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Probability, Computer Networks, And Simulation

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

New Trends in ECE Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1014.1 - 10.1014.17



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Paper Authors

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Thomas Goodman

author page

Maurice Aburdene

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Probability, Computer Networks, and Simulation Maurice F. Aburdene, Thomas J. Goodman Electrical Engineering Department Bucknell University


We present one project used in our random signals and noise course focusing on the applications of probability to the area of computer networks. The project requires students to apply their knowledge of probability that includes applications in electrical and computer engineering. In addition, students analyze the performance of a computer network, simulate a system, and look into some design issues.


ABET evaluation criteria for electrical engineering programs state “The program must demonstrate that graduates have: knowledge of probability and statistics, including applications appropriate to the program name and objectives; and knowledge of mathematics through differential and integral calculus, basic sciences, computer science, and engineering sciences necessary to analyze and design complex electrical and electronic devices, software, and systems containing hardware and software components, as appropriate to program objectives.”(See We will present an electrical engineering project in our random signals and noise course (required for all electrical engineering students) to emphasize the application of probability and statistics1-7 in computer communication networks area. This project is the second of five course projects in a random signals and noise course8.

Computer communication networks are ubiquitous and have many configurations including local area networks (LANs), wireless networks, satellite networks, and Internet9-15.We will consider network models shown in Figure 1. The probability that a packet is damaged on a computer link is p. We will consider each of the network models and analyze the performance of the network based on the values of p. Specifically, we are interested in the probability of packet losses in the network and the expected number of packet transmissions for a large number of packets.

We begin with an e-mail that is broken into K packets and then transmitted over a computer link. The probability of losing a packet is p. If a packet is damaged, it is retransmitted. Initially, we address the factors that determine p, the average number of packet transmissions for a successful packet transmission, and plots of the average number of transmissions vs. p. Here we also discuss the Bernoulli and geometric distributions, and their means and variances. In addition, we address the probability that a packet is transmitted successfully in at most two tries and move on to N tries, and then address the design factors that influence the choice of N. Students write a simulation program to verify the analytical results. We then raise the issue of the number of simulation runs used to estimate the average number of transmissions required for successful transmissions of packets and show histograms. Next we move on to the entire e-mail and address

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2005, American society for Engineering Education”

Goodman, T., & Aburdene, M. (2005, June), Probability, Computer Networks, And Simulation Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14150

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