Nahin Paul J. - Digital Dice

Author : Nahin Paul J.
Title : Digital Dice Computational Solutions to Practical Probability Problems
Year : 2008

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Comments on Probability and Monte Carlo. An asteroid or comet impact is the only natural disaster that can wipe out human society—A large impact is an improbable event that is absolutely guaranteed to occur. Over the span of geological time, very large impacts have happened countless times, and will occur countless more times in ages to come. Yet in any given year, or in one person's lifetime, the chance of a large impact is vanishingly small. The same, it should be noted, was also true when the dinosaurs ruled Earth. Then, on one ordinary day, probability arrived in the form of a comet, and their world ended. —Curt Pebbles, Asteroids: A History (Smithsonian Institution Press 2000), illustrating how even extremely-low-probability events become virtually certain events if one just waits long enough Monte Carlo is the unsophisticated mathematician's friend. It doesn't take any mathematical training to understand and use it. —MIT Professor Billy E. Goetz, writing with perhaps just a bit too much enthusiasm in Management Technology (January 1960. The truth is that random events can make or break us. It is more comforting to believe in the power of hard work and merit than to think probability reigns not only in the casino but in daily life. —Richard Friedman, M.D., writing in the New York Times (April 26, 2005) on mathematics in medicine Analytical results may be hard to come by for these cases; however, they can all be handled easily by simulation. —Alan Levine, writing in Mathematics Magazine in 1986 about a class of probability problems (see Problem 13 in this book) The only relevant difference between the elementary arithmetic on which the Court relies and the elementary probability theory of the case in hand is that calculation in the latter can't be done on one's fingers. —Supreme Court Justice John Harlan, in a 1971 opinion Whitcomh v. Chevis. ...

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