# Discrete Random Variables; Expectation Spring 2014 Jeremy Orloff and Jonathan Bloom

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1 Discrete Random Variables; Expectation Spring 2014 Jeremy Orloff and Jonathan Bloom This image is in the public domain.

2 Board Question: Evil Squirrels One million squirrels, of which 100 are pure evil! Events: E = evil, G = good, A = alarm sounds Accuracy: P(A E ) =.99, P(A G ) =.01. a) A squirrel sets off the alarm, what is the probability that it is evil? b) Is the system of practical use? answer: a) Let E be the event that a squirrel is evil. Let A be the event that the alarm goes off. By Bayes Theorem, we have: P(A E )P(E ) P(E A) = P(A E )P(E ) + P(A E c )P(E c ) = b) No. The alarm would be more trouble than its worth, since for every true positive there are about 99 false positives. May 27, / 28

3 Big point Evil Nice Alarm No alarm Summary: Probability a random test is correct = = Probability a positive test is correct = These probabilities are not the same! May 27, / 28

4 Table Question: Dice Game 1 The Randomizer holds the 6-sided die in one fist and the 8-sided die in the other. 2 The Roller selects one of the Randomizer s fists and covertly takes the die. 3 The Roller rolls the die in secret and reports the result to the table. Given the reported number, what is the probability that the 6-sided die was chosen? answer: If the number rolled is 1-6 then P(six-sided) = 4/7. If the number rolled is 7 or 8 then P(six-sided) = 0. Explanation on next page May 27, / 28

5 Dice Solution This is a Bayes formula problem. For concreteness let s suppose the roll was a 4. What we want to compute is P(6-sided roll 4). But, what is easy to compute is P(roll 4 6-sided). Bayes formula says P(roll 4 6-sided)P(6-sided) P(6-sided roll 4) = P(4) (1/6)(1/2) = = 4/7. (1/6)(1/2) + (1/8)(1/2) The denominator is computed using the law of total probability: P(4) = P(4 6-sided)P(6-sided) + P(4 8-sided)P(8-sided) = Note that any roll of 1,2,... 6 would give the same result. A roll of 7 (or 8) would give clearly give probability 0. This is seen in Bayes formula because the term P(roll 7 6-sided) = 0. May 27, / 28

6 Reading Review Random variable X assigns a number to each outcome: X : Ω R X = a denotes the event {ω X (ω) = a}. Probability mass function (pmf) of X is given by p(a) = P(X = a). Cumulative distribution function (cdf) of X is given by F (a) = P(X a). May 27, / 28

7 Example from class Suppose X is a random variable with the following table. values of X : pmf p(a): 1/5 1/5 1/5 1/5 1/5 cdf F (a): 1/5 2/5 3/5 4/5 5/5 The cdf is the probability accumulated from the left. Examples. F ( 1) = 2/5, F (1) = 4/5, F (1.5) = 4/5, F ( 5) = 0, F (5) = 1. Properties of F (a): 1. Nondecreasing 2. Way to the left, i.e. as a ), F is 0 3. Way to the right, i.e. as a, F is 1. May 27, / 28

8 Concept Question: cdf and pmf X a random variable. values of X : cdf F (a): What is P(X 3)? a).15 b).25 c).5 d) What is P(X = 3) a).15 b).25 c).5 d) answer: (d).75. P(X 3) = F (3) = answer: (b) P(X = 3 = =.25. May 27, / 28

9 CDF and PMF F (a) a.5 p(a) a May 27, / 28

10 Deluge of discrete distributions Bernoulli(p) = 1 (success) with probability p, 0 (failure) with probability 1 p. In more neutral language: Bernoulli(p) = 1 (heads) with probability p, 0 (tails) with probability 1 p. Binomial(n,p) = # of successes in n independent Bernoulli(p) trials. Geometric(p) = # of tails before first heads in a sequence of indep. Bernoulli(p) trials. (Neutral language avoids confusing whether we want the number of successes before the first failure or vice versa.) May 27, / 28

