Anda di halaman 1dari 25

General Introduction:

 The set of all possible outcomes of a random / statistical experiment is called the
Sample Space and is represented by the symbol ‘S’.

 Each outcome in a sample space is called an element or a member of the sample

space, or simply a sample point.

 Sample spaces with a large or infinite number of sample points are best described
by a statement or rule. For any experiment we may be interested in the occurrence
of certain events rather than in the outcomes of a specific element in the sample

 In probability theory, an event is one or more of the possible outcomes of doing

something. An event is a subset of a sample space.

 The activity that produces an event is referred to in probability theory as an


 An experiment is called a random experiment if when conducted repeatedly under

essentially homogeneous conditions, the result is not unique but may be any one
of the various possible outcomes.

 Performing of a random experiment is called a trial. If a coin is tossed repeatedly,

the result is not unique. We may get any of the two faces, head or tail. Thus
tossing of a coin is a random experiment or trial and getting of a head or tail is an

 Event is called simple if it corresponds to a single possible outcome of the

experiment or trial otherwise it is known as a compound or composite event.
Thus, in tossing of a single die, the event of getting ‘5’ is a simple event but the
event “getting an even number”, is a composite event.

 Two or more events are said to be mutually exclusive if the happening of any one
of them excludes the happening of all others in the same experiment. In other
words, events are said to be mutually exclusive if one & only one of them can
take place at a time. For example, in toss of a coin, the events “heads” and “tail”
are mutually exclusive because of head comes, we cant get tail and if tail comes
we cant get head.

 The total number of possible outcomes of a random experiment is called the

exhaustive cases for the experiment. Differently, when a lift of the possible events
that can result from an experiment includes every possible outcome, the list is
said to be collectively exclusive. Thus, in toss of a single coin, we can get head
(H), or tail (T). Hence exhaustive number of cases is 2, viz., (H, T).
 The number of outcomes of a random experiment which entail (or result in) the
happening of an event are termed as the cases favorable to the event. For
example, in a toss of two coins, the number of cases favorable to the event
“exactly one head” is 2, viz., HT, TH and for getting ‘two head’ is 1, viz., HH.

 The outcomes are said to be equally likely or equally probable if none of them is
expected to occur in preference to other. Thus, in tossing of a coin (dice), all the
outcomes, viz., H, T (the faces 1,2,3,4,5,6) are equally likely if the coin (die) is

 Events are said to be independent of each other if happening of any one of them is
not affected by and does not affect the happening of any one of others. For
example, in tossing of a die repeatedly, the event of getting ‘5’ in 1st throw is
independent of getting ‘5’ in second, third or subsequent throws. And also, in
drawing cards from a pack of cards, the result of the second draw will depend
upon the card in the first draw. However, if the card drawn in the first draw is
replaced before drawing the second card, then the result of second draw will be
independent of the 1st draw.

 The complement of an event A w.r.t. S is the subset of all elements of S that are
not in A. We denote the complement of A by the symbol Ac.

 The intersection of two event A 7 B, denoted by the symbol A∩B, is the event
containing all elements that are common to A & B.

 The union of the two event A & B, denoted by the symbol AUB, is the event
containing all elements that belongs to A or B or both.

Few Derivations:
o A∩Φ = Φ
o AUΦ = A
o A∩Ac = Φ
o AU Ac = S
o Sc = Φ
o Φc = S
o (Ac)c = A
o (A∩B)c = AcUBc
o (AUB)c = Ac∩Bc
Permutation and Combination:

The word permutation in simple language means ‘arrangement’ & the word combination
means ‘group’ or ‘selection’. Let us consider three letters A, B & C. The permutations of
these 3 letters taken two at a time will be, AB, BC, CA, BA, CB & AC i.e., 6 in all
whereas the combination of three letters taken two at a time will be AB, BC & CA i.e., 3
in all. It should be noted that in combinations, the order of the elements (letters in this
case) is immaterial, i.e., AB & BA from the same combination but these are different

 A permutation of n different objects taken ‘r’ at a time, denoted by nPr, is an

orderes arrangement of only ‘r’ objects of the ‘n’ objects.

o nPr = n (n-1) ( n-2) …… (n-r+1)

o nPn = n!
o n! = 1*2*3*…….*(n-1)*n
o nPr = n! / (n-r)!

