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April 5th, 2011, 10:17 AM  #1 
Member Joined: Nov 2009 Posts: 90 Thanks: 0  Which probability distribution is appropriate?
Let's say you're investigating the amount of customers sitting in a small restaurant at certain times. Normal distribution should not be satisfactory because intuitively it seems like the right tail should be longer than the left tail which is limited by the fact that the amount of customers can't be negative. So the distribution should be asymmetrical. Should I use a discrete distribution like poisson? Can I use continuous distributions like Fdistribution? In my studies I have mainly learned normal distribution but now I need to find confidence intervals using a more exact distribution. Since my text books are quite introductory and not very clear on this subject, could you please point me to some source explaining the relevant distribution(s)? Thanks! 
April 5th, 2011, 11:37 AM  #2 
Global Moderator Joined: Nov 2006 From: UTC 5 Posts: 16,046 Thanks: 937 Math Focus: Number theory, computational mathematics, combinatorics, FOM, symbolic logic, TCS, algorithms  Re: Which probability distribution is appropriate?
I'd start with the Erlang distribution and tweak as needed.

April 12th, 2011, 01:07 PM  #3 
Member Joined: Nov 2009 Posts: 90 Thanks: 0  Re: Which probability distribution is appropriate?
Thank you! Hopefully, it won't matter since I discovered the central limit theorem, but I might come back to haunt you with follow up questions. Until then, cheers! 

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