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Homememoryless random variable

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# memoryless random variable

A non-negative-valued random variable $X$ is *memoryless* if
$P(X>s+t\mid X>s)=P(X>t)$ for $s,t\geq 0$.

In words, given that a certain event did not occur during time period $s$ *in the past*, the chance that an event will occur after an additional time period $t$ *in the future* is the same as the chance that the event would occur after a time period $t$ from the beginning, regardless of how long or how short the time period $s$ is; the memory is *erased*.

From the definition, we see that

$P(X>t)=P(X>s+t\mid X>s)=\frac{P(X>s+t\mbox{ and }X>s)}{P(X>s)}=\frac{P(X>s+t)}% {P(X>s)},$ |

so $P(X>s+t)=P(X>s)P(X>t)$ iff $X$ is memoryless.

An example of a discrete memoryless random variable is the geometric random variable, since $P(X>s+t)=(1-p)^{{s+t}}=(1-p)^{s}(1-p)^{t}=P(X>s)P(X>t)$, where $p$ is the probability of $X$=success. The exponential random variable is an example of a continuous memoryless random variable, which can be proved similarly with $1-p$ replaced by $e^{{-\lambda}}$. In fact, the exponential random variable is the only continuous random variable having the memoryless property.

## Mathematics Subject Classification

60K05*no label found*60G07

*no label found*

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