 A combination of ‘n’ different objects taken ‘r’ at a time, denoted by nCr is a

selection of only ‘r’ objects out of the ‘n’ objects, without any regard to the order
of arrangement.
o Cr = nPr / r!
Mathematical or Classical or ‘A PRIORI’ Probability:


If a random experiment results in ‘N’ exhaustive mutually exclusive & equally

likely outcomes (cases) out of which ‘m’ are favorable to the happening of an event A,
then the probability of occurrence of A, usually denoted by P(A) is given by,

Favorable number of cases to A m

P(A) = =
Exhaustive number of cases n

Shortly, classical probability defines the probability that an event will occur as,

Probability Number of outcomes where the event occurs

of an event Total number of possible outcomes

The definition (I) was given by James Bernoulli who was the first man to obtain a
quantitative measure of uncertainty.

Classical probability is often called ‘a priori’ probability because if we keep using orderly
examples such as fair coins, unbiased dice & standard decks of cards, we can state the
answer in advance (a priori) without tossing a coin, rolling a die, or drawing a card. We
do not have to perform experiments to make our probability statements about fair coins,
standard card decks & unbiased dice. Instead, we can make statements based on logical
reasoning before any experiments take place.

According to the above definition, the probability of getting a head in a toss of an

unbiased coin is ½, since the two exhaustive cases H and T are mutually exclusive &
equally likely & one is favorable to getting a head. Similarly in drawing a card from a
well shuffled pack of cards, the probability of getting an ace is 4/52 = 1/13. Thus, the
classical definition of probability does not require the actual experimentation i.e., no
experimental data are needed for its computation, nor it is based on previous experience.
It enables us to obtain probability by logical reasoning prior to making any actual trials &
hence it is also known as ‘a priori’ or theoretical or mathematical probability.

Obviously, the number of cases favorable to the complementary event Ac, i.e., non-
happening of event A are (N-m) & hence by definition, the probability of non-occurrence
of A is given by,

Favorable number of cases to Ac N-m m

P(Ac) = = = 1-
Exhaustive number of cases N N

» P (Ac) = 1 – P (A) » P (Ac) + P (A) = 1

Since m & N are non-negative integers, P(A) ≥ 0. Further, since the favorable no. of
cases to A are always less than or equal to the total no. of cases N, i.e., m ≤ N, we have
P(A) ≤ 1. Hence probability of any event is a number lying between 0 & 1, i.e.,
0 ≤ P(A) ≤ 1,
for any event A. if P(A) = 0, then A is called an impossible or null event. If P(A) = 1, then
A is called a certain event.

The probability of happening of the event A, i.e., P(A) is known as the probability of
success and is usually written as ‘p’ & the probability of the non-happening of A, i.e.,
P(Ac) is a known as the probability of failure, which is usually denoted by ‘q’. Thus,
» q = 1-p »q+p=1


This approach to probability is useful when we deal with card games, dice games,
coin tosses and the like, but has serious problems when we try to apply it to the less
orderly decision problems we encounter in management. It fails in the following

i) If N, the exhaustive number of outcomes of the random experiment is infinite.

ii) If the various outcomes of the random experiment are not equally likely. For
example, if a person jumps from the top of Qutab Minar, then the probability
of his survival will not be 50% since in this case the two mutually exclusive
and exhaustive outcomes, viz., survival & death are not equally likely.
iii) If the actual value of N is not known. Suppose an urn contains some balls
from of 2 colours, say red & white, their no. being unknown. If we actually
draw the balls from the urn, then we may form some idea about the ratio of
red to white balls in the urn. In the absence of any such experimentation
(which is the case in classical probability), we cannot draw any conclusion in
such a situation regarding the probability of drawing a white or red ball from
the urn.
Statistical or Relative frequency of Occurrence or Empirical Probability:

Definition: (Von Mises)

If an experiment is performed repeatedly under essentially homogeneous and

identical conditions, then the limiting value of the ratio of the no. of times the event
occurs to the no. of trials, as the no. of trials becomes in definitely large, is called the
probability of happening of the event, it being assumed that the kit is finite & unique.


