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 The Hypergeometric Process


Gliffy Diagram
displayNameHyper. Process
nameHyper. Process


The hypergeometric process occurs when one is sampling randomly without replacement from some population (as opposed to sampling with replacement in the Binomial Process), and where one is counting the number in that sample that have some particular characteristic. This is a very common type of scenario. For example, population surveys, herd testing, and lotto are all hypergeometric processes. In many situations, the population is very large in comparison to the sample and we can assume that if a sample was put back into the population, the probability is very small that it would be picked again. In that case, each sample would have the same probability of picking an individual with a particular characteristic: in other words this becomes a binomial process. When the population is not very large compared to the sample (a good rule is that the population is less than ten times the size of the sample) we cannot make a binomial approximation to the hypergeometric. This section discusses the distributions associated with the hypergeometric process.