Questions tagged [pr.probability]

Theory and applications of probability and stochastic processes: e.g. central limit theorems, large deviations, stochastic differential equations, models from statistical mechanics, queuing theory.

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185
votes
12answers
25k views

Is there an introduction to probability theory from a structuralist/categorical perspective?

The title really is the question, but allow me to explain. I am a pure mathematician working outside of probability theory, but the concepts and techniques of probability theory (in the sense of ...
64
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12answers
92k views

If you break a stick at two points chosen uniformly, the probability the three resulting sticks form a triangle is 1/4. Is there a nice proof of this?

There is a standard problem in elementary probability that goes as follows. Consider a stick of length 1. Pick two points uniformly at random on the stick, and break the stick at those points. What ...
25
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5answers
7k views

What mathematical treatment is there on the renormalization group flow in a space of Lagrangians?

What mathematical treatment is there on the renormalization group flow in a space of Lagrangians?
358
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15answers
50k views

Why do roots of polynomials tend to have absolute value close to 1?

While playing around with Mathematica I noticed that most polynomials with real coefficients seem to have most complex zeroes very near the unit circle. For instance, if we plot all the roots of a ...
38
votes
3answers
3k views

The probability for a symmetric matrix to be positive definite

Let me give a reasonable model for the question in the title. In ${\rm Sym}_n({\mathbb R})$, the positive definite matrices form a convex cone $S_n^+$. The probability I have in mind is the ratio $p_n=...
14
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4answers
6k views

Is there a simple way to compute the number of ways to write a positive integer as the sum of three squares?

It's a standard theorem that the number of ways to write a positive integer N as the sum of two squares is given by four times the difference between its number of divisors which are congruent to 1 ...
23
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3answers
3k views

Probabilities in a riddle involving axiom of choice

The question is about a modification of the following riddle (you can think about it before reading the answer if you like riddles, but that's not the point of my question): The Riddle: We assume ...
7
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1answer
336 views

Bound for largest eigenvalue of symmetric matrices of uniform random variables over $[0,1]$ and fixed $1$s along diagonal and scattered $1$s

Given a $n\times n$ symmetric random matrix whose diagonal elements are all fixed as $1$. In addition, there are $k$ $1$s will be randomly scattered in upper triangular (of course, the corresponding ...
54
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1answer
5k views

Probability that a stick randomly broken in five places can form a tetrahedron

Edit (June 2015): Addressing this problem is a brief project report from the Illinois Geometry Lab (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), dated May 2015, that appears here along with a foot-...
19
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5answers
1k views

Nice applications for Schwartz distributions

I am to teach a second year grad course in analysis with focus on Schwartz distributions. Among the core topics I intend to cover are: Some multilinear algebra including the Kernel Theorem and ...
23
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1answer
807 views

Two conjectures about zero inner products and dissociated sets

The following problems come from something I worked on (with my coauthors) related to proving a new time lower bound for streaming problems. Having worked on these problems for some time with little ...
22
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1answer
2k 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
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2answers
585 views

Isomorphisms between spaces of test functions and sequence spaces

I am in the process of writing some self-contained notes on probability theory in spaces of distributions, for the purposes of statistical mechanics and quantum field theory. Perhaps the simplest ...
9
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4answers
6k views

Mean minimum distance for N random points on a unit square (plane)

A previously posted question "mean minimum distance for N random points on a one-dimensional line" produced an elegant answer: for a line of length L, the expected minimum distance (between random ...
3
votes
0answers
160 views

Metrics on finite groups and generalizations of central limit theorems for balls volumes (à la Diaconis-Graham)

In wonderful lectures by P. Diaconis "Group representations in probability and statistics, Chapter 6. Metrics on Groups, and Their Statistical Use" metrics on permutation groups are considered and ...
2
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1answer
314 views

Distribution of ratio between complex Gaussian and Chi-square R.V.s

What would be the distribution (p.d.f.) of the following ratio? $$z = \frac{x_{1}}{|x_{1}|^2 + |x_{2}|^2 + ... + |x_{M}|^2}$$ where $x_{i} \sim \mathcal{CN}(0,a), \forall i$ and $a > 1$. As can ...
95
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5answers
7k views

integral of a “sin-omial” coefficients=binomial

I find the following averaged-integral amusing and intriguing, to say the least. Is there any proof? For any pair of integers $n\geq k\geq0$, we have $$\frac1{\pi}\int_0^{\pi}\frac{\sin^n(x)}{\...
55
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12answers
5k views

Geometric / physical / probabilistic interpretations of Riemann zeta(n>1)?