Relative frequency approach defines probability as either:

1) The observed relative frequency of an event in a very large no. of trials, and
2) The proportion of times that an event occurs in the long run when conditions are

Suppose that an event ‘A’ occurs ‘m’ times in ‘N’ repetitions of a random
experiment. Then the ratio m/N gives the relative frequency of the event ‘A’ & it will not
vary appreciably from one trial to another. In the limiting case when N becomes
sufficiently large, it more or less settles to a number which is called the probability of A.

lim m
P(A) =
N→∞ N

Since in the relative frequency approach, the probability is obtained objectively

by repetitive empirical observation, it is also known as Empirical Probability.

The empirical probability provides validity to the classical theory of probability.

If an unbiased coin is tossed at random, then the classical probability gives the
probability of a head as ½. Thus, if we toss an unbiased coin 20 times, the classical
probability suggests we should have 10 heads. However, in practice, this will not
generally be true. In fact in 20 throws of a coin, we may get no head at all or 1 or 2 heads.
However, the empirical probability suggests that if a coin is tossed a large number of
times, say 500 times, we should on the average expect 50% heads & 50% tails. Thus, the
empirical probability approaches the classical probability as the no. of trials becomes
indefinitely large.


It may be remarked that the empirical probability P(A) defined in empirical

approach can never be obtained in practice & we can only attempt at a close estimate of
P(A) by making N sufficiently large. The following are the limitations of the experiment:
i) The experimental conditions may not remain essentially homogeneous &
identical in a large no. of repetitions of the experiment.
ii) The relative frequency m/N, may not attain a unique value, no matter however
large N may be.
Axiomatic Probability:

The modern theory of probability is based on the axiomatic approach introduced

by the Russian mathematician A. N. Kolmogorov in 1930s. Kolmogorov axiomised the
theory of probability in his small book “Foundations of Probabilty”, published in 1933,
introduces probability as a set of function & is considered as a classic.

In axiomatic approach, to start with, some concepts are laid down & certain
properties or postulates, commonly known as axioms, are defined & from these axioms
alone the entire theory is developed by logic of deduction. The axiomatic definition of
probability includes both the classical and empirical definitions of probability and at the
same time is free from their drawbacks.

The set of all possible outcomes of a random experiment is known as the sample
space & is denoted by S.

Of all the possible outcomes in the sample space of a random experiment, some
outcomes satisfy a specified description, which we call an event.

Thus, rigorously speaking an event may be defined as a non-empty subset of the

sample space. Every event may be expressed as a disjoint union of the single element
subsets of S & a disjoint union of some subsets of S.

When the approach is followed, no precise definition of probability is given,

rather we give certain axioms or postulates in which probability calculations are based.


Given a sample space of a random experiment, the (axiomatic) probability of the

occurrence of any event A is defined as a set function P(A) satisfying the following

Axiom 1: P(A) is defined, is real & non-negative i.e., P(A) ≥ 0 (Axiom of non-negativity)
Axiom 2: P(S) = 1 (Axiom of certainty)
Axiom 3: If A1, A2, …… , An is any finite or infinite sequence of disjoint events of S, then

n n
P( U Ai ) = ∑ P(Ai)
i=1 i=1

∞ ∞
P( U Ai ) = ∑ P(Ai)
i=1 i=1

(Axiom of additivity)
In particular, for 2 sets A & B (mutually exclusive), P(AUB) = P(A) + P(B).
Probability – Mathematical Notion:

Let us suppose that S is the sample space of a random experiment with a large no.
of trials with sample points (no. of all possible outcomes) N, i.e., n(S) = N. Let the no. of
occurrences (sample points) favorable to the event A be denoted by n(A). Then the
frequency interpretation of the probability gives:

n(A) n(A)
P(A) = =
n(S) N
Subjective Probabilities:

The subjective approach to assigning probabilities was introduced in the year 1926 by
Frank Ramsey in his book, “The Foundation of Mathematics & other Logical Essays”.
The concept was further developed by Bernard Koopman, Richard Good & Leaonard


The subjective probability defined as the probability assigned to an event by an

individual based on whatever evidence is available.
Hence such probabilities are based on the beliefs of the person making the
probability statement.

