# 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.

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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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 ...

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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 ...

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Conjecture. Let $P(x),Q(x) \in \mathbb{R}[x]$ be two monic polynomials with non-negative coefficients. If $R(x)=P(x)Q(x)$ is $0,1$ polynomial (coefficients only from $\{0,1\}$), then $P(x)$ and $Q(x)$ ...

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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 ...

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I've been studying a bit of probability theory lately and noticed that there seems to be a universal agreement that random variables should be defined as Borel measurable functions on the probability ...

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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 ...

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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)}{\...

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Hi all!
Google published recently questions that are asked to candidates on interviews. One of them caused very very hot debates in our company and we're unsure where the truth is. The question is:
...

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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 ...

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It is well known that Feynman integrals are one of the tools that physicists have and mathematicians haven't, sadly.
Arguably, they are the most important such tool. Briefly, the question I'd like to ...

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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 $n$ (...

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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 ...

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My question concerns the (completely deterministic) card game known as War, played by seven-year-olds everywhere, such as my son Horatio, and sometimes also by others, such as their fathers.
The ...

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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 ...

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My apologies if this is too elementary, but it's been years since I heard of this paradox and I've never heard a satisfactory explanation. I've already tried it on my fair share of math Ph.D.'s, and ...

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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,
...

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A Perron number is a real algebraic integer $\lambda$ that is larger than the absolute value of any of its Galois conjugates. The Perron-Frobenius theorem says that any
non-negative integer matrix $M$ ...

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Probabilists often work with Polish spaces, though it is not always very clear where this assumption is needed.
Question: What can go wrong when doing probability on non-Polish spaces?

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A cumulant is defined via the cumulant generating function
$$ g(t)\stackrel{\tiny def}{=} \sum_{n=1}^\infty \kappa_n \frac{t^n}{n},$$
where
$$
g(t)\stackrel{\tiny def}{=} \log E(e^{tX}).
$$
Cumulants ...

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If two different probability distributions have identical moments, are they equal? I suspect not, but I would guess they are "mostly" equal, for example, on everything but a set of measure zero. ...

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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 ...

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I am looking for examples of Markov Chains which are surprising in the following sense: a stochastic process $X_1,X_2,...$ which is "natural" but for which the Markov property is not obvious at first ...

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I recently thought about the following game (has it been considered before?).
Alice and Bob collaborate. Alice observes a sequence of independent unbiased random bits $(A_n)$, and then chooses an ...

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A coin is flipped $n$ times and you win if it comes up heads at least $k$ times. The coin is unusual in that you're allowed to pick the probability $p_i$ that it comes up heads on the $i$th flip, ...

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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-...

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This is a heuristic question that I think was once asked by Serge Lang. The gaussian: $e^{-x^2}$ appears as the fixed point to the Fourier transform, in the punchline to the central limit theorem, as ...

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In the world of real algebraic geometry there are natural probabilistic questions one can ask: you can make sense of a random hypersurface of degree d in some projective space and ask about its ...

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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 ...

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I understand that my question suffers from my lack of knowledge about the field, but as a mathematician without much knowledge of physics I have been wondering much about the following and I always ...

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Part of what I do is study typical behavior of large combinatorial structures by looking at pseudorandom instances. But many commercially available pseudorandom number generators have known defects, ...

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The Borel-Cantelli lemma is very frequently used to give a heuristic for whether or not certain statements in number theory are true.
For example, it gives some evidence that there are finitely many ...

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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, ...

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Suppose we have intervals of alternating color on $\mathbb{R}$ (say, red / blue / red / blue / …). All intervals have independent length, with all red intervals distributed as $\mathbb{P}_{R}$, all ...

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This is a vague question, and I will no doubt be (properly!) chastised for posing it.
I would like to generate a set $S$ of points in $\mathbb{R}^3$—$|S|$ finite or infinite—which
has the ...

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In this MathStackExchange post the question in the title was asked without much outcome, I feel.
Edit: As Douglas Zare kindly observes, there is one more answer in MathStackExchange now.
I am not ...

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

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What is the behavior of Conway's game of life when the initial position is random? -- We can ask this question on an infinite grid or on an $n$ by $n$ table (planar or on a torus). Specifically ...

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A complete measure space is one in which any subset of a measure-zero set is measurable.
For what reasons would I want a complete measure space? The only reason I can think of is in the context of ...

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Let G be a finite undirected connected graph. A divisor on G is an element of the free abelian group Div(G) on the vertices of G (or an integer-valued function on the vertices.) Summing over all ...

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A ball rolls down an inclined plane, encountering horizontal obstacles, at which it
rolls left/right with equal probability. There are regularly spaced staggered gaps that let the ball
roll down to ...

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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 ...

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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....

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If I have two operators or finite-dimensional matrices $A$ and $B$, how can I quantify the amount to which they commute or don't commute? (I would consider it a big plus if it is computable easily for ...

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It is a classical fact that if $(x_1,\ldots,x_n)$ is a random vector uniformly distributed on the sphere $S^{n-1} \subseteq \mathbb{R}^n$, then the random vector $(x_1,\ldots,x_{n-2})$ is uniformly ...

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What is the expected height of a stack of unit-length bricks, each one
stacked on the previous with a uniformly random shift within $\pm \delta$?
The stack topples if the center of gravity of the top $...

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I asked this question in math.stackexchange but I didn't have much luck. It might be more appropiate for this forum. Let $z_1,z_2,…,z_n$ be i.i.d random points on the unit circle ($|z_i|=1$) with ...

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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 ...

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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(...

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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=...

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Let $(X_\alpha)_{\alpha \in A}$ be a family of boolean random variables $X_\alpha: \Omega \to \{0,1\}$ on a probability space $\Omega = (\Omega, {\mathcal F}, {\mathbf P})$. Let ${\mathcal S}$ be a ...