## Probability Trees

Maple Learn

The areas of statistics and probability are my favorite in mathematics. This is because I like to be able to draw conclusions from data and predict the future with past trends. Probability is also fascinating to me since it allows us to make more educated decisions about real-life events. Since we are supposed to get a big snow storm in Waterloo, I thought I would write a blog post discussing conditional probability using the Probability Tree Generator, created by Miles Simmons.

If the probability of snowfall on any given day during a Waterloo winter is 0.75, the probability that the schools are closed given that it has snowed is 0.6, and the probability that the schools are closed given that it has hasn’t snowed is 0.1, then we get the following probability tree, created by Miles’s learn document:

From this information we can come to some interesting conclusions:

What is the probability that the schools are closed on a given day?

From the Law of total probability, we get:

Thus, during a very snowy Waterloo winter, we could expect a 0.475 chance of schools being closed on any given day.

One of the features of this document is that the node probabilities are calculated. You can see this by comparing the second last step to the number at the end of probability trees' nodes.

What is the probability that it has snowed given that the schools are closed?

From Bayes’ Theorem, we get:

Thus, during a very snowy Waterloo winter, we expect there to be a probability of 0.947 that it has snowed if the schools are closed.

We can also add more events to the tree. For example, if the students are happy or sad given that the schools are open:

Even though we would all love schools to be closed 47.5% of the winter days in Waterloo, these numbers were just for fun. So, the next time you are hoping for a snow day, make sure to wear your pajamas inside out and sleep with a spoon under your pillow that night!

To explore more probability tree fun, be sure to check out Miles’s Probability Tree Generator, where you can create your own probability trees with automatically calculated node probabilities and export your tree to a blank Maple Learn document. Finally, if you are interested in seeing more of our probability collection, you can find it here!

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