For example, if a teacher wants to find out the probability of Mr. X topping in MBA
examination this year, he may assign a value between zero & one according to his degree
of belief for possible occurrence. He may take into account such factors as the past
academic performance, the view of his colleagues, the attendance record, performance in
periodic tests, etc., & arrive at a probability figure.

The concept emphasizes the fact that since probability of an event is the degree of belief
or degree of confidence placed in the evidence available to him, different individuals may
differ in their degrees of confidence even when offered the same evidence. This evidence
may consist of relative frequency of occurrence data and any other quantitative or non-
quantitative information. Persons might arrive at different in values, experience &
attitudes etc. If an individual believes that it is unlikely probability close to zero to its
occurrence. On the other hand, if he believes that it is very likely that the event will
occur, he will assign a probability close to one.

Because most higher - level social & managerial decisions are concerned with specific,
unique situations, rather than with a long series of identical situations, decision makers at
this level make considerable use of subjective probabilities.

The personalistic approach is very broad and highly flexible. It permits probability
assignments to events for which there may be no objective data, or for which there may
be a combination of subjective and objective data. However, one has to be very careful
and consistent in the assignment of these probabilities otherwise the decisions made may
be misleading. Used with care the concept is extremely useful in the context of situations
in business decision making.
Importance of the concept of Probability:

• It is the foundation of the classical decision procedures of estimation and testing.

• Probability models can be very useful for making predictions.
• It is concerned with the construction of econometric models, with managerial
decisions on planning and control, with the occurrence of accidents of all kinds
and with random disturbances in an electrical mechanism.
• It is involved in the observation of the life span of a radio active atom, of the
phenotypes of the off springs, the crossing of two species of plants, the discussion
about sex of an unborn baby, etc.
• The probability theory provides a media of coping up with uncertainty.

In fact, it has become an indispensable tool for all types of formal studies that involve
uncertainty. It should be noted that the concept of probability is employed not only for
various types of scientific investigations, but also for many problems in everyday life.

Highlighting the importance of probability theory, Ya-Lun-Chou has beautifully pointed

out that statistics, as a method of decision-making under uncertainty, is founded on
probability theory, since probability is at once the language and the measure of
uncertainty & the risks associated with it. Before learning statistical decision procedures,
the reader must acquire an understanding of probability theory.
Theorem of Probability:

1) Addition Theorem:

a. For mutually exclusive events:

Statement: The probability of happening of any one of the two mutually disjoint events
is equal to the sum of their individual probabilities.
Symbolically, for disjoint event A & B,
P(AUB) = P(A) + P(B)

b. For event that are not mutually exclusive:

Statement: The probability of occurrence of at least one of the two events A & B is given
P(AUB) = P(A) + P(B) – P(A∩B)

c. For complementary events:

Statement: If A & Ac are complementary events, then the sum of individual probabilities
will be equal to unity,
P(A) + P(Ac) = 1

2) Multiplication Theorem:

a. For dependent events:

Two events A & B are said to be dependent when B can occur only when A is known to
have occurred (or vice versa). The probability attached to such an event is called the
conditional probability and is denoted by P(A/B) or in other words, probability of A given
that B has occurred.

Statement: The probability of simultaneous happening of two events A &B is given by,
P(A∩B) = P(A) . P(B│A); P(A) ≠0
Or P(B∩A) = P(B) . P(A│B); P(B) ≠ 0
Where P(B│A) is the conditional probability of happening of B under the condition that
A has happened and P(A│B) is the conditional probability of happening of A under the
condition that B has happened.