What are some physical, geometric, or probabilistic interpretations of the values of the Riemann zeta function at the positive integers greater than one? I've found some examples: 1) In MO-Q111339 ...
48
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3answers
4k views

A roadmap to Hairer's theory for taming infinities

Background Martin Hairer gave recently some beautiful lectures in Israel on "taming infinities," namely on finding a mathematical theory that supports the highly successful computations from quantum ...
29
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2answers
7k views

Mean minimum distance for N random points on a one-dimensional line

Let's say that I have a one-dimensional line of finite length 'L' that I populate with a set of 'N' random points. I was wondering if there was a simple/straightforward method (not involving long ...
19
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6answers
8k views

A balls-and-colours problem

A box contains n balls coloured 1 to n. Each time you pick two balls from the bin - the first ball and the second ball, both uniformly at random and you paint the second ball with the colour of the ...
35
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6answers
3k views

Measures of non-abelian-ness

Let $G$ be a finite non-abelian group of $n$ elements. I would like a measure that intuitively captures the extent to which $G$ is non-commutative. One easy measure is a count of the non-commutative ...
21
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2answers
1k views

Can one view the Independent Product in Probability categorially?

One can construct a category of probability spaces, but this category has no products. Now probability theory relies strongly on the ability to build independent products, the product measure. In a ...
12
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4answers
794 views

Good introduction to statistics from a algebraic point of view?

There are already lots of questions on this subject like Is there an introduction to probability theory from a structuralist/categorical perspective? Is there a combinatorial/topological treatment ...
17
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1answer
619 views

Reference request: a conjecture of Rota on positive functions of a random variable

Rota and Shen's On the Combinatorics of Cumulants ends with a conjecture which I'll restate as follows: Let $p \in \mathbb{R}[x_1, x_2, ...]$ be a polynomial such that, for any sequence $X_1, X_2, ...
8
votes
2answers
611 views

The Odds 3 (or More) Group Elements Commute

Some time ago I asked about the odds 2 group elements commute. I wonder about the odds that 3 group elements commute. Is there a "closed" formula for the sum $$ \frac{1}{|G|^3} \sum_{g,h,k} \delta([...
9
votes
1answer
461 views

Twisted random walks

Suppose the points of two random walks in $\mathbb{R}^2$ are given the step number (or time) as a third coordinate, so that they become paths in $\mathbb{R}^3$. Here are several pairs of walks of $n=...
6
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3answers
1k views

Packing density of randomly deposited circles on a plane

Let's say that I have a rectangular two-dimensional surface of bounded dimensions, $[0,A]$ and $[0,B]$: Under "no overlap" constraints, I sequentially deposit circles of radii $r_c$ on this surface,...
11
votes
1answer
343 views

Formula for $U(N)$ integration wanted

Before you jump on the "duplicate" buttom, let me say that I do not want to hear about Weingarten calculus and I do not want to see a character of the symmetric group. What I would like is a formula ...
4
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1answer
236 views

Map from the Multiset Monad to the Giry Monad: From Data to Probabilities

The Mulitiset monad, aka the free commutative monoid monad or "Bag" monad, takes a set to the set of all Multisets for that set. A Multiset is like a set, but can have duplicates. It is used in ...
7
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1answer
316 views

Can one divide algebraic manifolds ? Make sense: $Gr(2,n)/ Gr(2,n+m) = P^{n-1}/P^{n+m-1} P^{n-2}/P^{n+m-2}$

Let's start from a little bit far. Basic probability theory - chain rule reads: $$ P(AB) = P(A)P(B|A)$$ Example: consider n+m balls, where n - white balls, m - black balls, consider A - first ...
5
votes
2answers
315 views

Brownian motion and hitting a Quadrilateral

I want to compute the hitting probability of a bounded plane by a Brownian motion starting at the origin. In other words, given the coordinates of a quadrilateral A , can we compute $P(T_{A}<\...
147
votes
33answers
54k views

What is convolution intuitively?

If random variable $X$ has a probability distribution of $f(x)$ and random variable $Y$ has a probability distribution $g(x)$ then $(f*g)(x)$, the convolution of $f$ and $g$, is the probability ...
94
votes
13answers
32k views

What are the big problems in probability theory?

