**56**

votes

**9**answers

9k views

### Is there a natural random process that is rigorously known to produce Zipf's law?

Zipf's law is the empirical observation that in many real-life populations of n objects, the $k^{th}$ largest object has size proportional to $1/k$, at least for $k$ significantly smaller than $n$ ...

**52**

votes

**13**answers

10k views

### Statistics for mathematicians

I'm looking for an overview of statistics suitable for the mathematically mature reader: someone familiar with measure theoretic probability at say Billingsley level, but almost completely ignorant of ...

**27**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### You pass X people and Y people pass you: how relatively fast are you?

This question occurs to me every time I go jogging. I suspect every runner probabilist in the world must have thought of it (though I'm no probabilist), but I could not specifically find it online. I ...

**24**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Why do statistical randomness tests seem so ad hoc?

Wikipedia describes Kendall and Smith's 1938 statistical randomness tests like this:
The frequency test, was very basic: checking to make sure that there were roughly the same number of 0s, 1s, ...

**21**

votes

**2**answers

868 views

### Drawing natural numbers without replacement.

Suppose we start with an initial probability distribution on $\mathbb{N}$ that gives positive probability to each $n$. Let's call this random variable $X_1$ so we have $P(X_1=n)=p_{1,n}>0$ for all ...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

4k views

### L1 distance between gaussian measures

L1 distance between gaussian measures: Definition
Let $P_1$ and $P_0$ be two gaussian measures on $\mathbb{R}^p$ with respective "mean,Variance" $m_1,C_1$ and $m_0,C_0$ (I assume matrices have full ...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Calculating the “Most Helpful” review

How would you calculate the order of a list of reviews sorted by "Most Helpful" to "Least Helpful"?
Here's an example inspired by product reviews on Amazon:
Say a product has 8 total reviews and ...

**16**

votes

**4**answers

887 views

### Inference using Topological Data Analysis: Is it worth it for a regular statistician to learn TDA?

After having read Gunnar Carlsson's http://www.ams.org/journals/bull/2009-46-02/S0273-0979-09-01249-X/S0273-0979-09-01249-X.pdf I feel enthusiastic to use some topological data analysis (TDA) methods ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

999 views

### Intuitive Proof of Cramer's Decomposition Theorem

Cramer's decomposition theorem states that if $X$ and $Y$ are independent real random variables and $X+Y$ has normal distribution, then both $X$ and $Y$ are normally distributed. I've seen a few ...

**15**

votes

**6**answers

984 views

### Is a fair lottery possible?

I'm trying to come up with a scheme for a lottery where each individual has roughly the same chance of becoming the winner, regardless of the number of tickets one holds. So no individual should have ...

**15**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### When is the function of a median closer to the median of the function than the mean of the function is to the function of the mean?

Background
notation: RV= random variable, $\mu=$ mean $m=$ median
Jensen's Inequality considers the relationship between the mean of a function of an RV and the function of the mean of an RV.
If ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

628 views

### Gini Coefficient and Renyi Entropy

Gini coefficient (aka Gini Index) is a quantity used in economics to describe income inequality. It is 0 for uniformly distributed income, and approaches 1 when all income is in hands of one ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

397 views

### The Chow & Robbins game ≈ 0.79295350640: improvements could come from simple statistics, or from a continuous version of the game

This question seeks help with improving a numerical estimate of the value of the Chow and Robbins game. Much about this game is unknown, such as whether its value is rational, but there are two routes ...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

538 views

### Persistent homology of Gaussian Fields in Euclidean space

If you generate points in $\mathbb R^n$ via a process that respects a Gaussian normal distribution, then compute the persistent homology / barcodes, to my eye something fairly regular seems to be ...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

366 views

### How to sample uniformly from singular matrices

I would like to uniformly sample from all singular $n$ by $n$ Bernoulli matrices (that is each entry is $1$ or $0$ with probability $1/2$). I could of course just sample from all $n$ by $n$ Bernoulli ...

**13**

votes

**7**answers

2k views

### Correlation and Causation. When can we believe correlation (reasonably, at least) imply causation

We always hear, when reading on correlation, that "correlation does not imply causation."
Still, I have never seen any source that tries to answer the question of when can we reasonably conclude a ...

**13**

votes

**4**answers

451 views

### Are gaussians with different moments far in total variation distance?

If two Gaussians disagree on one moment, it seems like this should imply that they have a large variation distance--equivalently, if two Gaussians are close in variation distance it's hard for their ...

