Applied Mathematics

Probability Theory

What do the terms random and stochastic mean in probability?

When speaking about probability, the term random means the outcomes of an experiment have the same probability of occurring. Because of this, the outcome of the experiment produces a random sample.

Random also is commonly thought of as being synonymous with stochastic, which is from the Greek word meaning “pertaining to chance.” It is usually used to indicate a particular subject seen from the point of view of randomness. Stochastic is often thought of as the “opposite” of deterministic, a term that means random phenomena are not involved. In the case of modeling, stochastic models are based on random trials, while deterministic models always produce the same output for a given starting condition.


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