The MML estimator for an M-state distribution gives
T_{i}=(n_{i}+1/2)/(N+M/2),
where n_{i} is the number of observations of state_{i},
during a total of N observations,
N=∑_{i=1..M} {n_{i}}.
In general, the uncertainty region for the MML estimate
for k-parameters
T = <T_{1},T_{2}, ...,T_{k}>,
is about
sqrt(12^{k}/F(T)),
where F(T) is the
[Fisher information].
Note that k=M-1 for the multi-state distribution.
3-States, M=3
A 3-state source has
two parameters, T_{1} and T_{2} in [0,1];
i.e. T=<T_{1},T_{2}>.
It is convenient to define T_{3}, also in [0,1], where
T_{3}=1-T_{1}-T_{2},
but T_{3} is not a third (free) parameter.
We observe n_{1} occurrences of state_{1},
n_{2} of state_{2} and
n_{3} of state_{3} where
N=n_{1}+n_{2}+n_{3}.
The likelihood,
LH = T_{1}^{n1}.T_{2}^{n2}.T_{3}^{n3},
so ...
It can be shown
that for M-states, i.e. M-1 parameters, and probabilities
T_{1}, T_{2}, ..., T_{M-1}, and
T_{m}=1-T_{1}-...-T_{M-1},
T=<T_{1},...,T_{M-1}>,
that
F(T)=N^{M-1}/(T_{1}.T_{2}...T_{m}),
e.g. [click here . . .].
Use the HTML FORM below to generate a data sample
for specified probabilities and length N.
The `code' button calculates message lengths for various codes.
NB. the appoximations used may break down for very small values of N.
L . A l l i s o n
Don't worry if JavaScript gives a ridiculous number of decimal places.
D. M. Boulton & C. S. Wallace.
The Information Content of a Multistate Distribution.
J. Theor. Biol.23 pp269-278, 1969.
When these papers were written there were
different notions of the information content of a sequence
in use in the literature. W&B showed that if the calculations were
done correctly and if all information was truly taken into account
then these notions gave essentially the same answer.
And a delightful piece of trivia about dice
via Dean McKenzie [7/1999]:
'Several decades ago, the Harvard statistician Frederick Mosteller had
an opportunity to test the [dice-tossing] model against the behavior of
real dice tossed by a real person. A man named Willard H. Longcor. who
had an obsession with throwing dice, came to him with an amazing offer
to record the results of millions of tosses. Mosteller accepted, and
some time later he received a large crate of big manilla envelopes, each
of which contained the results of twenty thousand tosses with a single
die and a written summary showing how many runs of different kinds had
occurred. "The only way to check the work was by checking the runs and
then comparing the results with theory," Mosteller recalls.
"It turned out [Longcor] was very accurate" Indeed, the results
even highlighted some errors in the then-standard theory of
the distribution of runs'. -
Peterson, I. (1998) The Jungles of Randomness. Penguin, London. pp7-8.
(originally published 1998 by Wiley, New York).