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Expected Value

  1. May 10, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Suppose that a point is chosen at random on a stick that has length 15 inches, and that the stick is broken into two pieces at that point. Find the expected value of the lengths of the two pieces.

    2. Relevant equations

    E(x)=[tex]\sumf(x)xdx[/tex] from -infinity to +infinity (continuous case)
    E(x)=[tex]\sumf(x)x[/tex] for all x (discrete case)

    3. The attempt at a solution


  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2010 #2


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    any ideas?

    try starting from a single uniform random variable X, with uniform distribution, representing break distance from one end....
    Last edited: May 11, 2010
  4. May 11, 2010 #3


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    Gold Member

    Start by defining a random variable X which represents the point where the stick is broken, measured from the left edge. What is E[X]?

    Now define two random variables L and R, where L = length of the left piece, and R = length of the right piece.

    Express L and R as functions of X. Then use that result to express E[L] and E[R] as functions of E[X].
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