This page contains related R codes for STAT 51100 Section 010. This page is for Chapter 4, some continuous random variables. We will cover several distributions: Normal distribution, Exponential distribution, Gamma distribution, Weibull distribution, and log-normal distribution.

We can use R to simulate random variables from the above distribution, and we can also use R to calculate the probability mass function, cumulative distribution function, and also draw the probability histogram.

General function format are

d*(x, parameters)
p*(x, parameters)
q*(p, parameters)
r*(sample size, parameters)


  1. d* function will calculate the value of the probability mass function at value x. Parameters are needed to be specified.

  2. p* function will calculate the value of the cumulative distribution function at value x, i.e., \(P(X \leq x)\).

  3. q* function will calculate the percentile at value \(p\), see this function after we learn percentile in Chapter 4.

  4. r* function will simulate a ramdom sample of size as the sample size specified in this function, with a specified distribution.

A useful function to check how to use the above functions. We will not simulate discrete random variables in this tutorial.

1. Normal distribution

The Normal distribution has the form as dnorm, pnorm, qnorm, rnorm. The following calculates the pdf for a standard normal distribution between -5 and 5.

x<-seq(-5, 5, by=0.01)
plot(x, y, type='l', xlab='X', ylab='Density', main='Standard Normal Distribution')
abline(h=0, lty=2)
abline(v=0, lty=2)

We can also specify different mean and variance/standard deviation.

y<-dnorm(x, mean=1, sd=2)
plot(x, y, type='l', xlab='X', ylab='Density', main='Normal Distribution: N(1, 2)')
abline(h=0, lty=2)
abline(v=1, lty=2)

We will illustrate how to calculate \(P(X\leq 1.25)\), \(P(-0.38 \leq X \leq 1.25)\) using the (difference of the) CDF(s).

## [1] 0.8943502
## [1] 0.5423775

Now we will illustrate how to find percentile of a standard normal distribution, the following will find .90, .95, .975 and .99 percentiles of standard normal distribution

q<-c(.9, .95, .975, .99)
## [1] 1.281552 1.644854 1.959964 2.326348

We can also simulate some data from standard normal distribution and draw histogram of it

hist(x, freq=FALSE)
t<-seq(-5, 5, by=0.1)
lines(t, y, col=2)