Publications

Publications

- February 2021
- HBS Case Collection

# Probability Distributions

By: Michael Parzen and Paul J. Hamilton

## Abstract

This technical note introduces students to the concept of random variables, and from there the normal and binomial distributions. After a brief introduction to random variables, the note describes the standard properties of the normal distribution: a single peak, and a symmetric, bell-shaped curve. Students observe the 68-95-99.7 rule, and see how the distribution changes with different values of the mean and standard deviation parameters. Finally, the note demonstrates how probability calculations based on the normal distribution can be done in the R programming language, and how random data can be simulated from a normal curve in R. The note then describes the standard properties of the binomial distribution, and similarly shows how binomial calculations can be performed in R.

## Keywords

## Citation

Parzen, Michael, and Paul J. Hamilton. "Probability Distributions." Harvard Business School Technical Note 621-704, February 2021.