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Math45a – CPU ; by HBCaspe

Binomial Probability Distribution


To understand binomial distributions and binomial probability, it helps to understand binomial
experiments and some associated notation; so we cover those topics first.

Binomial Experiment

A binomial experiment is a statistical experiment that has the following properties:

 The experiment consists of n repeated trials.


 Each trial can result in just two possible outcomes. We call one of these outcomes a success and
the other, a failure.

 The probability of success, denoted by P, is the same on every trial.

 The trials are independent; that is, the outcome on one trial does not affect the outcome on other
trials.

Consider the following statistical experiment. You flip a coin 2 times and count the number of times the
coin lands on heads. This is a binomial experiment because:

 The experiment consists of repeated trials. We flip a coin 2 times.


 Each trial can result in just two possible outcomes - heads or tails.

 The probability of success is constant - 0.5 on every trial.

 The trials are independent; that is, getting heads on one trial does not affect whether we get
heads on other trials.

Notation

The following notation is helpful, when we talk about binomial probability.

 x: The number of successes that result from the binomial experiment.


 n: The number of trials in the binomial experiment.

 P: The probability of success on an individual trial.


 Q: The probability of failure on an individual trial. (This is equal to 1 - P.)

 n!: The factorial of n (also known as n factorial).

 b(x; n, P): Binomial probability - the probability that an n-trial binomial experiment results
in exactly x successes, when the probability of success on an individual trial is P.

 n Cr: The number of combinations of n things, taken r at a time.

Binomial Distribution

A binomial random variable is the number of successes x in n repeated trials of a binomial experiment.
The probability distribution of a binomial random variable is called a binomial distribution.

Suppose we flip a coin two times and count the number of heads (successes). The binomial random
variable is the number of heads, which can take on values of 0, 1, or 2. The binomial distribution is
presented below.

Number of heads Probability

0 0.25

1 0.50

2 0.25

The binomial distribution has the following properties:

 The mean of the distribution (μx) is equal to n * P .


 The variance (σ2x) is n * P * ( 1 - P ).

 The standard deviation (σx) is sqrt[ n * P * ( 1 - P ) ].

Binomial Formula and Binomial Probability

The binomial probability refers to the probability that a binomial experiment results
in exactly xsuccesses. For example, in the above table, we see that the binomial probability of getting
exactly one head in two coin flips is 0.50.
Given x, n, and P, we can compute the binomial probability based on the binomial formula:

Binomial Formula. Suppose a binomial experiment consists of n trials and results in x successes. If the
probability of success on an individual trial is P, then the binomial probability is:

b(x; n, P) = nCx * Px * (1 - P)n - x


or
b(x; n, P) = { n! / [ x! (n - x)! ] } * Px * (1 - P)n - x

Example 1

Suppose a die is tossed 5 times. What is the probability of getting exactly 2 fours?

Solution: This is a binomial experiment in which the number of trials is equal to 5, the number of successes
is equal to 2, and the probability of success on a single trial is 1/6 or about 0.167. Therefore, the binomial
probability is:

b(2; 5, 0.167) = 5C2 * (0.167)2 * (0.833)3


b(2; 5, 0.167) = 0.161

Example 2: A test is conducted which is consisting of 20 MCQs (multiple choices questions)


with every MCQ having its four options out of which only one is correct. Determine the
probability that a person undertaking that test has answered exactly 5 questions wrong.

Solution:

Here, n = 20, n - k = 5, k = 20 - 5 = 15

Here the probability of success = probability of giving a right answer = s = 1414

Hence, the probability of failure = probability of giving a wrong answer = 1 - s


= 1 - 1414 = 3434

When we substitute these values in the formula for Binomial distribution we get,

So, P (exactly 5 out of 20 answers incorrect) = C (20, 5) * (14)(14) 1515 * (34)(34) 55

→→ P (5 out of 20) = (20∗19∗18∗17∗16)(5∗4∗3∗2∗1)(20∗19∗18∗17∗16)(5∗4∗3∗2∗1) * (14)


(14) 1515 * (34)(34) 55

= 0.0000034 (approximately)
Thus the required probability is 0.0000034 approximately.

