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In probability theory, a family of random variables indexed to some other set and having the property that for each finite subset of the index set, the collection of random variables indexed to it has a joint probability distribution. It is one of the most widely studied subjects in probability. Examples include Markov processes (in which the present value of the variable depends only upon the immediate past and not upon the whole sequence of past events), such as stock-market fluctuations, and time series (in which temperature or rainfall measurements, for example, are taken at the same time each day over several days).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on stochastic process, visit Britannica.com.
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