[lug] Perl, sorting hashtables by value, and floating-point

D. Stimits stimits at comcast.net
Mon Jun 7 19:06:01 MDT 2004

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A short blurb on Monte Carlo, which is used extensively in finance. It
is like a coin toss experiment. If you measure enough coin tosses, the
curve generated happens to be a normal curve. If you have a few coin
tosses but not a lot, it is the student's t-distribution. If your coin
is weighted non-50:50, then you will get skewness and kurtosis.

In finance there are plenty of experiments (especially in bonds,
options, and futures) where you can't measure how much a security will
change by, but you can predict over a very short term the odds that it
will go up or down...a coin toss...where the weight of the odds are what
are put in from market information. Then by creating a large number of
coin tosses and accumulating them over time, you begin to get a curve of
probabilities for longer time periods. If you have a situation in
linguistics that you can decide a yes/no on it, and assign weights as in
a fair coin or a coin that is weighted towards heads or tails, then you
can do the same thing in linguistics. [look up the binomial theorem if
interested, that's what a coin toss is]

D. Stimits, stimits AT comcast DOT net

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