Parametric family

In mathematics and its applications, a parametric family or a parameterized family is a family of objects (a set of related objects) whose differences depend only on the chosen values for a set of parameters.

Common examples are parametrized (families of) functions, probability distributions, curves, shapes, etc.

In probability and its applications

For example, the probability density function of a random variable X may depend on a parameter . In that case, the function may be denoted to indicate the dependence on the parameter . is not a formal argument of the function as it is considered to be fixed. However, each different value of the parameter gives a different probability density function. Then the parametric family of densities is the set of functions , where denotes the parameter space, the set of all possible values that the parameter can take. As an example, the normal distribution is a family of similarly-shaped distributions parametrized by their mean and their variance.

In decision theory, two-moment decision models can be applied when the decision-maker is faced with random variables drawn from a location-scale family of probability distributions.

In algebra and its applications

In economics, the Cobb–Douglas production function is a family of production functions parametrized by the elasticities of output with respect to the various factors of production.

In algebra, the quadratic equation, for example, is actually a family of equations parametrized by the coefficients of the variable and of its square and by the constant term.

See also


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