Zipf-Mandelbrot law

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Template:Probability distribution

In probability theory and statistics, the Zipf-Mandelbrot law is a discrete probability distribution. Also known as the Pareto-Zipf law, it is a power-law distribution on ranked data, named after the Harvard linguistics professor George Kingsley Zipf (1902-1950) who suggested a simpler distribution called Zipf's law, and the mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot (born November 20, 1924), who subsequently generalized it.

The probability mass function is given by:

<math>f_k(N,q,s)=\frac{1/(k+q)^s}{H_{N,q,s}}<math>

where <math>H_{N,q,s}<math> is given by:

<math>H_{N,q,s}=\sum_{i=1}^N \frac{1}{(i+q)^s}<math>

which may be thought of as a generalization of a harmonic number. In the limit as <math>N<math> approaches infinity, this becomes the Hurwitz zeta function <math>\zeta(q,s)<math>. For finite <math>N<math> and <math>q=0<math> the Zipf-Mandelbrot law becomes Zipf's law. For infinite <math>N<math> and <math>q=0<math> it becomes a Zeta distribution.

Applications

The distribution of words ranked by their frequency in a random corpus of text is generally a power-law distribution, known as Zipf's law.

If one plots the frequency rank of words contained in a large corpus of text data versus the number of occurrences or actual frequencies, one obtains a power-law distribution, with exponent close to one (but see Gelbukh and Sidoro 2001).

External links

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