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Basic directions on how to use Google Spreadsheet and Excel to explore probability topics

Probability topics using spreadsheets

In this section we will discuss techniques using spreadsheets for exploring probability topics particularly, generating random numbers and use of contingency tables.

Generating random numbers

Random numbers can be generated in Excel or Google Spreadsheet. To create a random number, column of numbers, or a page of numbers you would use the formula =rand() in any cell, copy and paste that same formula to any other cell and you have a list of random numbers. The rand formula gives you a decimal random number between 0.0000 and 1.0000 so if you do not want a decimal random number that you can enter =rand()*1000 in a worksheet cell you will then have a whole number between 9999 and 0000.

Both Excel and Google Spreadsheet also have a function called =randbetween(lower bound, upper bound) where you can specify your numbers. To use this function you will pick your lower and upper bounds. So if you want a random list of numbers between 0 and 50 you would enter =randbetween(0,50). Again if you copy and paste this formula into multiple cells you will have a list of random numbers within your criteria. See image below of numbers generated using Excel and Google Spreadsheet. The first row has numbers generated using =rand() the second column has numbers generated using =randbetween(0,50). Note though that if you want stable numbers that will not change every time you open the spreadsheet you will need to use the copy function and paste as “value” into a column to make the numbers static.

Creating probability contingency tables:

Given the data set of “College Rank” and “How did you arrive on campus today?” let’s figure out some probabilities using Excel PivotTable. Below is the data we will use.

We will create a PivotTable using the same techniques as we did for Bivariate Data. We can keep the counts if we want to calculate the percentages by hand to determine the probability of any particular event or we can alter the “Values” field by using the down arrow next to “count”, pick “Value Field Setting” from the pull down menu and then go to the tab called, “Show Values As” and pick “% of Grand Total”. That will give you all the probabilities of the particular events out of all possible events. In this example the probability of a selecting a senior who drives a car would be .2 or 20% or the probability of selecting a student who arrived at school today by car would be 50%. Think of what other questions you could answer.

Optional classroom exercise:

At your computer, try this exercise: (1) Open the file, Statistics First Day of Class Survey that you worked on previously (2) open the file in Excel or Google Spreadsheet (3) create a new worksheet tab and label it Probability topics; (4) pick two columns of categorical that have been “cleaned” and create a pivot table; (4) determine the probability of at least 4 events of interest to you. (6) copy your pivot table and your questions into a word document and describe the probability of your selected data. (7) save the Excel or file again and this time post only the word document you created in the appropriate Moodle assignment.

Other topics of interest:

There is a wonderful web site call Random.org http://www.random.org/ that has some free tools to explore random events and probability. On the Random.org home webpage there is a category called “Games and Gambling.” If you mouse over “Coin Flipper”, “Dice Roller” or “playing Card Shuffler” and click on it, you will be able to explore random events. You will be able to choose the number of events you want to generate and some display options. Try it to generate a sample space.

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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Source:  OpenStax, Collaborative statistics using spreadsheets. OpenStax CNX. Jan 05, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11521/1.23
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