Poisson Distribution

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The Poisson distribution is a discrete distribution. It is often used as a model for the number of events (such as the number of telephone calls at a business, number of customers in waiting lines, number of defects in a given surface area, airplane arrivals, or the number of accidents at an intersection) in a specific time period. It is also useful in ecological studies, e.g., to model the number of prairie dogs found in a square mile of prairie. The major difference between Poisson and Binomial distributions is that the Poisson does not have a fixed number of trials. Instead, it uses the fixed interval of time or space in which the number of successes is recorded.

Parameters: The mean is λ. The variance is λ.


[pic] is the parameter which indicates the average number of events in the given time interval. Ex.1. On an average Friday, a waitress gets no tip from 5 customers. Find the probability that she will get no tip from 7 customers this Friday. The waitress averages 5 customers that leave no tip on Fridays: λ = 5. Random Variable : The number of customers that leave her no tip this Friday. We are interested in P(X = 7).

Ex. 2 During a typical football game, a coach can expect 3.2 injuries. Find the probability that the team will have at most 1 injury in this game. A coach can expect 3.2 injuries : λ = 3.2.
Random Variable : The number of injuries the team has in this game. We are interested in [pic].
Ex. 3. A small life insurance company has determined that on the average it receives 6 death claims per day. Find the probability that the company receives at least seven death claims on a randomly selected day.

P(x ≥ 7) = 1 - P(x ≤ 6) = 0.393697

Ex. 4. The number of traffic accidents that occurs on a particular stretch of road during a month follows a Poisson distribution with a mean of 9.4. Find the probability that less than two accidents will occur on...
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