Understanding and Choosing the Right Probability Distributions with Examples

Understanding and Choosing the Right Probability Distributions with Examples

The Most Common Discrete Probability Distributions Explained with Examples. The correct discrete distribution depends on the properties of your data. For example, use the: Binomial distribution to model binary data, such as coin tosses.

Probability Distributions

A probability distribution is a mathematical function that describes the likelihood of obtaining the possible values for an event. A probability distribution may be either discrete or continuous. A discrete distribution is one in which the data can only take on certain values, while a continuous distribution is one in which data can take on any value within a specified range (which may be infinite).There are a variety of discrete probability distributions. The usage of discrete probability distributions depends on the properties of your data. For example, use the:

  • Binomial distribution to calculate probabilities for a process where only one of two possible outcomes may occur on each trial, such as coin tosses.Hypergeometric distribution to find the probability of k successes in n draws without replacement.Poisson distribution to measure the probability that a given number of events will occur during a given time frame, such as the count of library book checkouts per hour.Geometric distribution to determine the probability that a specified number of trials will take place before the first success occurs.

Binomial Distribution

The binomial distribution is probably the most widely known of all discrete distribution. It is a type of distribution that has two possible outcomes. One typical example of using binomial distribution is flipping coins. A coin toss has only two possible outcomes: heads or tails, and each outcome has the same probability of 1/2. Let’s take a look at when the Binomial Distribution can be used!

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