Example 3: A die marked A to E is rolled 50 times. Find the probability of getting a


“D” exactly 5 times.

Solution:

Here, n = 50, k = 5, n - k = 45.

The probability of success = probability of getting a “D”= s = 1/5

Hence, the probability of failure = probability of not getting a “D” = 1 - s = 4/5.

Sample question: “60% of people who purchase sports cars are men. If 10 sports car owners are
randomly selected, find the probability that exactly 7 are men.”

Step 1:: Identify ‘n’ and ‘X’ from the problem. Using our sample question, n (the number of randomly
selected items — in this case, sports car owners are randomly selected) is 10, and X (the number you
are asked to “find the probability” for) is 7.
Step 2: Figure out the first part of the formula, which is:
n! / (n – X)! X!

Substituting the variables:


10! / ((10 – 7)! × 7!)

Which equals 120. Set this number aside for a moment.

Step 3: Find “p” the probability of success and “q” the probability of failure. We are given p = 60%, or .6.
therefore, the probability of failure is 1 – .6 = .4 (40%).
Step 4: Work the next part of the formula.
pX
= .67
= .0.0279936

Set this number aside while you work the third part of the formula.
Step 5: Work the third part of the formula.
q(.4 – 7)
= .4(10-7)
= .43
= .0.064
Step 6: Multiply the three answers from steps 2, 4 and 5 together.
120 × 0.0279936 × 0.064 = 0.215.

A coin is tossed four times. Calculate the probability of

obtaining more heads than tails.


B(4, 0.5) p = 0.51 − p = 0.5

An agent sells life insurance policies to five equally aged,

healthy people. According to recent data, the probability of a

person living in these conditions for 30 years or more is 2/3.

Calculate the probability that after 30 years:

1. A l l f i v e p e o p l e a r e s t i l l l i v i n g .

B(5, 2/3) p = 2/3 1 − p = 1/3

2. A t l e a s t t h r e e p e o p l e a r e s t i l l l i v i n g .
3. E x a c t l y t w o p e o p l e a r e s t i l l l i v i n g .

If from six to seven in the evening one telephone line in every

five is engaged in a conversation: what is the probability that

when 10 telephone numbers are chosen at random, only two are in

use?

B(10, 1/5)p = 1/51 − p = 4/5

The probability of a man hitting the target at a shooting range

is 1/4. If he shoots 10 times, what is the probability that he hits

the target exactly three times? What is the probability that he hits

the target at least once?

B(10, 1/4) p = 1/41 − p = 3/4


5

There are 10 red and 20 blue balls in a box. A ball is chosen

at random and it is noted whether it is red. The process repeats,

returning the ball 10 times. Calculate the expected value and the

standard deviation of this game.

B(10, 1/3) p = 1/31 − p = 2/3

It has been determined that 5% of drivers checked at a road

stop show traces of alcohol and 10% of drivers checked do not

wear seat belts. In addition, it has been observed that the two

infractions are independent from one another. If an officer stops

five drivers at random:


1. C a l c u l a t e t h e p r o b a b i l i t y t h a t e x a c t l y t h r e e o f t h e d r i v e r s
have committed any one of the two offenses.

2. C a l c u l a t e t h e p r o b a b i l i t y t h a t a t l e a s t o n e o f t h e d r i v e r s
checked has committed at least one of the two offenses.

A pharmaceutical lab states that a drug causes negative side

effects in 3 of every 100 patients. To confirm this affirmation,

another laboratory chooses 5 people at random who have

consumed the drug. What is the probability of the following

events?

1. N o n e o f t h e f i v e p a t i e n t s e x p e r i e n c e s i d e e f f e c t s .

B(100, 0.03) p = 0.03 q = 0.97


2. A t l e a s t t w o e x p e r i e n c e s i d e e f f e c t s .

3. W h a t i s t h e a v e r a g e n u m b e r o f p a t i e n t s t h a t t h e l a b o r a t o r y
should expect to experience side effects if they choose 100

patients at random?

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