Problems and Snapshots from the World of Probability by Lars Holst

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Lars Holst
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Book review

We, the authors of this book, are three ardent devotees of chance, or someĀ­ what more precisely, of discrete probability. When we were collecting the material, we felt that one special pleasure of the field lay in its evocation of an earlier age: many of our 'probabilistic forefathers' were dexterous solvers of discrete problems. We hope that this pleasure will be transmitted to the readers. The first problem-book of a similar kind as ours is perhaps Mosteller's well-known Fifty Challenging Problems in Probability (1965). Possibly, our book is the second. The book contains 125 problems and snapshots from the world of probĀ­ ability. A 'problem' generally leads to a question with a definite answer. A 'snapshot' is either a picture or a bird's-eye view of some probabilistic field. The selection is, of course, highly subjective, and we have not even tried to cover all parts of the subject systematically. Limit theorems appear only seldom, for otherwise the book would have become unduly large. We want to state emphatically that we have not written a textbook in probability, but rather a book for browsing through when occupying an easy-chair. Therefore, ideas and results are often put forth without a machinery of formulas and derivations; the conscientious readers, who want to penetrate the whole clockwork, will soon have to move to their desks and utilize appropriate tools.


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