Definition of Probability

Three Axioms

  • $0\leq P(E)\leq 1$

  • $P(S)=1$

  • For any sequence of eventes $E_1,E_2,\cdots,$ that are mutually exclusive

    $$P(\bigcup_{i=1}^\infty E_i)=\sum_{i=1}^{\infty}P(E_i))$$

Sequence of Events

  • increasing sequence of events: ${E_n,n\geq 1},E_n\subset E_{n+1}$

    $$\lim_{n\rightarrow\infty}E_n=\bigcup_{i=1}^\infty E_i$$

  • decreasing sequence of events: ${E_n,n\geq 1},E_n\supset E_{n+1}$

    $$\lim_{n\rightarrow\infty}E_n=\bigcap_{i=1}^\infty E_i$$

  • for an increasing or decreasing sequences of events


  • Borel-Cantelli Lemma

    if $\sum_{n=1}^{\infty}P(E_n)<\infty$, then

    $$P(\text{an infinite number of the }E_i\text{ occur})=P(\lim\sup_{t\rightarrow\infty}E_i)=P(\bigcap_{n=1}^\infty\bigcup_{i=n}^\infty E_i)=0$$

  • Converse

    $E_i$ are independent events, $\sum_{n-1}^\infty P(E_n)=\infty$, then

    $$P(\text{an infinite number of the }E_i\text{ occur})=1$$

Random Variable

  • Random Varible $X$: a function that assigns a real value to each outcome in $S$

    $$P(X\in A)=P(X^{-1}(A))$$

  • Distribution function $F$:

    $$F(x)=P(X\leq x)=P(X\in(-\infty,x])$$ $$\overline{F}(x)=P(X>x)$$

Expected Value

  • $$E =\int_{-\infty}^{\infty}xdF(x)=\begin{cases}\int_{-\infty}^{\infty}xf(x)dx \newline \sum_xxP(X=x)\end{cases}$$
  • $$Var =E[X^2]-E^2 $$
  • $$Var[\sum X_i]=\sum Var(X_i)+2{\sum\sum}_{i<j}Cov(X_i,X_j)$$
  • $$Cov(X,Y)=E[XY]-E E[Y]$$

Probability Identities

Let $A_1,A_2,\cdots,A_n$ be events; $I_i=[[A_i$ occurs$]]$; $N=\sum_{i=1}^nI_i$; $I=[[N>0]]$

  • 容斥原理

    $$ \begin{aligned} 1-I &= (1-1)^N \newline & = \sum_{i=0}^n{N\choose i}(-1)^i\newline E[I] &= E[N] = E[{N\choose 2}] +\cdots + (-1)^{n+1}E[{N\choose n}]\newline P(\bigcup_{1}^{n}A_i) &=\sum_{i=1}^n P(A_i)-{\sum\sum}_{i<j}P(A_iA_j)+\cdots+(-1)^{n+1}P(A_1A_2\cdots A_n) \end{aligned} $$

  • exactly $r$ of the events $A_1,\cdots, A_n$ occur

    $$ \begin{aligned} I_r &= [[N=r]] \newline &= {N\choose r}(1-1)^{N-r}\newline &= {N\choose r}\sum_{i=0}^{N-r}{N-r\choose i}(-1)^i \newline &= \sum_{i=0}^{n-r}{N\choose r+i}{r+i\choose r}(-1)^i\newline P &= E[I_r] =\sum_{i=0}^{n-r}(-1)^i{r+i\choose r}E[{N\choose r+i}]\newline &= \sum_{i=0}^{n-r}(-1)^i{r+i\choose r}{\sum\cdots\sum}_{j_1<j_2<\cdots j_{r+i}}P(A_{j_1}\cdots A_{j_{r+i}}) \end{aligned} $$

Moment Generating

  • moment generating function of $X$

    $$ \psi(t)=E[e^{tX}]=\int e^{tX}dF(x)$$

    $E[X^n]=\psi^n(0),n\geq 1$

  • moment generating function of random variable $X_1,\cdots,X_n$

    $$ \psi(t1,\cdots,t_n)=E[e^{\sum{j=1}^nt_jX_j}]$$

    MGF determines probability distribution, but doesn’t always exist

  • characteristic function of $X$


    CF determines probability distribution, and always exist

  • Laplace transform of distribution $F$ (for nonnegative values):


Conditional Expectation

  • $$E[X|Y=y]=\int_{-\infty}^{\infty}xdF(x|y)$$
  • $$E =E[E[X|Y]]=\int E[X|Y=y]dF_Y(y)$$

Ballot Problem

The probability $A$ receiving $n$ votes is always ahead in the count of $B$ receiving $m$ votes: $\frac{n-m}{n+m}$

Exponential Distribution

  • $E[e^{tX}]=\int_0^{\infty}e^{tx}\lambda e^{-\lambda x}dx=\frac{\lambda}{\lambda-t}$

  • Gamma with parameters $(n,\lambda)$: $S=\sum X$

    • $E[e^{tS}]=(\frac{\lambda}{\lambda-t})^n$
    • $f(x)=\frac{\lambda e^{-\lambda x}(\lambda x)^{n-1}}{\Gamma(n-1)}$
  • memeoryless: $P(X>s+t|X>t)=P(X>s)$

  • failure rate funtion: probability intensity that a $t$-year-old item will fail




  • Jensen’s inqeuality: $E[f(X)]\geq f(E )$

Stochastic Process

  • stochastic process $\underline{X}={X(t),t\in T}$, $T$ is an index set
  • discrete-time stochastic process: $T$ is a countable set
  • sample path: realization of $\underline{X}$
  • independent increments (continuous-time): $X(t_n)-X(t_{n-1})$ are independent
  • stationary increments: $X(t+s)-X(t)$ has same distribution for all $t$