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Basic probability theory

  • Roy Billinton
  • Ronald N. Allan

Abstract

The word ‘probability’ is used frequently in a loose sense implying that a certain event has a good chance of occurring. In this sense it is a qualitative or subjective measure. It is important to realize that it has a strict technical meaning and is a scientific ‘measure of chance’, i.e., it defines quantitatively the likelihood of an event or events. Mathematically it is a numerical index that can vary between zero which defines an absolute impossibility to unity which defines an absolute certainty. This scale of probability is illustrated in Figure 2.1. A philosopher might argue that the two ends of the scale do not exist. An engineer might disagree from a pragmatic viewpoint. For example, the probability that a man will live for ever is zero, and the probability that one day he will die is unity.

Keywords

Black Ball Probability Distribution Function System Failure Venn Diagram Reliability Evaluation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roy Billinton
    • 1
  • Ronald N. Allan
    • 2
  1. 1.College of EngineeringUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.University of Manchester Institute of Science and TechnologyManchesterUK

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