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Mathematics LibreTexts

13: Sequences, Probability, and Counting Theory

  • Page ID
    1326
  • [ "article:topic-guide", "authorname:openstax" ]

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    In this chapter, we will explore the mathematics behind situations involving probabilities and counting. We will take an in-depth look at annuities. We will also look at the branch of mathematics that would allow us to calculate the number of ways to choose lottery numbers and the probability of winning.

    • 13.1: Prelude to Sequences, Probability and Counting Theory
      A lottery winner has some big decisions to make regarding what to do with the winnings. Buy a villa in Saint Barthélemy? A luxury convertible? A cruise around the world? The likelihood of winning the lottery is slim, but we all love to fantasize about what we could buy with the winnings. One of the first things a lottery winner has to decide is whether to take the winnings in the form of a lump sum or as a series of regular payments, called an annuity, over the next 30 years or so.
    • 13.2: Sequences and Their Notations
      One way to describe an ordered list of numbers is as a sequence. A sequence is a function whose domain is a subset of the counting numbers. Listing all of the terms for a sequence can be cumbersome. For example, finding the number of hits on the website at the end of the month would require listing out as many as 31 terms. A more efficient way to determine a specific term is by writing a formula to define the sequence.
    • 13.3: Arithmetic Sequences
      In this section, we will consider specific kinds of sequences that will allow us to calculate depreciation. For example, companies often make large purchases, such as computers and vehicles, for business use. The book-value of these supplies decreases each year for tax purposes. This decrease in value is called depreciation. One method of calculating depreciation is straight-line depreciation, in which the value of the asset decreases by the same amount each year.
    • 13.4: Geometric Sequences
      A geometric sequence is one in which any term divided by the previous term is a constant. This constant is called the common ratio of the sequence. The common ratio can be found by dividing any term in the sequence by the previous term.
    • 13.5: Series and Their Notations
      The sum of the terms of a sequence is called a series. Summation notation is used to represent series. Summation notation is often known as sigma notation because it uses the Greek capital letter sigma, ∑, to represent the sum. Summation notation includes an explicit formula and specifies the first and last terms in the series. In this section, we will learn how to use series to address annuity problems.
    • 13.6: Counting Principles
      We encounter a wide variety of counting problems every day. There is a branch of mathematics devoted to the study of counting problems such as this counting the possibilities.
    • 13.7: Binomial Theorem
      A polynomial with two terms is called a binomial. We have already learned to multiply binomials and to raise binomials to powers, but raising a binomial to a high power can be tedious and time-consuming. In this section, we will discuss a shortcut that will allow us to find \((x+y)^n\) without multiplying the binomial by itself \(n\) times.
    • 13.8: Probability
      Probability is always a number between 0 and 1, where 0 means an event is impossible and 1 means an event is certain. The probabilities in a probability model must sum to 1. See Example. When the outcomes of an experiment are all equally likely, we can find the probability of an event by dividing the number of outcomes in the event by the total number of outcomes in the sample space for the experiment.

    Contributors

    • Lynn Marecek (Santa Ana College) and MaryAnne Anthony-Smith (formerly of Santa Ana College). This content produced by OpenStax and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license.