11 Concept Question 1. Let X binom(n, p) and Y binom(m, p) be independent. Then X + Y follows: a) binom(n + m, p) b) binom(nm, p) c) binom(n + m, 2p) d) other 2. Let X binom(n, p) and Z binom(n, q) be independent. Then X + Z follows: a) binom(n, p + q) b) binom(n, pq) c) binom(2n, p + q) d) other 1. answer: (a). Each binomial random variable is a sum of independent Bernoulli(p random variables, so their sum is also a sum of Bernoulli(p) r.v. s. 2. answer: (d) This is different from problem 1 because we are combining Bernoulli(p) r.v. s with Bernoulli(q) r.v. s. This is not one of the named random variables we know about. May 27, / 28

12 Board Question: Find the pmf X = # of successes before the second failure of a sequence of independent Bernoulli(p) trials. Describe the pmf of X. Answer is on the next slide. May 27, / 28

13 Solution X takes values 0, 1, 2,.... The pmf is p(n) = (n + 1)p n (1 p) 2. For concreteness, we ll derive this formula for n = 3. Let s list the outcomes with three successes before the second failure. Each must have the form F with three S and one F in the first four slots. So we just have to choose which of these four slots contains the F : {FSSSF, SFSSF, SSFSF, SSSFF } 4 In other words, there are 1 = 4 = such outcomes. Each of these outcomes has three S and two F, so probability p 3 (1 p) 2. Therefore p(3) = P(X = 3) = (3 + 1)p 3 (1 p) 2. The same reasoning works for general n. May 27, / 28

14 Dice simulation: geometric(1/4) Roll the 4-sided die repeatedly until you roll a 1. Click in X = # of rolls BEFORE the 1. (If X is 9 or more click 9.) Example: If you roll (3, 4, 2, 3, 1) then click in 4. Example: If you roll (1) then click 0. May 27, / 28

15 Fiction Gambler s fallacy: [roulette] if black comes up several times in a row then the next spin is more likely to be red. Hot hand: NBA players get hot. May 27, / 28

16 Fact P(red) remains the same. The roulette wheel has no memory. (Monte Carlo, 1913). The data show that player who has made 5 shots in a row is no more likely than usual to make the next shot. May 27, / 28

17 Gambler s fallacy On August 18, 1913, at the casino in Monte Carlo, black came up a record twenty-six times in succession [in roulette]. [There] was a near-panicky rush to bet on red, beginning about the time black had come up a phenomenal fifteen times. In application of the maturity [of the chances] doctrine, players doubled and tripled their stakes, this doctrine leading them to believe after black came up the twentieth time that there was not a chance in a million of another repeat. In the end the unusual run enriched the Casino by some millions of francs. May 27, / 28

18 Hot hand fallacy An NBA player who made his last few shots is more likely than his usual shooting percentage to make the next one? May 27, / 28

19 Memory Show that Geometric(p) is memoryless, i.e. P(X = n + k X n) = P(X = k) Explain why we call this memoryless. Explanation given on next slide. May 27, / 28

20 Proof that geometric(p) is memoryless In class we looked the tree for this distribution. Here we ll just use the formula that define conditional probability. To do this we need to find each of the probabilities used in the formula. P(X n) = p n : If X n then the sequence of the sequence of trials must start with n successes. So, the probability of starting with n successes in a row is p n. That is P(X n) = p n. P(X = n + k): We already know P(X = n + k) = p n+k (1 p). Therefore, P( X = n + k ' X n ' ) P(X = n + k X n) = P(X b) P(X = n + k) = P(X n) p n+k (1 p) = p n = p k (1 p) = P(X = k) QED. May 27, / 28

21 Computing expected value Definition: E (X ) = x i p(x i ) 1. E (ax + b) = ae (X ) + b 2. E (X + Y ) = E (X ) + E (Y ) 3. E (h(x )) = h(x i ) p(x i ) i i A discussion of what E(X ) means and the example given in class are on the next slides. May 27, / 28

22 Meaning of expected value What is the expected average of one roll of a die? answer: Suppose we roll it 5 times and get (3, 1, 6, 1, 2). To find the average we add up these numbers and divide by 5: ave = 2.6. With so few rolls we don t expect this to be representative of what would usually happen. So let s think about what we d expect from a large number of rolls. To be specific, let s (pretend to) roll the die 600 times. We expect that each number will come up roughly 1/6 of the time. Let s suppose this is exactly what happens and compute the average. value: expected counts: The average of these 600 values (100 ones, 100 twos, etc.) is then average = = = This is the expected average. We will call it the expected value May 27, / 28

