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1.Random Variables and Expectation

2.Random Variables A random variable X is a mapping from a sample space S to a target set T, usually N or R . Example: S = coin flips, X(s ) = 1 if the flip comes up heads, 0 if it comes up tails Example: S = Harvard basketball games, and for any game s ∈S , X( s ) = 1 if Harvard wins game s , 0 if Harvard loses. These are examples of Bernoulli trials : The random variable has the values 0 and 1 only.

3.More Random Variables Example: S = sequences of 10 coin flips, X( s ) = number of heads in outcome s . E.g. X(HTTHTHTTTH) = 4. Example: S = Harvard basketball games, X( s ) = number of points player LR scored in game s .

4.Probability Mass Function For any x∈T , Pr({s∈S : X(s ) = x }) is a well defined probability. (Min 0, max 1, sum to 1 over all possible values of x , etc.) Usually we just write Pr(X = x ) . Similarly we might write Pr(X &lt; x ) Example: S = Roll of a die, X(s ) = number that comes up on roll s . Pr (X = 4) = 1/6 . Pr(X &lt;4) = ½.

5.Probability Mass Function Example: S = result of rolling a die twice X(s ) = 1 if the rolls are equal X(s ) = 0 if the rolls are unequal Pr(X =0) = 5/6 Pr(X =1) = 1/6.

6.Probability Mass Function Example: S = sequences of 10 coin flips, X( s ) = number of heads in outcome s . Then Pr(X =0) = 2 -10 = Pr(X =10), and by a previous calculation, Pr(X =5) ≈ .25

7.Expectation The Expected Value or Expectation of a random variable is the weighted average of its possible values, weighted by the probability of those values.

8.Expectation, example If a die is rolled three times, what is the expected number of common values? That is, 464 would have 2 common values; 123 would have 1. Pr(X =1) = 6∙5∙4/6 3 = 20/36 Pr(X =3) = 6/6 3 = 1/36 Pr(X =2) = 1-Pr(X=1)-Pr(X=3) = 15/36 E(X) = (20/36)∙1 + (15/36)∙2 + (1/36)∙3 ≈ 1.47

9.Variance The expected value E(X) of a random variable X is also called the mean . The variance of X is the expected value of the random variable (x-E(X)) 2 , the expected value of the square of the difference from the mean. That is, Variance is always positive, and measures the “spread” of the values of X.

10.Same mean, different variance ⅓ -2 -1 0 1 2 ⅕ Low variance High variance

11.Variance Example Roll one die, X can be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, each with probability 1/6. So E(X) = 3.5, so

12.Variance Example Roll two dice and add them. There are 36 outcomes, and X can be 1, 2, …, 12. But the probabilities vary. So E(X) = 7 and x 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Pr(x ) 1/36 2/36 3/36 4/36 5/36 6/36 5/36 4/36 3/26 2/36 1/36

13.FINIS

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