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From cwinter <>
Subject Re: [math] Distributions over sample spaces other than R
Date Mon, 31 Oct 2011 21:56:25 GMT

Phil Steitz wrote:
> Maybe it would be best to eliminate IntegerDistribution then and
> merge Distribution and ContinuousDistribution, so we have two roots
> - DiscreteDistribution and ContinuousDistribution.   The only reason
> really to have DiscreteDistribution is if we want to support
> distributions of RVs over sample spaces that are not subsets of Z. 
> There does not seem to be much enthusiasm for that (i.e.
> parameterizing the type of the domain of the distribution and pmf),
> so we might as well just collapse Discrete and Integer.   Once you
> pull out Discrete/Integer, there is not much value any more in
> Distribution as a parent, so why not just drop both
> IntegerDistribution and Distribution and move to two roots with
> doubles / ints as domains and contracts cleaned up to deal with
> discrete vs continuous cases consistently.
> Phil

I'm absolutely convinced that the approach with two roots suits our needs.
However, for real-valued random variables we need a hierarchy of
distribution interfaces because not every distribution on the reals has a
density. Thus I'd like to keep Distribution and ContinuousDistribution. But
maybe we could change the names to put more emphasis on the domain of the
distribution, e.g. to RealDistribution and ContinuousRealDistribution.
Similarly, I prefer IntegerDistribution as name for the other root because
DiscreteDistribution doesn't reveal the domain of the distribution. Apart
from this, a separate interface for more general discrete distributions is
indeed not required.


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