Computational Statistics

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 559–577

Probability Distributome: a web computational infrastructure for exploring the properties, interrelations, and applications of probability distributions

  • Ivo D. Dinov
  • Kyle Siegrist
  • Dennis K. Pearl
  • Alexandr Kalinin
  • Nicolas Christou
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00180-015-0594-6

Cite this article as:
Dinov, I.D., Siegrist, K., Pearl, D.K. et al. Comput Stat (2016) 31: 559. doi:10.1007/s00180-015-0594-6

Abstract

Probability distributions are useful for modeling, simulation, analysis, and inference on varieties of natural processes and physical phenomena. There are uncountably many probability distributions. However, a few dozen families of distributions are commonly defined and are frequently used in practice for problem solving, experimental applications, and theoretical studies. In this paper, we present a new computational and graphical infrastructure, the Distributome, which facilitates the discovery, exploration and application of diverse spectra of probability distributions. The extensible Distributome infrastructure provides interfaces for (human and machine) traversal, search, and navigation of all common probability distributions. It also enables distribution modeling, applications, investigation of inter-distribution relations, as well as their analytical representations and computational utilization. The entire Distributome framework is designed and implemented as an open-source, community-built, and Internet-accessible infrastructure. It is portable, extensible and compatible with HTML5 and Web2.0 standards (http://Distributome.org). We demonstrate two types of applications of the probability Distributome resources: computational research and science education. The Distributome tools may be employed to address five complementary computational modeling applications (simulation, data analysis and inference, model-fitting, examination of the analytical, mathematical and computational properties of specific probability distributions, and exploration of the inter-distributional relations). Many high school and college science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses may be enriched by the use of modern pedagogical approaches and technology-enhanced methods. The Distributome resources provide enhancements for blended STEM education by improving student motivation, augmenting the classical curriculum with interactive webapps, and overhauling the learning assessment protocols.

Keywords

Probability distributions Models Graphical user interface Transformations Applications Inference Distributome 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivo D. Dinov
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Kyle Siegrist
    • 5
  • Dennis K. Pearl
    • 6
  • Alexandr Kalinin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nicolas Christou
    • 3
  1. 1.Statistics Online Computational Resource (SOCR)University of Michigan, UMSNAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS), DCM&BUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.SOCR Resource, Department of StatisticsUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Center for Computational BiologyUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.Department of Mathematical SciencesUniversity of AlabamaHuntsvilleUSA
  6. 6.Department of StatisticsPennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA