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Problem 1. (10 pts.) Conﬁdent coin: III (Quote taken from ‘Information Theory,

Inference, and Learning Algorithms’ by David J. C. Mackay.)

A statistical statement appeared in The Guardian on Friday January 4, 2002:

When spun on edge 250 times, a Belgian one-euro coin came up heads 140 times

and tails 110. ‘It looks very suspicious to me’, said Barry Blight, a statistics

lecturer at the London School of Economics. ‘If the coin were unbiased the

chance of getting a result as extreme as that would be less than 7%’.

(a) Let θ be the probability of coming up heads. Consider the null hypothesis that the

coin is fair, H0 : θ = 0.5. Carefully explain how the 7% ﬁgure arises. What term describes

this value in NHST? Does it correspond to a one-sided or two-sided test?

(b) Would you reject H0 at a signiﬁcance level of α = 0.1? What about α = 0.05?

(c) How many heads would you need to have observed out of 250 spins to reject at a

signiﬁcance of α = 0.01?

(d) (i) Fix signiﬁcance at α = 0.05. Compute and compare the power of the test for the

alternative hypotheses HA : θ = 0.55 and HA : θ = 0.6?

(ii) Sketch the pmf of each hypothesis and use it to explain the change in power observed

in part (i).

(e) (i) Again ﬁx α = 0.05. What is the smallest number of spins necessary for the test to

have a power of 0.9 when HA : θ = 0.55?

(ii) As in part (d), draw sketches and explain how they illustrate the change in power.

(f ) Let HA : θ = 0.55. If we have only two hypotheses: H0 and HA and a ﬂat prior

P (H0 ) = P (HA ) = 0.5, what is the posterior probability of HA given the data?

(g) What probability would you personally place on the coin being biased toward heads?

Why? There is no one right answer, we are simply interested in your thinking.

tests, 140 people were instructed to tell the truth and 140 people were instructed to lie.

Testers use a polygraph to guess whether or not each person is lying. By analogy, let’s say

H0 corresponds to the testee telling the truth and HA corresponds to the testee lying.

(a) Describe the meaning of type I and type II errors in this context, and estimate their

probabilities based on the table.

Tester thinks testee is truthful 131 15

Tester thinks tested is lying 9 125

(b) In NHST, what relationships exist between the terms signiﬁcance level, power, type 1

error, and type 2 error?

1

18.05 Problem Set 7, Spring 2014

signiﬁcance level α = 0.05 by means of a dataset consisting of n = 16 elements with sample

mean 11 and sample variance 4.

(a) Should we reject the null hypothesis in favor of HA : μ = 10?

(b) What if we test against HA : μ > 10?

Problem 4. (10 pts.) (z-test) Suppose three radar guns are set up along a stretch of road

to catch people driving over the speed limit of 40 miles per hour. Each radar gun is known

to have a normal measurement error modeled on N (0, 52 ). For a passing car, let x̄ be the

average of the three readings. Our default assumption for a car is that it is not speeding.

(a) Describe the above story in the context of NHST. Are the most natural null and

alternative hypotheses simple or compound?

(b) The police would like to set a threshold on x̄ for issuing tickets so that no more that

4% of the tickets are given in error.

(i) Use the NHST description in part (a) to help determine what threshold should they set.

(ii) Sketch a graph illustrating your reasoning in part (i).

(c) What is the power of this test with the alternative hypothesis that the car is traveling at

45 miles per hour? How many cameras are needed to achieve a power of .9 with α = 0.04?

Problem 5. (10 pts.) One generates a number x from a uniform distribution on the

interval [0, θ]. One decides to test H0 : θ = 2 against HA : θ = 2 by rejecting H0 if x ≤ 0.1

or x ≥ 1.9.

(a) Compute the probability of a type I error.

(b) Compute the probability of a type II error if the true value of θ is 2.5.

Problem 6. (10 pts.) Give a careful, precise explanation of the following XKCDs.

(a) http://xkcd.com/1132/

(b) http://xkcd.com/882/

2

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