Generate Binomial Distribution

Generating a binomial distribution

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Once it is possible to generate a uniform distribution of numbers, it is possible to generate any other distribution. This snippet shows how to generate a sample of numbers that are binomially distributed using rejection sampling.

Note - rejection sampling is simple to implement, but potentially very inefficient

The steps here are:

  • Generate a random list of k = ‘number of successes’ from n trials, with each trial having an expected p = ‘probability of success’.
  • For each k, calculate the binomial probability of k successes using the binomial formula, and another random number u between zero and one.
  • If u is smaller than the expected probability, accept the value of k, otherwise reject it
with params as (
    0.3 as p,             -- Probability of success per trial
    20 as n,              -- Number of trials
    100000 as num_samples -- Number of samples to test (the actual samples will be fewer)
samples as (
    -- Generate a random integer k = 'number of successes' in [0, n]
    mod(abs(farm_fingerprint(cast(indices as string))), n + 1) as k,
    -- Generate a random number u uniformly distributed in [0, 1]
    mod(abs(farm_fingerprint(cast(indices as string))),  1000000) / 1000000 as u
    unnest(generate_array(1, num_samples)) as indices
probs as (
    -- Hack in a factorial function for n! / (k! * (n - k)!)
    (select exp(sum(ln(i))) from unnest(if(n = 0, [1], generate_array(1, n))) as i) /
    (select exp(sum(ln(i))) from unnest(if(k = 0, [1], generate_array(1, k))) as i) /
    (select exp(sum(ln(i))) from unnest(if(n = k, [1], generate_array(1, n - k))) as i) *
    pow(p, k) * pow(1 - p, n - k) as threshold,
  from params, samples
after_rejection as (
  -- If the random number for this value of k is too high, reject it
  -- Note - the binomial PDF is normalised to a max value of 1 to improve the sampling efficiency
  select k from probs where u <= threshold / (select max(threshold) from probs)

select * from after_rejection