Mean (/m/04vp4)

In mathematics, mean has several different definitions depending on the context. In probability and statistics, mean and expected value are used synonymously to refer to one measure of the central tendency either of a probability distribution or of the random variable characterized by that distribution. In the case of a discrete probability distribution of a random variable X, the mean is equal to the sum over every possible value weighted by the probability of that value; that is, it is computed by taking the product of each possible value x of X and its probability P(x), and then adding all these products together, giving . An analogous formula applies to the case of a continuous probability distribution. Not every probability distribution has a defined mean; see the Cauchy distribution for an example. Moreover, for some distributions the mean is infinite: for example, when the probability of the value is for n = 1, 2, 3, .... For a data set, the terms arithmetic mean, mathematical expectation, and sometimes average are used synonymously to refer to a central value of a discrete set of numbers: specifically, the sum of the values divided by the number of values.
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