In other words, the probability of the simultaneous happening of the 2 events A & B is
the product of two probabilities, namely: the probability of the first event times the
conditional probability of the second event, given that the first event has already
occurred. We may take any one of the events A & B as the first event.
b. For independent events:

Event are said to be independent of each other if happening of any one of them is not
affected by & does not affect the happening of any one of the others.

If A and B are independent events so that the probability of occurrence or non-occurrence

of A is not affected by occurrence or non-occurrence of B, then we have,
P(A│B) = P(A) and P(B│A) = P(B)

Statement: Two events A and B are independent if and only if,

P(A∩B) = P(A) . P(B)
i.e., if the probability of the simultaneous happening of 2 events is equal to the product of
their individual probabilities
Few definitions:

 A single probability means that only one event can take place. It is called a
marginal or unconditional probability.

 The probability of two events occurring together or in succession is called Joint

probability. No event is affected by the events preceding or following it.

 Marginal probabilities under statistical dependence are computed by summing up

the probabilities of all the joint events in which the simple event occurs.

 Statistical dependence exists when the probability of some event is dependent on,
or affected by, the occurrence of some other event.

 Statistical independence exists when the occurrence of one event has no effect on
the probability of occurrence of another event.

 Posterior probability is a probability that has been revised after additional

information was obtained.

 An probability tree is a graphical representation showing the possible outcomes of

a series of experiments & their respective probabilities.

 Venn diagram is a pictorial representation of probability concepts in which the

sample space is represented as a rectangle & the events in the sample space as
portions of that rectangle.
BAYES’s theorem
Rule for the inverse probability
Revising Prior estimates of probabilities:

One of the important applications of the conditional probability is in the computation of

unknown probabilities, on the basis of the information supplied by the experiment or past
records. For ex, suppose an event has occurred through one of the various mutually
disjoint events or reasons. Then the conditional probability that it has occurred due to a
particular event or reason is called its inverse or posteriori probability.

These probabilities are compounded by Bayes’s Rule, named so after the British
mathematician Thomas Bayes who propounded it in 1763. the revision of old (given)
probabilities in the light of the additional information supplied by the experiment or past
records is of extreme help to business & management executives in arriving at valid
decisions in the face of uncertainties.

Statement: if an event A can only occur in conjunction with one of the n mutually
exclusive and exhaustive events E1, E2, …. , En & if A actually happens, then the
probability that it was preceded by the particular event Ei (i=1,2,3….,n) is given by:

n --------------------
P(Ei│A) =
∑ [P(Ei) . P(A│Ei)]

P(Ei) . P(A│Ei)
n --------------------
P(Ei│A) =
∑ [P(Ei) . P(A│Ei)]

The probabilities P(E1), P(E2), …… P(En) which are already given or known before
conducting an experiment are termed as a priori or priori probabilities. The conditional
probabilities P(E1│A), P(E2│A), …… , P(En│A), which are computed after conducting
the experiment viz., occurrence of A are termed as posteriori probabilities.

Bayes’s theorem offers a powerful statistical method of evaluating new information and
revising our prior estimates (based upon limited information only) of the probability that
things are in one state or another. If correctly used, it make it unnecessary to gather
masses of data over long periods of time in order to make good decision based on
The revision of the old (given) probabilities in the light of the additional information
supplied by the experiment or past records is of extreme help to business and
management executives in arriving at valid decisions in the face of uncertainty.

The notions of ‘prior’ or ‘posterior’ in Bayes’s theorem are relative to a given sample
outcome. That is, if a posterior distribution has been determined from a particular sample,
this posterior distribution would be considered the prior distribution relative to a new

Bayes’s theorem provides a powerful method in improving the quantity of probability for
aiding the management in decision-making under uncertainty. As we proceed with
repeated experiments, evidence accumulates & modifies the initial prior probabilities
and, thereby, modifies the intensity of a decision-maker’s belief in various hypotheses.
Repeated estimates will soon produce such low posterior probabilities for some
hypotheses that they can be eliminated from further consideration. In other words, the
more evidence we accumulate, the less important are the prior probabilities. The only
restriction on the application of Bayesian rule is that all hypotheses must be tenable in a
given situation & that none is assigned a prior probability of 0 or 1.
Random Variables:

 A variable is random if it takes on different values as a result of the outcomes of a

random experiment.

