In probability theory the hypoexponential distribution or the generalized Erlang distribution is a continuous distribution, that has found use in the same fields as the Erlang distribution, such as queueing theory, teletraffic engineering and more generally in stochastic processes. It is called the hypoexponetial distribution as it has a coefficient of variation less than one, compared to the hyper-exponential distribution which has coefficient of variation greater than one and the exponential distribution which has coefficient of variation of one.
Expressed as a phase-type distribution|
Has no other simple form; see article for details
Expressed as a phase-type distribution|
|Median||General closed form does not exist|
|Mode||if , for all k|
|Ex. kurtosis||no simple closed form|
The Erlang distribution is a series of k exponential distributions all with rate . The hypoexponential is a series of k exponential distributions each with their own rate , the rate of the exponential distribution. If we have k independently distributed exponential random variables , then the random variable,
is hypoexponentially distributed. The hypoexponential has a minimum coefficient of variation of .
Relation to the phase-type distribution
As a result of the definition it is easier to consider this distribution as a special case of the phase-type distribution. The phase-type distribution is the time to absorption of a finite state Markov process. If we have a k+1 state process, where the first k states are transient and the state k+1 is an absorbing state, then the distribution of time from the start of the process until the absorbing state is reached is phase-type distributed. This becomes the hypoexponential if we start in the first 1 and move skip-free from state i to i+1 with rate until state k transitions with rate to the absorbing state k+1. This can be written in the form of a subgenerator matrix,
For simplicity denote the above matrix . If the probability of starting in each of the k states is
Two parameter case
Coefficient of variation:
The coefficient of variation is always < 1.
Given the sample mean () and sample coefficient of variation (), the parameters and can be estimated as follows:
The resulting parameters and are real values if .
A random variable has cumulative distribution function given by,
and density function,
where are the Lagrange basis polynomials associated with the points .
The distribution has Laplace transform of
Which can be used to find moments,
In the general case where there are distinct sums of exponential distributions with rates and a number of terms in each sum equals to respectively. The cumulative distribution function for is given by
with the additional convention .
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