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Lecture# Random Walk and Diffusion

Description

This lecture covers the concepts of binomial distribution, random walk in 1D, the link between random walk and diffusion, and the diffusion equation through the master equation. It explains the transition from discrete to continuous variables and the derivation of the diffusion equation.

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Related concepts (21)

Instructor

PHYS-403: Computer simulation of physical systems I

The two main topics covered by this course are classical molecular dynamics and the Monte Carlo method.

In mathematics and statistics, a quantitative variable may be continuous or discrete if they are typically obtained by measuring or counting, respectively. If it can take on two particular real values such that it can also take on all real values between them (even values that are arbitrarily close together), the variable is continuous in that interval. If it can take on a value such that there is a non-infinitesimal gap on each side of it containing no values that the variable can take on, then it is discrete around that value.

A random variable (also called random quantity, aleatory variable, or stochastic variable) is a mathematical formalization of a quantity or object which depends on random events. The term 'random variable' can be misleading as it is not actually random nor a variable, but rather it is a function from possible outcomes (e.g., the possible upper sides of a flipped coin such as heads and tails ) in a sample space (e.g., the set ) to a measurable space (e.g., in which 1 corresponding to and −1 corresponding to ), often to the real numbers.

In probability theory and statistics, a probability distribution is the mathematical function that gives the probabilities of occurrence of different possible outcomes for an experiment. It is a mathematical description of a random phenomenon in terms of its sample space and the probabilities of events (subsets of the sample space). For instance, if X is used to denote the outcome of a coin toss ("the experiment"), then the probability distribution of X would take the value 0.5 (1 in 2 or 1/2) for X = heads, and 0.

Discrete mathematics is the study of mathematical structures that can be considered "discrete" (in a way analogous to discrete variables, having a bijection with the set of natural numbers) rather than "continuous" (analogously to continuous functions). Objects studied in discrete mathematics include integers, graphs, and statements in logic. By contrast, discrete mathematics excludes topics in "continuous mathematics" such as real numbers, calculus or Euclidean geometry.

In probability theory and statistics, the binomial distribution with parameters n and p is the discrete probability distribution of the number of successes in a sequence of n independent experiments, each asking a yes–no question, and each with its own Boolean-valued outcome: success (with probability p) or failure (with probability ). A single success/failure experiment is also called a Bernoulli trial or Bernoulli experiment, and a sequence of outcomes is called a Bernoulli process; for a single trial, i.