 Its value is determined by the outcome of a random experiment.

 It is a function that associates a real number with each element in the sample

 A random variable is also known as a chance variable or Stochastic variable.

 It can take anyone of the various possible value each with a definite probability.

 If the random variable X assumes only a finite or countably infinite set of values
it is known as discrete random variable.

 On the other hand, if the random variable X can assume infinite & uncountable
set of values, it is said to be a continuous random values, it is said to be a
continuous random variable, e.g., the age, weight & height of students in a class
are all continuous random variables.
Probability Distribution:

Probability distributions are related to frequency distributions. A frequency distribution is

a listing of the observed frequencies of all the outcomes of an experiment that actually
occurred when the experiment was done, whereas a probability distribution is a listing of
the probabilities of all the possible outcomes that could result if the experiment were

The concept of probability distribution is analogous to that of frequency distribution. Just

as frequency distribution tells us how the total frequency is distributed among different
values (or classes) of the variable, similarly a probability distribution tells us how total
frequency of 1 is distributed among the various values which the random variable can
Tabular form of probability distribution of X:

x x1 x2 x3 …… xn
p(x) p1 p2 p3 …… pn

1. Discrete probability distribution

A discrete probability can take on only a limited number of values, which can be listed.

The function pi=P(X=Xi) or p(x) is called the probability function or more precisely
probability mass function (p.m.f) of the random variable X and the set of all possible
ordered pairs {x, p(x)}, is called the probability distribution of the random variable X.

To summarize, the set of ordered pairs [x, f(x)] is a probability function, probability mass
function or probability distribution of the discrete random variable X if, for each possible
outcome x,
i) f(x) ≥ 0
ii) ∑ f(x) = 1
iii) P(X=x) = f(x)

2. Continuous probability distribution

A frequency polygon gets smoother & smoother as the sample size gets larger, & the
class intervals becomes more numerous & narrower. Ultimately the density polygon
becomes a smooth curve called the density curve. The function that defines the curve is
called the probability density function.

In a continuous probability distribution, the variable under consideration is allowed to

take on any value within a given range, so we cannot list all the possible values.

A function p(x) is said to be the probability density function of the continuousrandom

variable X if it satisfies the following properties:
i) p(x) ≥ 0, for all x in the interval [a,b]
ii) For 2 distinct numbers c & d in the interval [a, b]
P (c ≤ X ≤ d) = [Area under the probability curve between the ordinates
(vertical lines) at x=c & x=d]
iv) Total area under the probability curve is 1, i.e., P (a ≤ X ≤ b) = 1

In other words, the function f(x) is a probability density function for the continuous
random variable (x), defined over the set of real numbers R, if
i) f(x) ≥ 0, ∀ x ∈ R

∫ f(x) dx = 1
P(a<X<b) = ∫ f(x) dx

For a continuous random variable, the probability at a point is always zero, i.e.,
P(X=c)=0, for all single point values of c. Hence, in case of continuous random variable,
we always talk of probabilities in an interval & not at a point (which is always zero).

Since in the case of continuous random variable, the probability at a point is always zero,
using addition theorem of probability, we get
P(c ≤ X ≤ d) = P(c < X ≤ d) = P(c ≤ X < d) = P(c < X < d)
Hence, in case of continuous random variable, it does not matter if one or both the end
points of the interval (c , d) are included or not.