23 Class example We looked at the random variable X with the following table top 2 lines. 1. X : pmf: 1/5 1/5 1/5 1/5 1/5 3. E (X ) = -2/5-1/5 + 0/5 + 1/5 + 2/5 = 0 4. X 2 : E (X 2 ) = 4/5 + 1/5 + 0/5 + 1/5 + 4/5 = 2 Line 3 computes E (X ) by multiplying the probabilities in line 2 by the values in line 1 and summing. Line 4 gives the values of X 2. Line 5 computes E (X 2 ) by multiplying the probabilities in line 2 by the values in line 4 and summing. This illustrates the use of the formula E (h(x )) = h(x i ) p(x i ). Continued on the next slide. i May 27, / 28

24 Class example continued Notice that in the table on the previous slide, some values for X 2 are repeated. For example the value 4 appears twice. Summing all the probabilities where X 2 = 4 gives P(X 2 = 4) = 2/5. Here s the full table for X 2 1. X 2 : pmf: 2/5 2/5 1/5 3. E (X 2 ) = 8/5 + 2/5 + 0/5 = 2 Here we used the definition of expected value to compute E (X 2 ). Of course, we got the same expected value E (X 2 ) = 2 as we did earlier. May 27, / 28

25 Board Question: Interpreting Expectation a) Would you accept a gamble that offers a 10% chance to win \$95 and a 90% chance of losing \$5? b) Would you pay \$5 to participate in a lottery that offers a 10% percent chance to win \$100 and a 90% chance to win nothing? Find the expected value of your change in assets in each case? Discussion on next slide. May 27, / 28

26 Discussion Framing bias / cost versus loss. The two situations are identical, with an expected value of gaining \$5. In a study, 132 undergrads were given these questions (in different orders) separated by a short filler problem. 55 gave different preferences to the two events. Of these, 42 rejected (a) but accepted (b). One interpretation is that we are far more willing to pay a cost up front than risk a loss. (See Judgment under uncertainty: heuristics and biases by Tversky and Kahneman.) Loss aversion and cost versus loss sustain the insurance industry: people pay more in premiums than they get back in claims on average (otherwise the industry wouldn t be sustainable), but they buy insurance anyway to protect themselves against substantial losses. Think of it as paying \$1 each year to protect yourself against a 1 in 1000 chance of losing \$100 that year. By buying insurance, the expected value of the change in your assets in one year (ignoring other income and spending) goes from negative 10 cents to negative 1 dollar. But whereas without insurance you might lose \$100, with insurance you always lose exactly \$1. May 27, / 28

27 Board Question Suppose (hypothetically!) that everyone at your table got up, ran around the room, and sat back down randomly (i.e., all seating arrangements are equally likely). What is the expected value of the number of people sitting in their original seat? (We will explore this with simulations in Friday Studio.) Neat fact: A permutation in which nobody returns to their original seat is called a derangement. The number of derangements turns out to be the nearest integer to n!/e. Since there are n! total permutations, we have: n!/e P(everyone in a different seat) = 1/e n! It s surprising that the probability is about 37% regardless of n, and that it converges to 1/e as n goes to infinity. May 27, / 28

28 Solution Number the people from 1 to n. Let X i be the Bernoulli random variable with value 1 if person i returns to their original seat and value 0 otherwise. Since person i is equally likely to sit back down in any of the n seats, the probability that person i returns to their original seat is 1/n. Therefore X i Bernoulli(1/n) and E (X i ) = 1/n. Let X be the number of people sitting in their original seat following the rearrangement. Then X = X 1 + X X n. By linearity of expected values, we have n n E (X ) = E (X i ) = 1/n = 1. i=1 i=1 It s neat that the expected value is 1 for any n. If n = 2, then both people either retain their seats or exchange seats. So P(X = 0) = 1/2 and P(X = 2) = 1/2. In this case, X never equals E (X ). The X i are not independent (e.g. for n = 2, X 1 = 1 implies X 2 = 1). Expectation behaves linearly even when the variables are dependent. May 27, / 28

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