Reference Terms

# Random variable

A random variable is a mathematical function that maps outcomes of random experiments to numbers.

It can be thought of as the numeric result of operating a non-deterministic mechanism or performing a non-deterministic experiment to generate a random result.

For example, a random variable can be used to describe the process of rolling a fair die and the possible outcomes { 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 }.

Another random variable might describe the possible outcomes of picking a random person and measuring his or her height.

Unlike the common practice with other mathematical variables, a random variable cannot be assigned a value; a random variable does not describe the actual outcome of a particular experiment, but rather describes the possible, as-yet-undetermined outcomes in terms of real numbers.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Random variable", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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