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Homework Help: Probability and Statistics Question

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

    It's problem 1. (b) in the attachment. I need help finding the average number of records.

    Note: Obviously, I'm not actually in the class. I just got bored and started going through the course assignments

    2. Relevant equations

    From the first part of the question, I know that:

    [tex] P_n= \frac {1}{n} [/tex]

    I also know that if f(n) is the probability of there being n records, then:

    [tex] <S_N> = \sum_{n=1}^{N} f(n)n [/tex]

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I know that the answer is supposed to be:

    [tex] <S_N>=\sum_{n=1}^{N} P_n [/tex]

    I'm not sure how to derive this. I know that I need to find f(n) first, but all the ways I can think of finding it are extremely complicated. I think finding <S_n> is supposed to be easy, since in the solutions the answer is written down without any explanation.
     

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  3. Jan 1, 2010 #2
    Never mind, I figured it out.
     
  4. Jan 1, 2010 #3

    Dick

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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    It's just the definition of an expectation value. You have a probability of 1/n of getting 1 record in each of N trials. Total expectation is the sum 1*(1/n). You definitely don't want to try and break it down like that. Finding f(n) IS complicated.
     
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