Teaching Statistics

Using Spreadsheets to Calculate Prob (X+Y=W)

Journal Article


Using the spreadsheet function SUMPRODUCT which calculates dot products, it is possible to compute the probabilities associated with the sums of independent discrete random variables. This allows the student to confirm properties of the sum of binomial and Poisson random variables. It also provides a method for computing the distribution of the sum of two (or more) arbitrary random variables. In addition, it also allows the student to compute the probabilities associated with the difference of random variables, and thus find the probability that one random variable exceeds another (or exceeds by a given amount).

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