Most branches of mathematics have big, sexy famous open problems. Number theory has the Riemann hypothesis and the Langlands program, among many others. Geometry had the Poincaré conjecture for a long ...
78
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26answers
11k views

Probabilistic Proofs of Analytic Facts

What are some interesting examples of probabilistic reasoning to establish results that would traditionally be considered analysis? What I mean by "probabilistic reasoning" is that the approach should ...
32
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4answers
4k views

“Entropy” proof of Brunn-Minkowski Inequality?

I read in an information theory textbook the Brunn-Minkowski inequality follows from the Entropy Power inequality. The first one says that if $A,B$ are convex polygons in $\mathbb{R}^d$, then $$ m(...
56
votes
1answer
5k views

Why can't a nonabelian group be 75% abelian?

This question asks for intuition, not a proof. An earlier question, Measures of non-abelian-ness was thoroughly answered by Arturo Magidin. A paper by Gustafson1 proves that, for a nonabelian group, ...
32
votes
1answer
3k views

When should we expect Tracy-Widom?

The Tracy-Widom law describes, among other things, the fluctuations of maximal eigenvalues of many random large matrix models. Because of its universal character, it obtained his position on the ...
25
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3answers
2k views

Central limit theorem via maximal entropy

Let $\rho(x)$ be a probability density function on $\mathbb{R}$ with prescribed variance $\sigma^2$, so that: $$\int_\mathbb{R} \rho(x)\, dx = 1$$ and $$\int_\mathbb{R} x^2 \rho(x), dx = \sigma^2$$ ...
53
votes
4answers
8k views

Connectivity of the Erdős–Rényi random graph

It is well-known that if $\omega=\omega(n)$ is any function such that $\omega \to \infty$ as $n \to \infty$, and if $p \ge (\log{n}+\omega) / n$ then the Erdős–Rényi random graph $G(n,p)$ is ...
18
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6answers
6k views

Metrization of weak convergence of signed measures

Edit: Changed from "Hausdorff" to "metric" spaces. Let $\mathcal{M}(\Omega)$ denote the space of signed regular Borel measures on a compact metric space $\Omega$. By Riesz-Markov, this is the dual ...
41
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5answers
6k views

Heuristically false conjectures

I was very surprised when I first encountered the Mertens conjecture. Define $$ M(n) = \sum_{k=1}^n \mu(k) $$ The Mertens conjecture was that $|M(n)| < \sqrt{n}$ for $n>1$, in contrast to the ...
16
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4answers
15k views

Maximum of Gaussian Random Variables

Let $x_1,x_2,…,x_n$ be zero mean Gaussian random variables with covariance matrix $\Sigma=(\sigma_{ij})_{1\leq i,j\leq n}$. Let $m$ be the maximum of the random variables $x_{i}$ $$ m=\max\{x_i:i=...
47
votes
5answers
2k views

Tetris-like falling sticky disks

Suppose unit-radius disks fall vertically from $y=+\infty$, one by one, and create a random jumble of disks above the $x$-axis. When a falling disk hits another, it stops and sticks there. Otherwise, ...
39
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1answer
4k views

Anti-concentration bound for permanents of Gaussian matrices?

In a recent paper with Alex Arkhipov on "The Computational Complexity of Linear Optics," we needed to assume a reasonable-sounding probabilistic conjecture: namely, that the permanent of a matrix of i....
9
votes
1answer
5k views

Intuitive understanding of the Stieltjes transform

I have been using random matrix theory in signal processing and have some trouble understanding what the Stieltjes transform does. The gist of my work is that I have an $N\times N$ true covariance ...
25
votes
4answers
2k views

Distribution of roots of complex polynomials

I generated random quadratic and cubic polynomials with coefficients in $\mathbb{C}$ uniformly distributed in the unit disk $|z| \le 1$. The distribution of the roots of 10000 of these polynomials are ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

Proof of Krylov-Bogoliubov Theorem

Where can I find a proof (in English) of the Krylov-Bogoliubov theorem, which states if $X$ is a compact metric space and $T\colon X \to X$ is continuous, then there is a $T$-invariant Borel ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Distribution of the spectrum of large non-negative matrices

This question is related to that of Thurston. However, I am not interested in algebraic integers, and I wish to focus on random matrices instead of random polynomials. When considering (entrywise) ...
29
votes
2answers
1k views

Shortest path through $\sqrt{n}$ points out of $n$

Say I sample $n$ points uniformly at random in the unit square, and then I look for the shortest path through $\sqrt{n}$ of those points (rounding up, say). What happens to the length of this path as ...