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Concept# Outcome (probability)

Summary

In probability theory, an outcome is a possible result of an experiment or trial. Each possible outcome of a particular experiment is unique, and different outcomes are mutually exclusive (only one outcome will occur on each trial of the experiment). All of the possible outcomes of an experiment form the elements of a sample space.
For the experiment where we flip a coin twice, the four possible outcomes that make up our sample space are (H, T), (T, H), (T, T) and (H, H), where "H" represents a "heads", and "T" represents a "tails". Outcomes should not be confused with events, which are (or informally, "groups") of outcomes. For comparison, we could define an event to occur when "at least one 'heads'" is flipped in the experiment - that is, when the outcome contains at least one 'heads'. This event would contain all outcomes in the sample space except the element (T, T).
Event (probability theory)
Since individual outcomes may be of little practical interest, or because there may be prohibitively (even infinitely) many of them, outcomes are grouped into sets of outcomes that satisfy some condition, which are called "events." The collection of all such events is a sigma-algebra.
An event containing exactly one outcome is called an elementary event. The event that contains all possible outcomes of an experiment is its sample space. A single outcome can be a part of many different events.
Typically, when the sample space is finite, any subset of the sample space is an event (that is, all elements of the power set of the sample space are defined as events). However, this approach does not work well in cases where the sample space is uncountably infinite (most notably when the outcome must be some real number). So, when defining a probability space it is possible, and often necessary, to exclude certain subsets of the sample space from being events.
Outcomes may occur with probabilities that are between zero and one (inclusively). In a discrete probability distribution whose sample space is finite, each outcome is assigned a particular probability.

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Empirical probability

In probability theory and statistics, the empirical probability, relative frequency, or experimental probability of an event is the ratio of the number of outcomes in which a specified event occurs to the total number of trials, i.e., by means not of a theoretical sample space but of an actual experiment. More generally, empirical probability estimates probabilities from experience and observation. Given an event A in a sample space, the relative frequency of A is the ratio \tfrac m n, m being the number of outcomes in which the event A occurs, and n being the total number of outcomes of the experiment.

Experiment (probability theory)

In probability theory, an experiment or trial (see below) is any procedure that can be infinitely repeated and has a well-defined set of possible outcomes, known as the sample space. An experiment is said to be random if it has more than one possible outcome, and deterministic if it has only one. A random experiment that has exactly two (mutually exclusive) possible outcomes is known as a Bernoulli trial. When an experiment is conducted, one (and only one) outcome results— although this outcome may be included in any number of events, all of which would be said to have occurred on that trial.

Event (probability theory)

In probability theory, an event is a set of outcomes of an experiment (a subset of the sample space) to which a probability is assigned. A single outcome may be an element of many different events, and different events in an experiment are usually not equally likely, since they may include very different groups of outcomes. An event consisting of only a single outcome is called an or an ; that is, it is a singleton set. An event is said to if contains the outcome of the experiment (or trial) (that is, if ).

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