**13**

votes

**2**answers

593 views

### Archaeogenetics

This question is meant to be applied to recover historic information from genetic data.
The following model, is (probably) the simplest possible which takes recombinations into account.
First, let ...

**12**

votes

**3**answers

877 views

### entropy and flatness of densities

I was reading C.R Rao's Linear Statistical inference. Rao presents the entropy of a continuous distribution (expectation of -log density) as a measure of closeness to the uniform distribution, and ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

636 views

### Error to sum of Euler phi-functions

The number theory identity $\phi(1) + \phi(2) + \dots + \phi(n) \approx \frac{3n^2}{\pi^2}$ can be interpreted as counting relatively prime pairs of numbers $0 \leq \{ x,y \} \leq n$ .
Has anyone ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

463 views

### Covariance of INID order statistics [closed]

In the IID case, it is known that all order statistics are positively correlated.* Thus, we know that $$\text{Cov}(X_{(i)},X_{(j)}) \geq 0.$$ Is this known in the INID (independent, non-identically ...

**11**

votes

**1**answer

348 views

### Applications of the Giry monad in probability and statistics

In another thread, I asked about the $M$ endofunctor on the category $\operatorname{Meas}$ of measurable spaces, which sends a space $X$ to its space of measures $M(X)$.
Will Sawin described the ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

694 views

### Estimate rate of real correct/wrong from 4 answers quiz.

I recently read that one in ten students think the first man on the moon was Buzz Lightyear, a Toy story cartoon. I'm not here to discuss the data in itself, rather, this reading got me into a problem ...

**10**

votes

**7**answers

959 views

### Probabilistic (and other mathematical) methods of physics without the physics?

Many of the methods of physics are vastly more general than their use in that discipline. For example, information theory overlaps with a lot of statistical mechanics, and the latter actually ...

**10**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### How long for a simple random walk to exceed sqrt(T)?

Let {R_n} be a simple random walk with R_0 = 0, and let T be the smallest index such that k * sqrt(T) < |R_T| for some positive k. What is an expression for the probability distribution of T?

**10**

votes

**2**answers

255 views

### “Fractional sampling” from a probability distribution

My question concerns an operation on probability distributions which has arisen in some applied research. It is well-defined mathematically (at least in a limited context), but I don't know how to ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Bounding sum of multinomial coefficients by highest entropy one

When does the following hold?
$\sum_{(i_1,\ldots,i_k)\in E}
\frac{n!}{i_1! \ldots i_k!}
\le \exp(n H^*)$
Where
$H^*=\max_{(i_1,\ldots,i_k)\in E} -(\frac{i_1}{n}\log \frac{i_1}{n}+\ldots ...

**9**

votes

**9**answers

6k views

### why is it so cool to square numbers? (in terms of finding the standard deviation)

When we want to find the standard deviation of $\{1,2,2,3,5\}$ we do
$$\sigma = \sqrt{ {1 \over 5-1} \left( (1-2.6)^2 + (2-2.6)^2 + (3-2.6)^2 + (5 - 2.6^2) \right) } \approx 1.52$$.
Why do we need ...

**9**

votes

**2**answers

953 views

### How would you compute that “average” ?

I created a DJ-ing application that allows you to mix your MP3s with a real turntable.
So I generated an audio timecode to burn on a CD, left channel is the absolute position, right channel is a ...

**9**

votes

**3**answers

424 views

### Rapid evaluation of multivariate normal integral

I'm implementing a model that requires me to numerically evaluate a multivariate normal integral of the following form
$$\int_{-\infty}^\infty \phi(z)\displaystyle\prod_{i=1}^N \Phi(a_iz+b_i) \, ...

**9**

votes

**1**answer

368 views

### (almost) statistical independence of nodes degrees in a graph

Wireless networks are typically modeled as random geometric graphs. The number of nodes $N$ in the network is drawn from a Poisson distribution with intensity $\lambda$
$$P(N = n) = \frac{\lambda^n ...

**9**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Coin Pusher Game

While doing laundry at my local laundromat, I saw a coin pusher game. Below is a picture, and here is a video depicting how it works (disregard non-coins).
Essentially, one has a distribution of ...

**9**

votes

**2**answers

557 views

### Small crown probabilities (and infinite dimensional margin assumption)

My question is:
How do I find sharp upper bounds on $P(|q|\leq \epsilon)$ uniformly over a set of gaussian polynomes $q$ of degree two.
Notations and definitions (to make the question rigorous)
...

