Browse Definitions :
Definition

law of large numbers

The law of large numbers is a principle of probability according to which the frequencies of events with the same likelihood of occurrence even out, given enough trials or instances. As the number of experiments increases, the actual ratio of outcomes will converge on the theoretical, or expected, ratio of outcomes.

For example, if a fair coin (where heads and tails come up equally often) is tossed 1,000,000 times, about half of the tosses will come up heads, and half will come up tails. The heads-to-tails ratio will be extremely close to 1:1. However, if the same coin is tossed only 10 times, the ratio will likely not be 1:1, and in fact might come out far different, say 3:7 or even 0:10.

The law of large numbers is sometimes referred to as the law of averages and generalized, mistakenly, to situations with too few trials or instances to illustrate the law of large numbers. This error in logic is known as the gambler’s fallacy.

If, for example, someone tosses a fair coin and gets several heads in a row, that person might think that the next toss is more likely to come up tails than heads because they expect frequencies of outcomes to become equal. But, because each coin toss is an independent event, the true probabilities of the two outcomes are still equal for the next coin toss and any coin toss that might follow.

Nevertheless, if the coin is tossed enough times, because the probability of the either outcome is the same, the law of large numbers comes into play and the number of heads and tails will be close to equal.

This was last updated in December 2012

Continue Reading About law of large numbers

SearchCompliance
  • OPSEC (operations security)

    OPSEC (operations security) is a security and risk management process and strategy that classifies information, then determines ...

  • smart contract

    A smart contract is a decentralized application that executes business logic in response to events.

  • compliance risk

    Compliance risk is an organization's potential exposure to legal penalties, financial forfeiture and material loss, resulting ...

SearchSecurity
  • COBIT

    COBIT is an IT governance framework for businesses wanting to implement, monitor and improve IT management best practices.

  • email spam

    Email spam, also known as junk email, refers to unsolicited email messages, usually sent in bulk to a large list of recipients.

  • security policy

    A security policy is a document that states in writing how a company plans to protect its physical and information technology (IT...

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • What is risk mitigation?

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • change control

    Change control is a systematic approach to managing all changes made to a product or system.

  • disaster recovery (DR)

    Disaster recovery (DR) is an organization's ability to respond to and recover from an event that affects business operations.

SearchStorage
  • JBOD (just a bunch of disks)

    JBOD, which stands for 'just a bunch of disks,' is a type of multilevel configuration for disks.

  • bare-metal restore

    A bare-metal restore (also referred to as bare-metal recovery or bare-metal backup) is a data recovery and restoration process ...

  • mSATA SSD (mSATA solid-state drive)

    An mSATA SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to the mSATA interface specification developed by the Serial ATA (SATA) ...

Close