# 0% probability == impossible?

This is a discussion on 0% probability == impossible? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; if something has 0% probability does that mean it is impossible? I dont' think it does, but, well, umm, yeah ...

1. ## 0% probability == impossible?

if something has 0% probability does that mean it is impossible?

I dont' think it does, but, well, umm, yeah

anyway my math teacher says that is the probability of selecting an odd number on an infinite pascal's triangle

2. Probility is just how likely something is to occur. So 0 probility doesn't really mean impossible, just snowball chance in hell.

3. ha, I like that, I'll have to use that one sometime.

that really makes sense that the probability is 0, because as the number of rows increase the probability of choosing an odd decreases, so 'at' infinity the probability 'is' 0.

4. Yeah, one of the calculus rules is that
Code:
``` lim        a/x = 0
x->infinity

where -infinity<a<infinity```

5. Originally posted by Thantos
Probility is just how likely something is to occur. So 0 probility doesn't really mean impossible, just snowball chance in hell.
No, zero probability of success means that it is impossible.

6. Technically... a 1/infinity chance...

But supposing that you have an infinite list (infiniteth row of pascal's triangle) with four odd numbers... You're not going to get an odd number.

7. Originally posted by Thantos
Probility is just how likely something is to occur. So 0 probility doesn't really mean impossible, just snowball chance in hell.
As sang-drax mentioned, 0 probability does mean its impossible. The actual probability of selecting a negative number is not equal to 0, rather it approaches 0 as the number of rows approaches infinity.

prob -> 0 as rows -> infinity.

8. Considering that you can never reach an infinate value, there will always be a chance to select an odd number. Since as you pointed out that the true probility will never actually reach zero there must be a chance for a condition to exist.

But supposing that you have an infinite list (infiniteth row of pascal's triangle) with four odd numbers... You're not going to get an odd number
I agree that a person won't get those odd numbers but it doesn't make it impossible.

9. >>
I agree that a person won't get those odd numbers but it doesn't make it impossible.
<<

no, its not impossible because the probability of getting an odd number is not 0, its approaching 0.

In general, saying something has 0 probability is saying that it can not and will not ever happen. The reason that it is not impossible to get odd numbers is because the probability of getting an odd number is not actually 0, it is approaching 0.

10. I left mathematics long back but could not resist a dig at this. Infinity cannot be defined. So, I second Perspective when he says
its not impossible because the probability of getting an odd number is not 0, its approaching 0.

11. 0% probability BY DEFINITION DICTATES that it is an impossible event.

12. Originally posted by dbgt goten
0% probability BY DEFINITION DICTATES that it is an impossible event.
Just because mathmatations define it to be impossible does that truely make it so? For all tense and purposes it is impossible, doesn't mean its really true.

13. goten and perspective and everyone else is right, it is impossible. we're not just talking about a large number of rows, we're talking about an infinite number of rows. Perspective summed it up nicely, as the number of rows increase, the probability of getting an odd decreases, therefore when you are at inifinity it is 0. end of discussion. let's go disco

14. Isn't "impossible" defined as "posibility = 0"? I mean, everything but 0 is posible so what's left (0) must be impossible...

15. >anyway my math teacher says that is the probability of selecting an odd number on an infinite pascal's triangle

The fact that the triangle is assumed to have an infinite number of rows means that the probability *is* 0 (not approaching zero). Infinity is a concept. While it is true no one can never enumerate infinity, the concept is still valid. Thats why calculus was invented, to define the concepts of infinites and infintesimals and to be able to do math with them.

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