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4: Discrete Random Variables

It is often the case that a number is naturally associated to the outcome of a random experiment: the number of boys in a three-child family, the number of defective light bulbs in a case of 100 bulbs, the length of time until the next customer arrives at the drive-through window at a bank. Such a number varies from trial to trial of the corresponding experiment, and does so in a way that cannot be predicted with certainty; hence, it is called a random variable. In this chapter and the next we study such variables.