3. Cumulative probability function or Distribution function

If X is discrete random variable with probability function p(x) then, the distribution
function, usually denoted by F(x) is defined as:
F(x) = P(X ≤ x)
If X takes integral values, viz., 1, 2, 3, ……. Then
F(x) = P(X=1) + P(X=2) + …… + P(X=x)
⇒ F(x) = p(1) + p(2) + …… + p(x)
∴ F(x) = P(X ≤ x) = Σ p(x) for -∞ < x < ∞

In the above case,

F(x-1) = p(1) + p(2) + …… + p(x-1)
∴ F(x) – F(x-1) = p(x)
⇒ p(x) = F(x) – F(x-1)

Hence, if X is a random variable which can take only positive integral values, then
probability function can be obtained from distribution function.
If X is a continuous random variable with probability density function p(x), then the
distribution function is given by the integral.

F(x) P(X≤x) = ∫ p(x) dx

4. Joint or marginal probability distribution:

Let X & Y be two discrete random variables. Let us suppose that X can assume m values
x1, x2, …… , xm & Y can assume n values y1, y2, …… , yn. Let us consider the probability
of the ordered pair,
(xi, yj), i = 1, 2, …… , m & j = 1, 2, …… , n
defined by,
pij = P (X = xi & Y = yj) = p ( xi, yj)

The function p(x, y) defined for any ordered pair (x, y) is called joint probability function
of X & Y.

The function f(x, y) is a joint probability distribution or probability mass function of the
discrete variables X & Y, if
i) f(x, y) ≥ 0, ∀ (x ,y)
ii) Σx Σy f(x, y) = 1
iii) P(X=x, Y=y) = f(x, y)
Theoretical Distribution:

In the population, the values of the variable may be distributed according to some definite
probability law which can be expressed mathematically and the corresponding
probability distribution is known as theoretical probability distribution.

1. Binomial (Bernoulli) Distribution:

An experiment often consists of repeated trials each with two possible outcomes that may
be labeled success or failure. The most obvious application deals with the testing of items
as they come off an assemble line, where each test or trial may indicate a defective or a
non defective item. We may choose to define either outcome as a success. The process is
referred to as Bernoulli process. Each trial is called a Bernoulli trial.

Bernoulli Process:
The distribution can be used under the following conditions:
1) The random experiment is performed repeatedly a finite and fixed number of
times. In other words n, the no. of trials, is finite & fixed.
2) The outcome of the random experiment (trial) results in the dichotomous
classification of events. In other words, the outcome of each trial may be
classified into two mutually disjoint categories, called success (the occurrence of
the event) and failure (the non-occurrence of the event).
3) All the trials are independent, i.e., the result of any trial, is not affected in any
way, by the preceding trials and doesn’t affect the result of succeeding trials.
4) The probability of success (happening of an event) in any trial is p & is constant
for each trial. q=1-p, is termed as the probability of failure (non-occurrence of the
event) & is constant for each trial.

For example, if we toss a fair coin ‘n’ times (which is fixed and finite), then the outcome
of any trial is one of the mutually exclusive events, viz., head (success) & tail (failure).
Further, all the trials are independent, since the result of any throw of a coin does not
affect & is not affected by the result of other throws. Moreover, the probability of success
(head) in any trial is ½, which is constant for each trial. hence coin tossing problems will
give rise to Binomial distribution.

The distribution is useful in such an experiment where there are only two outcomes,
success or failure, good or defective, hit or miss, yes or no, etc.


1. Each trial has mutually exclusive possible outcomes, i.e., success or failure.
2. Each trial is independent of other trials.
3. The probability of a success (say p) remains constant from trial to trial.
4. The no. of trials is fixed.

If the probability of success in any trial is p, and that of failure in any trial is q, then the
probability of r successes in n independent trials is given by,

P(r) = P(X=r) = nCr . pr . q n-r

Where, p = probability of success
q = probability of failure
r = no. of successes desired
n = no. of trials undertaken
X = random number

The binomial distribution is completely determined, i.e., all the probabilities can be
obtained, if n & p are known. Obviously, q is known when p is given because q=1-p.

Since the random variable X takes only integral values, Binomial distribution is a discrete
probability distribution.

