23. Geometric Distribution

  1. Catherine Forbes1,
  2. Merran Evans1,
  3. Nicholas Hastings2 and
  4. Brian Peacock3

Published Online: 16 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470627242.ch23

Statistical Distributions, Fourth Edition

Statistical Distributions, Fourth Edition

How to Cite

Forbes, C., Evans, M., Hastings, N. and Peacock, B. (2010) Geometric Distribution, in Statistical Distributions, Fourth Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9780470627242.ch23

Author Information

  1. 1

    Monash University, Victoria, Australia

  2. 2

    Albany Interactive, Victoria, Australia

  3. 3

    Brian Peacock Ergonomics, SIM University, Singapore

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 DEC 2010
  2. Published Print: 29 NOV 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470390634

Online ISBN: 9780470627242



  • Bernoulli trials;
  • geometric distribution;
  • probability;
  • random number;
  • variate


This chapter begins with an example where for an interview, a set of established criteria must be met in order to consider a candidate as acceptable. The geometric distribution would be used to describe the number of interviews that would have to be conducted in order to get the first acceptable candidate. Given a sequence of independent Bernoulli trials, where the probability of success at each trial is p, the geometric variate G: p is the number of trials or failures before the first success. The geometric distribution is a discrete analogue of the continuous exponential distribution and only these are characterized by a “lack of memory.” An alternative form of the geometric distribution involves the number of trials up to and including the first success. The chapter also describes variate relationships and random number generation for geometric distribution.

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

binomial distribution; control variate; geometric distribution; probability