Saturday, November 19, 2005

Anything's probable

Probability is such an interesting yet complex topic. I can figure out so many different things using probability like how much I'll probably get in my next Maths test (Heh, guess you don't need to know probability for that), the number of boundaries that Sachin Tendulkar may hit and of course, most importantly, the number of heads I'll get if I toss a coin 200 times. But the sad part is that I find probability tough. I don't know why, most people find it quite easy, but then it is probable that I am unlike others (and otters too). With so many confusing formulae including the one created by this really nerdy Swiss dude called Bernoulli (his name would sound awesome if you add the word noodles at the end. Just think about it, 'Bernoulli Noodles' - Ready to eat in nCx(p^x)q^(n-x) minutes). Plus this year I have to learn all sorts of new stuff like continuous random variables, cumulative distribution, Binomial distribution... the list is endless! I have to remember tons of weird terms and the only thing I realise after 'n' mind-boggling minutes (where n=1,2,3,4...) of trying out each sum is that the probability of me finding out the answer to the problem is ZERO. This can be quite disheartening because the question always seems so simple.

For example, 'If you put your hand into a pink cotton bag having 10 red balls, 13 white balls and 6 raccoons, what is the probability of you picking one red ball, two white balls and a raccoon three consecutive times without replacement ?". This problem seems so simple at first sight. But then I think about it, try out the various permutations and combinations and arrive at an answer so far away from the 'back-of-the-textbook-answer' that I can't help but look at the person behind me and copy the answer before the teacher comes to my desk. Probability is basically guessing what is going to happen in the future and I can safely guess that if I don't start working out the Probability problems in my textbook, my Maths marks are going to take a dip. So, from tomorrow, with the proverb, “Practice makes perfect” deeply entrenched in my mind, I am going to crack probability and figure out what the hell Bernoulli meant when he famously said, “Let X be a binomially distributed variable”.

13 comments:

MTT Publishing said...

Good luck on your probability test. Or as you would put it, may you increase your chances and probability that your math marks will improve.

I'm working on a story with probability and programming in it. Odd running across it. Do you mind telling me the formula(e) for probably of random variables? I'm a layman, but would always be interested in the education. One more thing, if you can't do it or don't have time, could you direct me to somewhere that does?

Thanks.

Good luck again.

Joshua Pantalleresco

Neon said...

Joshua,
Thanks! For the formulae, it will be impossible for me to write it here due to the integral, sigma... signs. I'll give you a link though.

Vishal said...

jeeeeez man ... luky josh.. lukier neon .. dude u get lukier everyday.. anyway u can also find the prob of man utd winning ... its almost one on last check.. :D// also the prob of india losing this series is 0.5....
dont ask me how i figured that out.. im not gret shakes at prob either but anythings probable .. :D

Neon said...

How am I lucky?

Vishal said...

hmm lets see .. 1.ur goin fer the match...
2.ur goin fer the match
did i mention ur goin fer that match??

Neon said...

Guess my luck's running out then - It's raining!! :(

Siddhu said...

Dude, to write integral symbols and all that kind of shit, use LaTeX (which u will most definitely spend half ur life using if u come down to edinburgh ;) ) or simpler still, Microsoft Equation 3.0 - MSE is a load of shit, but its good enough for small formulas.

Now why am I saying that? Prolly cuz i'm sleep deprived! :P

Ghost Particle said...

Oh God! Math! nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo......

Neon said...

Siddhu,
Eh, thanks for the advice, and do get some sleep!

Neon said...

Ghost particle,
My sentiments egjactly.

Manasi Subramaniam said...

Heehee. Probability rocks. I loved it in school. Plus I did CBSE. Not the rotten matric stuff that you do. I loved Probability - especially the first section where you just need to figure the answer out without any formulae and stuff. And I'll have you know that I even had to do all kinds of Commercial Probability with weird formulae by some guy called Poisson. :-)

Neon said...

Oh yeah, we have Poisson(ous) stuff too... BTW it isn't rotten matric stuff, it's rotten State board stuff.

Manasi Subramaniam said...

Apologies. Rotten Stateboard stuff is even more rotten than rotten Matric stuff.