We have already seen that the Poisson distribution can be used to approximate the binomial distribution for large values of n and small values of p provided that the correct conditions exist. The approximation is only of practical use if just a few terms of the Poisson distribution need be calculated. In cases where many - sometimes several hundred - terms need to be calculated the arithmetic involved becomes very tedious indeed and we turn to the normal distribution for help. It is possible, of course, to use high-speed computers to do the arithmetic but the normal approximation to the binomial distribution negates the necessity of this in a fairly elegant way. In the problem situations which follow this introduction the normal distribution is used to avoid very tedious arithmetic while at the same time giving a very good approximate solution.


Learning Outcomes

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