Welcome to my introductory post to a large series that I’m starting today. The main purpose of this post is to get you in the mood for the posts to follow. Namely, exploring and solving interesting probability questions from the real world.[Read more…]
This is an update to the main post from September 20. Please click on the link for a detailed description of the election process and how we model it to make the predictions you see below. Click here to go back to the daily predictions page.
You can click on the date above the map to check the predictions for other dates. You can also click on different states on the map to see our state-specific predictions.
This is an update to the main post from two weeks ago. Please click on the link for a detailed description of the election process and how we model it to make the predictions you see below.
You can click on the date above the map to check the predictions for other dates. You can also click on different states on the map to see our state-specific predictions. Click here to go back to the daily predictions page.
In the first 10 posts I mostly concentrated on theoretical topics. But the general focus of this blog is much broader. For the first time I’m going to show an actual application of probability theory for estimating real life events.
An ongoing event many people are closely following right now is the US presidential election. The primary season officially concluded at the end of July and now the general election battle is in full swing. The main clash is between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) and businessman Donald Trump (R). Clinton and Trump are challenged by 3rd party candidates Gary Johnson from the Libertarian Party (a two-time former governor of New Mexico) and Jill Stein from the Green Party (a physician and a political activist).
What will happen if you grab a solid rock and throw it at your neighbor’s window? The most common result is that the window will break. If your neighbor later asks if you know anything about the incident, you can confidently inform him that his window was broken because you threw a rock at it earlier. Cause and effect — sounds pretty straightforward.
But what if it wasn’t you who broke the window and, in fact, you have no idea what broke it? Did someone else throw a rock at it? Was there a large temperature difference between the center and the periphery of the glass which caused a spontaneous breakage? Or was it a spontaneous breakage caused by a fabric defect?
You see, unlike the previous question, this one is actually not straightforward to answer. It involves solving the sо-called inverse problem: inferring the causes of a particular effect.