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Sample spaces and events: axioms and
definitions; total and conditional probability;
Bayes rule; independence. Random variables:
continuous and discrete; distributions and density
functions; mean, variance and co-variance-
definitions and properties. Special distributions:
uniforms; Poison, normal-definitions- properties
and examples. Mathematical logic, linear algebra
and graph theory.

Calculate probabilities of the occurrence of certain

Apply probability properties in solving probability
Identify different types of probability events and use
their properties in solving probability problems.
Interpret probability axioms and use them in problem
Apply Bayes theorem in solving probability problems.
Compare discrete and continuous random variables.
Apply distributions and density functions, Uniform,
Binomial, Poisson and Normal distribution definitions
and properties in solving problems.
Apply Mathematical Logic.
Interpret linear algebraic expressions.

The concept of probability and uncertainty

Proportion of time that a certain event will
occur if the experiment related to the event is
repeated indefinitely.
Possible outcomes of the repetitive (trials)
experiments eg tossing a coin, counting
number of defective parts in a box etc
likelihood/chance that a certain outcome will
occur when performing some action. Notation,
P(A), where A is an event.
Discrete probability
Deals with events that occur in
countable sample spaces (set of all
possible outcomes of an
eg: Throwing dice. What is the
Probability of getting 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Classical definition
Theoretical probability:
The probability of an event to occur is
defined as number of cases favourable for
the event, over the number of total
outcomes possible in an equiprobable
sample space.
P(E) = n(E)/n(U)
Occurrence of an even number when a die
is rolled [3 faces out of the 6 have even
Experimental probability
Probability of an event is the
frequency on an event over the total
P(E) = Freq. of enent/Total freq.
Modern definition
The modern definition starts with a set
called the sample space, which
relates to the set of all possible
outcomes in a classical sense, denoted

It is then assumed that for each

element , probability value f(x) is
attached, which satisfies the following
0f(x) 1
predictions of future events
Measurement of Uncertainty: A
set of possible states or outcomes
where probabilities are assigned to
each possible state or outcome. This
also includes the application of a
probability density function to
continuous variable
subjective and objective
Subjective is derived from
individuals personal judgement
No formal calculations
Reflects opinion and past experience
No mathematical proof
Objective: based on mathematical
analysis and recorded observation
Mathematical calculations involved
Research on Other
approaches to
Logical approach
Frequency approach
Propensity approach
Exercises on simple probability

1. When you roll a 6 sided die, which number are you most
likely to get?
2. If you roll a die 600 times, how many sixes would you
expect to get?
3. Use the following to describe the statements bellow:
certain, very likely, likely, unlikely, very unlikely,
impossible. [Zimbabwean events]
a) It will snow tomorrow
b) It will rain tomorrow
c) The sun will not rise tomorrow
d) Jesus will come next week
e) You will win a car in a competition today
f) You will pass all part one courses at NUST
4. In February 1995 it rained on 18 days. Calculate the probability
that it will rain on a day in February.
5. A six-sided die and a coin are tossed. List all the possible
6. In a class of 30 Computer Science students at NUST, 16 are
ladies, 4 wear glasses and 3 are left handed. A student is
chosen at random from the class. What is the probability that
this student is:
a) A lady
b) Right handed
c) Wearing glasses
7. A card is taken at random from a full pack of playing cards with
no jockers. What is the probability that the card:
a) Is an ace b) is Black c) is a heart d) has an even number
on it