Simulation

Pronunciation: /ˌsɪm yuˈleɪ ʃən/ ?

In a simulation, random events are generated to study a real-life situation.

Example 1

Scientist often use probability to simulate real life events. In this example, you will use a simulation of girls and boys being born in a family. Suppose that a couple wants a boy and a girl. They decide to keep having children until they have at least one girl and at least one boy. How many children will they have?

You will use a flip of the virtual 'coin' on the right. Each time you flip the coin, you will get either heads or tails. Let heads represent the birth of a boy. Let tails represent the birth of a girl. How many times must you flip the coin before you get at least one head and at least one tail?

Click the 'Flip Coin' button until you have gotten at least one head and at least one tail. How many total flips did it take? This represents the total number of children born to the couple. Start over again. How many flips did it take this time?

This simulation assumes that the chance of having a boy or girl are equal. In fact, in the U.S.A., the chance of having a boy is about 51% and the chance of having a girl is 49%. How might this fact change the simulation?

This simulation assumes a couple will keep on having children until they have one girl and one boy. How might this be different from real life?

Flip the coin above to fill in the simulation
ExperimentCoin flipsSimulated results
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More Information

  • McAdams, David. Simulation Using Probability. LifeIsAStoryProblem.org. Life is a Story Problem LLC. 2009-03-12. http://www.lifeisastoryproblem.org/probability/simul.html.

Cite this article as:


Simulation. 2008-12-13. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC. http://www.allmathwords.org/en/s/simulation.html.

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Revision History


2008-12-13: Added dictionary.com and wikipedia to More Information. Added limitation of simulation (McAdams, David.)
2008-09-14: Added 'More Information', example 1 (McAdams, David.)
2008-06-07: Corrected spelling (McAdams, David.)
2007-07-12: Initial version (McAdams, David.)

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