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**nflguy****Member**- Registered: 2013-01-31
- Posts: 18

Lets say I have a magical coin that lands on heads 55% of the time and tails the other 45% of the time. How could I figure out how often out of 4 flips it will land on heads 0,1,2,3,4 times?

I have figured out that

4 heads is 9.15% (.55 * .55 * .55 * .55)

0 heads is 4.10% (.45 * .45 * .45 * .45)

I know that the answer is for 3 heads is 29.95%, 1 heads is 20.05% and 2 heads is 36.75%.

The problem is I can't figure out the formula for those. I was able to get the 3 heads using (0.55*0.55*0.55*0.45)*4 and the 1 heads by using (0.55*0.45*0.45*0.45)*4 but I dont even know if that is the right way to do it, and what the reason is that I have to use * 4 for those but the first two. I still can't figure out the 2 heads formula I just subtracted the other values to get the number.

I would like to be able to do this using other values and numbers of flips so the explanation and formula to do this one would greatly help me out.

Tom

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 86,376

Hi;

Just one heads is 20.0475%

Just 2 heads is 36.753 %

Just 3 heads is 29.9475 %

You could use the binomial distribution.

**In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.Of course that result can be rigorously obtained, but who cares?Combinatorics is Algebra and Algebra is Combinatorics.**

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**anonimnystefy****Real Member**- From: The Foundation
- Registered: 2011-05-23
- Posts: 15,522

Hi nflguy

Welcome to the forum!

Here lies the reader who will never open this book. He is forever dead.

Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

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**nflguy****Member**- Registered: 2013-01-31
- Posts: 18

Yes I know that Bobby, I am asking how did you figure that out? What is the formula to do so?

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 86,376

Where n is the number of heads.

**In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.Of course that result can be rigorously obtained, but who cares?Combinatorics is Algebra and Algebra is Combinatorics.**

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**nflguy****Member**- Registered: 2013-01-31
- Posts: 18

Ah ok so this is a binomial problem, sadly I am not that familiar with how they work. Ill have to go back and read up on the website to try and understand them a little more. Can you do binomial formulas in excel?

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 86,376

I do not use Excel but I believe there might be a command for that.

**In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.Of course that result can be rigorously obtained, but who cares?Combinatorics is Algebra and Algebra is Combinatorics.**

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**nflguy****Member**- Registered: 2013-01-31
- Posts: 18

bobbym wrote:

Where n is the number of heads.

Is this something I can do on a piece of paper by hand or is there a page on the website that explains it?

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 86,376

You can use that formula for hand calculation. What part of it do you not understand?

Of course that result can be rigorously obtained, but who cares?

Combinatorics is Algebra and Algebra is Combinatorics.

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**nflguy****Member**- Registered: 2013-01-31
- Posts: 18

I dont know what cdot is and how to do the 4 over the n. Its been about 20 years since I learned this stuff and my memory just isn't what it used to be.

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 86,376

That little dot in front means multiplication.

(.55)^n means raise .55 to the power of the number of heads.

Is an nCr or a binomial coefficient. The definition depends on a factorial, do you follow so far?

Of course that result can be rigorously obtained, but who cares?

Combinatorics is Algebra and Algebra is Combinatorics.

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**nflguy****Member**- Registered: 2013-01-31
- Posts: 18

yes I understand so far

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 86,376

Do you know what a factorial is? For instance is 4! familiar to you or should I start right there?

Of course that result can be rigorously obtained, but who cares?

Combinatorics is Algebra and Algebra is Combinatorics.

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**nflguy****Member**- Registered: 2013-01-31
- Posts: 18

start right there

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 86,376

Mathematicians are real big on two things, jargon and notation. They figure that way no one knows what they are talking about and that is the way they like it.

4! pronounced 4 factorial is shorthand for 4 x 3 x 2 x 1.

3! is 3 x 2 x 1

8! is 8 x 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1

Okay?

Of course that result can be rigorously obtained, but who cares?

Combinatorics is Algebra and Algebra is Combinatorics.

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**nflguy****Member**- Registered: 2013-01-31
- Posts: 18

got it

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 86,376

Let's go back to that magical formula:

and do one. Let's say you wanted just 2 heads out of 4 tosses. We know that n is the number of heads.

Do you follow the plugging in of 2 into the formula?

Of course that result can be rigorously obtained, but who cares?

Combinatorics is Algebra and Algebra is Combinatorics.

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**nflguy****Member**- Registered: 2013-01-31
- Posts: 18

yes

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 86,376

One piece at a time:

which has a formula for it

so

which is

Okay to here?

Of course that result can be rigorously obtained, but who cares?

Combinatorics is Algebra and Algebra is Combinatorics.

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**nflguy****Member**- Registered: 2013-01-31
- Posts: 18

yes understand it all

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 86,376

Then lets put it all together:

yes understand it all

Are you a programmer because they are much quicker than math types when it comes to understanding math!

Of course that result can be rigorously obtained, but who cares?

Combinatorics is Algebra and Algebra is Combinatorics.

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**nflguy****Member**- Registered: 2013-01-31
- Posts: 18

No programmer but I know HTML and dabble in sql server and I catch on quick to things especially topics that intrigue me. I am the type of person that will use the excel functions for efficiency but I want to be able to know how to do it just for the knowledge. Hell I was playing around taking quizzes last night on your site just for the fun on it.

I was always good at math in school but I dropped out before my junior year to start working so I am pretty sure I didn't learn this. I kick myself now because the things I am interested in now math, science, history are all things I didn't pay much attention in school. This may sound silly to some but I actually look forward to my kids bringing home school work asking for help because I want to relearn everything. Anyway I really appreciate the help and the thorough explanation.

BTW I did find the formula on excel for those future readers that want to check their work in excel

=BINOMDIST(2,4,0.55, FALSE)

2 is successes

4 is trials

.55 is probability

true or false is for if probability is cumulative.

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 86,376

Hi;

This forum is a very good place for you to learn and share mathematics.

I like the idea that you try to use computer math to learn about math. You will only have to use half your wits as I do to succeed.

Of course that result can be rigorously obtained, but who cares?

Combinatorics is Algebra and Algebra is Combinatorics.

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