption of ...
13k views

Motivation for Kolmogorov distance between distributions

There are many ways to measure how similar two probability distributions are. Among methods which are popular (in different circles) are: the Kolmogorov distance: the sup-distance between the ...
17k views

Which has the heavier tail, lognormal or gamma?

(This is based on a question that just came to me via email; I've added some context from a previous brief conversation with the same person.) Last year I was told that the gamma distribution is ...
8k views

How does saddlepoint approximation work? What sort of problem is it good for? (Feel free to use a particular example or examples by way of illustration) Are there any drawbacks, difficulties, things ...
12k views

Kullback–Leibler vs Kolmogorov-Smirnov distance

I can see that there are a lot of formal differences between Kullback–Leibler vs Kolmogorov-Smirnov distance measures. However, both are used to measure the distance between distributions. Is there a ...
25k views

Generic sum of Gamma random variables

I have read that the sum of Gamma random variables with the same scale parameter is another Gamma random variable. I've also seen the paper by Moschopoulos describing a method for the summation of a ...
29k views

Probability distribution for different probabilities

If I wanted to get the probability of 9 successes in 16 trials with each trial having a probability of 0.6 I could use a binomial distribution. What could I use if each of the 16 trials has a ...
19k views

Empirical relationship between mean, median and mode

For a unimodal distribution that is moderately skewed, we have the following empirical relationship between the mean, median and mode: $$\text{(Mean - Mode)}\sim 3\,\text{(Mean - Median)}$$ How ...
23k views

Approximate order statistics for normal random variables

Are there well known formulas for the order statistics of certain random distributions? Particularly the first and last order statistics of a normal random variable, but a more general answer would ...
60k views

How can I test if given samples are taken from a Poisson distribution?

I know of normality tests, but how do I test for "Poisson-ness"? I have sample of ~1000 non-negative integers, which I suspect are taken from a Poisson distribution, and I would like to test that.
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Fake uniform random numbers: More evenly distributed than true uniform data

I'm looking for a way to generate random numbers that appear to be uniform distributed -- and every test will show them to be uniform -- except that they are more evenly distributed than true uniform ...
30k views

Understanding the parameters inside the Negative Binomial Distribution

I was trying to fit my data into various models and figured out that the fitdistr function from library MASS of ...
52k views

Test for bimodal distribution

I wonder if there is any statistical test to "test" the significance of a bimodal distribution. I mean, How much my data meets the bimodal distribution or not? If so, is there any test in the R ...
42k views

What exactly is the alpha in the Dirichlet distribution?

I'm fairly new to Bayesian statistics and I came across a corrected correlation measure, SparCC, that uses the Dirichlet process in the backend of it's algorithm. I have been trying to go through the ...
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What is normality?

In many different statistical methods there is an "assumption of normality". What is "normality" and how do I know if there is normality?