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Unformatted text preview: Markov Chains, part I December 8, 2010 1 Introduction A Markov Chain is a sequence of random variables X , X 1 , ... , where each X i S , such that P ( X i +1 = s i +1  X i = s i , X i 1 = s i 1 , ..., X = s ) = P ( X i +1 = s i +1  X i = s i ); that is, the value of the next random variable in dependent at most on the value of the previous random variable. The set S here is what we call the state space, and it can be either continuous or discrete (or a mix); however, in our discussions we will take S to be discrete, and in fact we will always take S = { 1 , 2 , ..., N } . Since X t +1 only depends on X t , it makes sense to define transition prob abilities P i,j := P ( X t +1 = j  X t = i ) , which completely determine the dynamics of the Markov chain... well, al most: we need to either be given X , or we to choose its value according to some distribution on the state space. In the theory of Hidden Markov Models, one has a set of probabilities 1 , ..., N , 1 + + N = 1, such that P ( X = i ) = i ; however, in some other applications, such as in the Gamblers Ruin Problem discussed in another note, we start with the value for X . Ok, so how could we generate a sequence X , X 1 , ... , given X and given the P i,j s? Well, suppose X = i . Then, we choose X 1 at random from { 1 , 2 , ..., N } , where P ( X 1 = j ) = P i,j . Next, we select X 2 at random accord ing to the distribution P ( X 2 = k ) = P j,k . We then continue the process. 1 1.1 Graphical representation Sometimes, a more convenient way to represent a Markov chain is to use a transition diagram , which is a graph on N vertices that represent the states. The edges are directed, and each corresponds to a transition probability P i,j ; however, not all the N 2 edges are necessarily in the graph when an edge is missing, it means that the corresponding P i,j has value 0. Here is an example: suppose that N = 3, and suppose P 1 , 1 = 1 / 3 , P 1 , 2 = 2 / 3 , P 2 , 1 = 1 / 2 , P 2 , 3 = 1 / 2 , P 3 , 1 = 1 . Then, the corresponding transition diagram looks like this d47d46d45d44 d40d41d42d43 1 2 / 3 d47 1 / 3 d45 d47d46d45d44 d40d41d42d43 2 1 / 2 d47 1 / 2 d101 d47d46d45d44 d40d41d42d43 3 1 d116 1.2 Matrix representation, and population distribu tions It is also convenient to collect together the P i,j s into an N N matrix; and, I will do this here a little bit backwards from how you might see it presented in other books, for reasons that will become clear later on: form the matrix P whose ( j, i ) entry is P i,j ; so, the i th column of the matrix represents all the transition probabilities out of node i , while the j th row represents all transition probabilities into node j . For example, the matrix corresponding to the example in the previous subsection is P = P 1 , 1 P 2 , 1 P 3 , 1 P 1 , 2 P 2 , 2 P 3 , 2 P 1 , 3 P 2 , 3 P 3 , 3 = 1 / 3 1 / 2 1 2 / 3 1 / 2 0 ....
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 Spring '08
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 Statistics, Markov Chains, Probability

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