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In probability theory and statistics, the negative binomial distribution is a discrete probability distribution of the number of successes in a sequence of Bernoulli trials before a specified (nonrandom) number r of failures occurs. For example, if one throws a die repeatedly until the third time “1” appears, then the probability distribution of the number of non“1”s that had appeared will be negative binomial.
The Pascal distribution (after Blaise Pascal) and Polya distribution (for George Pólya) are special cases of the negative binomial. There is a convention among engineers, climatologists, and others to reserve “negative binomial” in a strict sense or “Pascal” for the case of an integervalued stoppingtime parameter r, and use “Polya” for the realvalued case. The Polya distribution more accurately models occurrences of “contagious” discrete events, like tornado outbreaks, than the Poisson distribution.
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