What Is a Coin Toss Simulation?

# What Is a Coin Toss Simulation? A coin toss simulation uses software to mimic the act of tossing a coin many times to demonstrate how frequency affects probability. With two possible outcomes (heads or tails), most observers assume even odds, or 50 percent, but tossing a coin only a few times may show uneven outcomes. By increasing the frequency of tosses, the result gets close to 50 percent, demonstrating how frequency affects outcomes.

Coin toss simulations help teach elementary probability using random computer generated events called Bernoulli trials, binary tests with two outcomes (0 and 1) where each event remains separate from the other. The number of events determines the frequency, and as the frequency grows the probability of a binary event approaches 50 percent for each possible outcome. A single coin toss will always have a 50 percent outcome for heads, but flipping a coin four times may show lower outcomes because getting tails three times in a row can happen. As the number of coin tosses increase, the odds begin to shift back toward 50 percent. Coin toss simulations assume the use of a “fair coin” that hasn’t been altered in order to favor one side or another. Even with an unfair coin, the additional frequency will show predictable outcomes. Computerized simulations also eliminate the possibility of a person attempting to cheat by flipping the coin to get more heads results than would otherwise occur.

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