Cauchy distribution

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In mathematics, the Cauchy-Lorentz distribution (after Augustin-Louis Cauchy and Hendrik Lorentz) is a continuous probability distribution with two parameters: a location parameter and a scale parameter.[1][2] As a probability distribution, it is usually called a Cauchy distribution. Physicists know it as a Lorentz distribution.

When the location parameter is 0 and the scale parameter is 1, the probability density function of the Cauchy distribution reduces to . This is called the standard Cauchy distribution.[2]

The Cauchy distribution is used in spectroscopy to describe the spectral lines found there, and to describe resonance.[3] It is also often used in statistics as the canonical example of a "pathological" distribution, since both its mean and its variance are undefined. The look of a Cauchy distribution is similar to that of a normal distribution, though with longer "tails".[4]

Estimating the mean (middle column) and standard deviation (right column) through samples from a Cauchy distribution (bottom) and normal distribution (top). The top graphs converge, wheras the bottom graphs jump up and down

Due to this, estimating the mean value may not converge to any single value with more data (law of large numbers) unlike a normal distribution; due to a higher chance of getting extreme values (the tails of a frequency plot).

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "List of Probability and Statistics Symbols". Math Vault. 2020-04-26. Retrieved 2020-10-13.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "1.3.6.6.3. Cauchy Distribution". www.itl.nist.gov. Retrieved 2020-10-13.
  3. "The Lorentz Oscillator Model". Archived from the original on 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
  4. "Cauchy distribution | mathematics". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-10-13.