# Questions tagged [probability]

A probability provides a quantitative description of the likely occurrence of a particular event.

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### 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 ...
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### Why does a 95% Confidence Interval (CI) not imply a 95% chance of containing the mean?

It seems that through various related questions here, there is consensus that the "95%" part of what we call a "95% confidence interval" refers to the fact that if we were to exactly replicate our ...
279k views

### What is the difference between “likelihood” and “probability”?

The wikipedia page claims that likelihood and probability are distinct concepts. In non-technical parlance, "likelihood" is usually a synonym for "probability," but in statistical usage there is a ...
15k 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 ...
44k views

### How to generate correlated random numbers (given means, variances and degree of correlation)?

I'm sorry if this seems a bit too basic, but I guess I'm just looking to confirm understanding here. I get the sense I'd have to do this in two steps, and I've started trying to grok correlation ...
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### How to tell the probability of failure if there were no failures?

I was wondering if there is a way to tell the probability of something failing (a product) if we have 100,000 products in the field for 1 year and with no failures? What is the probability that one of ...
6k views

### Functions of Independent Random Variables

Is the claim that functions of independent random variables are themselves independent, true? I have seen that result often used implicitly in some proofs, for example in the proof of independence ...
9k views

### Combining probabilities/information from different sources

Lets say I have three independent sources and each of them make predictions for the weather tomorrow. The first one says that the probability of rain tomorrow is 0, then the second one says that the ...
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### Wikipedia entry on likelihood seems ambiguous

I have a simple question regarding "conditional probability" and "Likelihood". (I have already surveyed this question here but to no avail.) It starts from the Wikipedia page on likelihood. They say ...
3k views

### $P[X=x]=0$ when $X$ is continuous variable

I know that for continuous variable $P[X=x]=0$. But i can't visualize that if $P[X=x]=0$, there is infinite number of possible $x$'s. And also why do their probabilities get infinitely small ?
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### What is the most surprising characterization of the Gaussian (normal) distribution?

A standardized Gaussian distribution on $\mathbb{R}$ can be defined by giving explicitly its density: $$\frac{1}{\sqrt{2\pi}}e^{-x^2/2}$$ or its characteristic function. As recalled in this ...
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### Time taken to hit a pattern of heads and tails in a series of coin-tosses

Inspired by Peter Donnelly's talk at TED, in which he discusses how long it would take for a certain pattern to appear in a series of coin tosses, I created the following script in R. Given two ...
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### Can anyone clarify the concept of a “sum of random variables”

In my probability class the terms "sums of random variables" is constantly used. However, I'm stuck on what exactly that means? Are we talking about the sum of a bunch of realizations from a random ...
29k views

### How to easily determine the results distribution for multiple dice?

I want to calculate the probability distribution for the total of a combination of dice. I remember that the probability of is the number of combinations that total that number over the total number ...
17k views

### Comparing and contrasting, p-values, significance levels and type I error

I was wondering if anybody could give a concise rundown as to the definitions and uses of p-values, significance level and type I error. I understand that p-values are defined as "the probability of ...
17k views

### How often do you have to roll a 6-sided die to obtain every number at least once?

I've just played a game with my kids that basically boils down to: whoever rolls every number at least once on a 6-sided die wins. I won, eventually, and the others finished 1-2 turns later. Now I'm ...
763 views

### How exactly do Bayesians define (or interpret?) probability?

Part of a series of trying to understand Bayesian vs frequentist: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I think I get the difference of how Bayesians and frequentists approach choosing between hypotheses, but I'm not quite ...
36k views

### How does linear regression use the normal distribution?

In linear regression, each predicted value is assumed to have been picked from a normal distribution of possible values. See below. But why is each predicted value assumed to have come from a normal ...
874 views

### Is accuracy an improper scoring rule in a binary classification setting?

I have recently been learning about proper scoring rules for probabilistic classifiers. Several threads on this website have made a point of emphasizing that accuracy is an improper scoring rule and ...
831 views

### I've heard that ratios or inverses of random variables often are problematic, in not having expectations. Why is that?

The title is the question. I am told that ratios and inverses of random variables often are problematic. What is meant is that expectation often do not exist. Is there a simple, general explication of ...
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### If random variables are drawn from an identical distribution, why doesn't this guarantee they are independent?

Having read a little about exchangeability, I went back to thinking about the iid condition required for the central limit theorem. It struck me that if two random variables are drawn from an ...
476 views

### $X_i, X_j$ independent when $i≠j$, but $X_1, X_2, X_3$ dependent?

I've seen the statement: It's possible that random variables $X_i, X_j$ are independent for $i≠j$, but $X_1, X_2, X_3$ are dependent. I haven't been able to find examples of this though. Any ...
18k views

### “The total area underneath a probability density function is 1” - relative to what?

Conceptually I grasp the meaning of the phrase "the total area underneath a PDF is 1". It should mean that the chances of the outcome being in the total interval of possibilities is 100%. But I ...
6k views

### Meaning of probability notations $P(z;d,w)$ and $P(z|d,w)$

What is the difference in meaning between the notation $P(z;d,w)$ and $P(z|d,w)$ which are commonly used in many books and papers?
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### Probability associated with experiencing all outcomes

Assume last year I commuted to work in a taxi, and suppose if there are $n$ taxis in the fleet I used. If I took one of these taxis every trip at random and with replacement, then what is the number ...
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### Transformation Chi-squared to Normal distribution

The relationship between the standard normal and the chi-squared distributions is well known. I was wondering though, is there a transformation that can lead from a $\chi^2 (1)$ back to a standard ...
36k views

### Does 10 heads in a row increase the chance of the next toss being a tail?

I assume the following is true: assuming a fair coin, getting 10 heads in a row whilst tossing a coin does not increase the chance of the next coin toss being a tail, no matter what amount of ...
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### A normal divided by the $\sqrt{\chi^2(s)/s}$ gives you a t-distribution — proof

let $Z \sim N(0,1)$ and $W \sim \chi^2(s)$. If $Z$ and $W$ are independently distributed then the variable $Y = \frac{Z}{\sqrt{W/s}}$ follows a $t$ distribution with degrees of freedom $s$. I am ...
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### How to choose significance level for a large data set?

I am working with a data set having N around 200,000. In regressions, I am seeing very small significance values << 0.001 associated with very small effect sizes, e.g. r=0.028. What I'd like to ...
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### Difference of two i.i.d. lognormal random variables

Let $X_1$ and $X_2$ be 2 i.i.d. r.v.'s where $\log(X_1),\log(X_2) \sim N(\mu,\sigma)$. I'd like to know the distribution for $X_1 - X_2$. The best I can do is to take the Taylor series of both and ...
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### Is joint normality a necessary condition for the sum of normal random variables to be normal?

In comments following this answer of mine to a related question, Users ssdecontrol and Glen_b asked whether joint normality of $X$ and $Y$ is necessary for asserting the normality of the sum $X+Y$? ...
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### Dungeons & Dragons Attack hit probability success percentage

In D&D players roll a 20 sided die trying to beat a set number to determine if an attack hits the target. Players often can add modifiers to this roll to help the odds in reaching this target ...
I have the following probability function: $$\text{Prob} = \frac{1}{1 + e^{-z}}$$ where $$z = B_0 + B_1X_1 + \dots + B_nX_n.$$ My model looks like \Pr(Y=1) = \frac{1}{1 + \exp\left(-[-3.92 + 0....