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Hyper Normalisation and Conditioning for Discrete Probability Distributions

10 Aug 2017 [ arXiv ]

Normalisation and conditioning are reformulated as total `hyper’ operations.

Normalisation in probability theory turns a subdistribution into a proper distribution. It is a partial operation, since it is undefined for the zero subdistribution. This partiality makes it hard to reason equationally about normalisation. A novel description of normalisation is given as a mathematically well-behaved total function. The output of this `hyper’ normalisation operation is a distribution of distributions. It improves reasoning about normalisation. After developing the basics of this theory of (hyper) normalisation, it is put to use in a similarly new description of conditioning, producing a distribution of conditional distributions. This is used to give a clean abstract reformulation of refinement in quantitative information flow.