Probability Theory

Topics: Conditional probability, Probability, Probability theory Pages: 4 (2902 words) Published: October 27, 2014
GOALS When you have completed this chapter, you will be able to ONEDefine probability. TWO Describe the classical, empirical, and subjective approaches to probability. THREEUnderstand the terms experiment, event, outcome, permutation, and combination. FOURDefine the terms conditional probability and joint probability. FIVE Calculate probabilities applying the rules of addition and multiplication. SIXUse a tree diagram to organize and compute probabilities. SEVEN Calculate a probability using Bayes theorem. What is probability There is really no answer to this question. Some people think of it as limiting frequency. That is, to say that the probability of getting heads when a coin is tossed means that, if the coin is tossed many times, it is likely to come down heads about half the time. But if you toss a coin 1000 times, you are not likely to get exactly 500 heads. You wouldnt be surprised to get only 495. But what about 450, or 100 Some people would say that you can work out probability by physical arguments, like the one we used for a fair coin. But this argument doesnt work in all cases, and it doesnt explain what probability means. Some people say it is subjective. You say that the probability of heads in a coin toss is 12 because you have no reason for thinking either heads or tails more likely you might change your view if you knew that the owner of the coin was a magician or a con man. But we cant build a theory on something subjective. We regard probability as a mathematical construction satisfying some axioms (devised by the Russian mathematician A. N. Kolmogorov). We develop ways of doing calculations with probability, so that (for example) we can calculate how unlikely it is to get 480 or fewer heads in 1000 tosses of a fair coin. The answer agrees well with experiment. Some Definition Probability A value between 0 and 1, inclusive, describing the relative possibility (chance or likelihood) an event will occur. Experiment A process that leads to...
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