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  1. #11
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: "the uncorrelated multivariate Poisson distribution" or "an uncorrelated multivar

    Quote Originally Posted by zorank View Post
    I wonder whether one can say "a Poisson distribution"?
    Yes.

  2. #12
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: "the uncorrelated multivariate Poisson distribution" or "an uncorrelated multivar

    Well, presumably if you can have a multivariate Poisson distribution, you can have a non-multivariate one.
    That would be univariate or monovariate, wouldn't it?

  3. #13
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "the uncorrelated multivariate Poisson distribution" or "an uncorrelated multivar

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    Yes.
    There are 131,000 examples of "a Poisson distribution" in Google Scholar.

    Zorank, I think Google Scholar could be a simple way to test the acceptability of technical phrases. It may not be perfect, but the sources are sound, and if you get a result like that, then it's clearly in use in academic and technical writing.

  4. #14
    zorank's Avatar
    zorank is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: "the uncorrelated multivariate Poisson distribution" or "an uncorrelated multivar

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I'm not suspicious usually but I'm starting to suspect your questions aren't honest.
    My questions are honest. Why wouldn't they be? (I understand that you had problems with multiple identity users etc but, once and for all, I AM NOT ONE OF THESE FOLKS!!!!!!! I AM HONESLTY FISHING FOR HELP!!!!! Why would I put my picture on and have full contact details in this forum.)

    Sooooo, I will nuke the next person who accues me of being "suspicious".

    I know the difference between "a apple" and "the apple" but I do not know the difference between "a Poisson distribution" and "the Poisson distribution". Why is this so hard to understand? Jesus...
    Last edited by zorank; 07-Oct-2011 at 14:20.

  5. #15
    zorank's Avatar
    zorank is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: "the uncorrelated multivariate Poisson distribution" or "an uncorrelated multivar

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    There are 131,000 examples of "a Poisson distribution" in Google Scholar.

    Zorank, I think Google Scholar could be a simple way to test the acceptability of technical phrases. It may not be perfect, but the sources are sound, and if you get a result like that, then it's clearly in use in academic and technical writing.
    I know. I am using it all the time and, frankly, I am getting tired of it. I realized I should spend the time to learn the principles instead. This is why I am always asking "why".

    So, can someone please explain to me what is the difference in meaning between

    "the Poisson distribution"

    "a Poisson distribution"

    ?

    My naive understanding is that "the Poisson distribution" = "Poisson's distribution" if the right hand side of the identity is possible. That is if I say "the Poisson distribution" I mean it as a concept, as a keyword. BUT, I am not sure.

  6. #16
    zorank's Avatar
    zorank is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: "the uncorrelated multivariate Poisson distribution" or "an uncorrelated multivar

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    Probability distributions are countable in the grammatical sense. Real numbers' being uncountable and natural numbers' being countable in the set-theoretic sense has nothing to do with it. Real numbers are countable grammatically, which is proven by the fact that this sentence is correct.
    Aha! That probably explains why I am so confused with this.

    In a way, I presume I could say

    "a real number"

    right? If this is correct, then I could also say

    "My favorite real numbers are pi, e, and ln 2. The numbers have to be represented with infinite number of digits."

    Would that be all right to say?

  7. #17
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: "the uncorrelated multivariate Poisson distribution" or "an uncorrelated multivar

    It's OK to say. But those are irrational numbers you speak of. They have an infinite number of decimal digits.

    2.5 and 3.0 are real numbers, but they can be expressed perfectly with a finite number of digits.

  8. #18
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "the uncorrelated multivariate Poisson distribution" or "an uncorrelated multivar

    To me, the Poisson distribution would indicate the only possible distribution, while a Poisson distribution suggests that it is not the only possible way of viewing things. However, I should stress that I am not a statistician. In language terms, the distinction is fairly simple, but in mathematical terms, there may be a huge difference, and not one I can possibly comment on. There may be people here who are qualified to discuss the mathematics, but they will be a tiny minority (like SoothingDave). I certainly cannot answer these questions with any degree of certainty as they belong to an area I know little about.

    I honestly think you would be better off looking for the answers in an English-language advanced mathematics forum. My wife's an epidemiologist who does use such maths, but I still wouldn't be able to go through her to answer your questions. They are, at heart, mathematical rather than linguistic.

  9. #19
    zorank's Avatar
    zorank is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: "the uncorrelated multivariate Poisson distribution" or "an uncorrelated multivar

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    ...an English-language ... mathematics forum...
    I've spent ages looking for it and, alas, haven't found it yet . You guys are closest I could come up with . Of course, if there is indeed such a forum, I would be happy for a reference/link (and you would get ridd of me ). In the meantime, I will try to tone the math down (or try with an equivalent math free example). But please, let me go on with this particular example for a little while...

    Regards
    Zoran
    Last edited by zorank; 07-Oct-2011 at 15:05.

  10. #20
    zorank's Avatar
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    Default Re: "the uncorrelated multivariate Poisson distribution" or "an uncorrelated multivar

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    It's OK to say. But those are irrational numbers you speak of. They have an infinite number of decimal digits.

    2.5 and 3.0 are real numbers, but they can be expressed perfectly with a finite number of digits.
    Fine. I am not into numbers really. What about distributions that are labeled (parametereized) by real numbers.

    For example, there is this sentence from wikipedia:

    "In probability theory and statistics, the Poisson distribution ... is a discrete probability distribution that expresses the probability of a...."

    Why do they use the? Would it be all right to say

    "In probability theory and statistics, a Poisson distribution ... is a discrete probability distribution that expresses the probability of a...."

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