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Predicting vs Observing Probability

There are two ways to calculate probability:

  • using math to predict
  • by actually observing the event and keeping score.

Theoretical probability uses math to predict the outcomes. Just divide the favorable outcomes by the possible outcomes.

Experimental probability is based on observing a trial or experiment, counting the favorable outcomes, and dividing it by the total number of times the trial was performed.

Let’s look at this example: we tossed a coin 36 times and recorded the outcomes H for Heads and T for Tails:

H, T, H, H, T, T, H, T, T, T, T, T, T, T, T, H, H, T, H, H, T, H, H, H, H, T, H, H, T, H, H, T, H, H, T, H

Based on this experiment:

  • Experimental probability of flipping Heads is 19/36 or about 53% and Tails is 17/36 or about 47%
  • Theoretical probability of flipping Heads is 50% and Tails is 50%

Source: https://pixabay.com/en/graph-chart-growth-report-analyst-3068300/

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