**9**

votes

**3**answers

324 views

### disconnected or poorly connected graphs in sport ratings systems

I've briefly read about rating systems that provide rankings to players based only on their performance wrt other players, in the context of chess. (for example, elo). When there is a lot of ...

**9**

votes

**0**answers

190 views

### What kind of random matrices have rapidly decaying singular values?

I've been told that in machine learning it's common to compute the singular value decomposition of matrices in order to throw out all information in the matrix except that corresponding to, say, the ...

**9**

votes

**0**answers

332 views

### Question from an economist: solving a model of traders' behavior with expectations about the future values of the variable they are currently optimizing

Motivation
I am an economist writing a paper for an academic finance journal. My paper is about the behavior of currency traders, who choose the price at which they will sell currency today, based on ...

**8**

votes

**7**answers

6k views

### Why isn't Likelihood a Probability Density Function?

Hi everyone, first post here...
I've been trying to get my head around why a likelihood isn't a probability density function. My understanding says that for an event X and a model parameter m:
...

**8**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Eigenvalues of Laplacian-Beltrami operator

I am interested in the first non zero eigenvalue of the Laplace-Beltrami operator in a 2D compact manifold, and if there is a geometric characterization of its value.
I am interested in the case when ...

**8**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### How to teach introductory statistic course to students with little math background?

Next semester I will teach an elementary statistic course for the first time (which I am actually quite excited about). A brief description can be found here. I am told to expect very little math ...

**8**

votes

**7**answers

3k views

### Lower bound for sum of binomial coefficients?

Hi! I'm new here. It would be awesome if someone knows a good answer.
Is there a good lower bound for the tail of sums of binomial coefficients? I'm particularly interested in the simplest case ...

**8**

votes

**2**answers

450 views

### Easier reference for material like Diaconis's “Group representations in probability and statistics”

I'm teaching a class on the representation theory of finite groups at the advanced undergrad level. One of the things I'd like to talk about, or possibly have a student do any independent project on ...

**8**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Bayesian statistics for pure mathematicians

Could someone please recommend reading on Bayesian statistics presented from a pure mathematical point of view? That is, works that start assuming a good knowledge of measure theoretic probability. ...

**8**

votes

**2**answers

302 views

### Inequality in information theory

I am reading the paper "chain independence and common information" (http://ttic.uchicago.edu/~yury/papers/independ.pdf). In this paper, an inequality is used several times (without proof) which looks ...

**8**

votes

**2**answers

576 views

### Notions of “independent” and “uncorrelated” for subsets of the natural numbers

In probability/statistics, there is a notion of two things being "independent", which would basically mean that any information we can get about one thing has no effect on our (probabilistic) ...

**8**

votes

**2**answers

336 views

### Rescaling positive definite matrices to force a unit eigenvector

Hello,
Let $X'X$ be a positive definite matrix and let $\mathbf{1}$ denote the vector of ones.
I'm hoping to construct a positive, diagonal matrix $W$ such that
$$(W X'X W) \mathbf{1} = ...

**8**

votes

**2**answers

542 views

### How is the longest increasing subsequence a matrix integral?

In "Random Matrices Random Permutations", the longest increasing subsequence of a permutation is related to an expectation over Hermitian matrices.
$$ \frac{1}{2^{|k|} n^{|k|/2}} \left\langle ...

**8**

votes

**1**answer

547 views

### What is quantum Brownian motion?

It seems that the current state of quantum Brownian motion is ill-defined. The best survey I can find is this one by László Erdös, but the closest the quantum Brownian motion comes to appearing is in ...

**8**

votes

**2**answers

455 views

### Order statistics (e.g., minimum) of infinite collection of chi-square variates?

Hi everyone,
This is my first time here, so please let me know if I can clarify my question in any way (incl. formatting, tags, etc.). (And hopefully I can edit later!) I tried to find references, ...

**8**

votes

**1**answer

718 views

### Monic polynomial from absolute value information

I'm trying to find the minimal (monic) polynomial $M(x)$ (over the rationals) for an algebraic number. I know the degree of the polynomial (call it $d$) and I have $d+1$ data points of the form $(x_i, ...

**8**

votes

**2**answers

420 views

### Integrating a simple exponential over the space of matrices that define a metric

I want to interpret an $n\times n$ matrix $D$ as a set of pairwise distances, and assume that $D$ obeys metric properties. Namely, $D_{ii} = 0$, $D_{ij} \geq 0$, $D_{ij} = D_{ji}$ and $D_{ij} \leq ...