Constants of binomial distribution:

1. Mean = np
2. Variance = npq
3. σ = √(npq)

2. Poisson Distribution:

Experiments yielding numerical values of a random variable X, the number of outcomes

occurring during a given time interval or in a specified region, are called Poisson

The given time interval may be of any length, such as a minute, a day, a week, a month,
or even a year. Hence a Poisson experiment can generate observations for the random
variable X representing the number of telephone calls per hour received by an executive
in a service centre, the no. of days school is closed due to heavy rain, or the no. of
postponed games due to rain during a cricket tournament.

The specified region could be a line segment, an area, a volume, or perhaps a piece of
material. In such instances X might represent the number of field mice per acre, the
number of bacteria in a given culture, or the no. of typing errors per page.

Poisson process:
1) The number of outcomes occurring in one time interval or specified region is
independent of the number that occurs in any other disjoint time interval or region
of space. In this way we say that the Poisson process has no memory.
2) The probability that a single outcome will occur during a very short time interval
or in a small region is proportional to the length of the time interval or the size of
the region and doesn’t depend in the no. of outcomes occurring outside this time
interval or region.
3) The probability that more than one outcome will occur in such a short time
interval or fall in such a small region is negligible.

The number of X of outcomes occurring during a Poisson experiment is called Poisson

random variable, and its probability distribution is called the Poisson distribution.


1. The occurrence of events are independent i.e., the occurrence of an event in an

interval of time or space does not effect the probability of a second occurrence of
the event in the same (or any other) interval.
2. The probability of a single occurrence of the event in a given interval is
proportional to the length of the interval.
3. The probability of occurrence of more than one event in a very small interval is


Poisson distribution may be obtained as a limiting case of Binomial probability

distribution under the following conditions:
i) n, the no. of trials is independently large i.e., n→∞
ii) p, the constant probability of success for each trial is independently small i.e.,
iii) np=m, (say), is finite.

Under the above three conditions the Binomial probability function tends to the
probability function of the Poisson distribution given below,

P(r) = P (X=x) = e-m . mr

where, r is no. of success (occurrence of the event)
m = np, mean no. of occurrences per interval of time
e = 2.71823 (aaprox.)
& r! = r (r-1) (r-2) …… 3 . 2. 1

Constants of Poisson distribution:

1. Mean = np = m
2. Varance = m
3. σ = √m
3. Normal Distribution

Normal probability distribution or commonly called the normal distribution is a continous

probability distribution in which the relative frequencies of a continuous variable are
distributed according to the normal probability law. In other words, it is a symmetrical
distribution in which the frequencies are distributed evenly about the mean of the

Normal distribution is an approximation to binomial distribution when n is large & p or q

is not very small. The limiting frequency curve obtained as n becomes large is called the
normal frequency curve or simply normal curve. Normal distribution is a limiting case of
Poisson’s distribution when the mean m is large.

There are two basic reasons why the normal distribution occupies such a prominent place
in statistics:
1) It has some properties that make it applicable to a great many situations in which
it is necessary to make inferences by taking samples.
2) The normal distribution comes close to fitting he actual observed frequency
distributions of many phenomena, including human characteristics (weights,
heights, & IQs), output from physical process (dimensions & yields), and other
measures of interest to managers in both the public & private sectors.


A continuous random variable x is said to have a normal distribution with parameter m &
standard deviation σ, if it has the probability density function represented by the

[–1/(2σ2)] (x-µ)2
f(x) = 1 e
σ √(2π)
Where, σ = standard deviation of the given normal distribution
µ = mean of the random variable x
π = 3.1416
e = 2.7183

When µ = o, i.e., mean is zero

f(x) = 1 e
σ √(2π)

Probability density can be converted into frequency density multiplying the former
equation by N, i.e., the total number of items in the distribution.
Standard Normal Distribution:
If X is a random variable following normal distribution with mean µ & standard
deviation σ, then the random variable Z defined as follows,

is called the standard normal variate.
For standard normal variate, µ = 0 & σ = 1, hence the probability density function of
standard normal variate is given by,

φ(Z) = 1 e