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STAT 120 Lecture 8 Random Variables A random variable is a quantity whose value is determined by the outcome of a statistical experiment.

. It can be thought of as a function that maps the outcomes of a statistical experiment into the set of real numbers. A random variable is said to be discrete if its range is finite or countably infinite. Examples Coin is tossed three times. Let X be the number of heads obtained. hen X is a discrete random variable which ta!es the value "# $# % and &. Coin is tossed until a head is obtained. Let ' be the random variable representing the number of tosses required. ' is a discrete random variable ta!ing values $# %# &# (# )# ****.. A random variable is said to be continuous if its range is an interval of the real line. Example +tudents are chosen at random from the set of all male students at ,-I and their heights .in cm/ are measured. Let X be the height of a student. X is a continuous random variable. he behaviour of a discrete random variable X may be completely described by giving# for each value of X# the probability that X assumes that value. If X is a random variable# then the probability function f of X is the function f.x/ 0 1.X0x/ for each x in the range of X. A fair coin is tossed three times. Let X be the number of heads obtained. he probability function of X is given in the following table.

x .number of heads/

"

&

f.x/ or 1 .X0x/ $35 &35 &35 $35 Exercise A fair die is thrown twice. Let X be the sum of the scores obtained. 2erive the probability function of X. 1roperties of probability functions. Let X be a discrete random variable with probability function f. hen (i ) 0 f ( x) 1
(ii ) f ( x ) =1

Exercise he probability function f of a random variable X is given by x $ % & f.x/ c %c $3& 2etermine the value of c. 4ence calculate the probability that X is greater than $.

If X is a random variable # then it may ta!e one of many values. -e may attempt to get some appreciation of the typical value of X by computing an average. he most common way of doing this is by computing the mean or expected value of X. Let X be a random variable with probability function f. hen the mean of X# or E(X) = xf(x). Exercise Let X be the number of courses for which a randomly selected Costaatt pupil is registered and suppose the probability function is given by the following table. x $ % & ( ) f.x/ ."$ ."5 .$5 .%6 .(( Calculate E.X/ 7or reasons similar to those that led to the definition of the sample variance s 2 we define the variance of a discrete random variable X as follows Let X be a discrete random variable with finite mean # then the variance of X 2 ! is defined to be ( x ) 2 f ( x) . x 2 f ( x ) 9 2 8ar.X/ can also be shown equal to 2 0 he standard deviation is the square root of the variance Exercise Calculate the variance of X in the earlier experiment with the coin tossed three times where X is the number of heads.