Most of our study of probability has dealt with independent trials processes. These processes are the basis of classical probability theory and much of statistics. We have discussed two of the principal theorems for these processes: the Law of Large Numbers and the Central Limit Theorem. We have seen that when a sequence of chance experiments forms an independent trials process, the possible outcomes for each experiment are the same and occur with the same probability. Further, knowledge of the outcomes of the previous experiments does not influence our predictions for the outcomes of the next experiment. The distribution for the outcomes of a single experiment is sufficient to construct a tree and a tree measure for a sequence of n experiments, and we can answer any probability question about these experiments by using this tree measure. Modern probability theory studies chance processes for which the knowledge of previous outcomes influences predictions for future experiments. In principle, when we observe a sequence of chance experiments, all of the past outcomes could influence our predictions for the next experiment. For example, this should be the case in predicting a student’s grades on a sequence of exams in a course. But to allow this much generality would make it very difficult to prove general results. In 1907, A. A. Markov began the study of an important new type of chance process. In this process, the outcome of a given experiment can affect the outcome of the next experiment. This type of process is called a Markov chain. Markov Chains

# Document worth reading: “Markov Chains”

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