This article is under construction.

- Idea
- Conditional expectation relative to a random variable
- Conditional expectation relative to a sub-$\sigma$-algebra
- Conditional probability
- Conditional distribution, Conditional density
- Integral kernel, Stochastic kernel
- Chapman-Kolmogorow Equation
- In quantum probability theory
- Related concepts
- References

In probability theory a *conditional expectation value* or *conditional expectation*, for short, is like an *expectation value* of some random variable/observable, but *conditioned* on the assumption that a certain event is assumed to have occured.

More technically: If $(\Omega,\mathfrak{A},P)$ is a probability space, the *conditional expectation* $E[X|\Sigma]$ of a (measurable) random variable $X$ with respect to some sub-$\sigma$-algebra $\Sigma\subseteq \mathfrak{A}$ is some measurable random variable which is a ββcoarsenedββ version of $X$. We can think of $E[X|\Sigma]$ as a random variable with the same domain but which is measured with a sigma algebra containing only restricted information on the original event since to some events in $\mathfrak{A}$ has been assigned probability $1$ or $0$ in a consistent way.

Let $(\Omega,\mathfrak{A},P)$ be a probability space, let $Y$ be a measurable function into a measure space $(U,\Sigma,P^Y)$ equipped with the pushforward measure induced by $Y$, let $X:(\Omega,\mathfrak{A},P)\to(\mathbb{R},\mathcal{B}(\mathbb{R}), \lambda)$ be a real-valued random variable.

Then for $X$ and $Y$ there exists a essentially unique (two sets are defined to be equivalent if their difference is a set of measure $0$) integrable function $g=:E[X|Y]$ such that the following diagram commutes:

$\array{
(\Omega,\mathfrak{A},P)&
\stackrel{Y}{\to}&
(\U, \Sigma, P^Y)
\\
\downarrow^{\mathrlap{X}}
&&
\swarrow_{\mathrlap{g=:E[X|Y]}}
\\
(\mathbb{R},\mathcal{B}(\mathbb{R}),\lambda)
}$

where $g:y\mapsto E[X|Y=y]$. Here ββcommutesββ shall mean that

(1) $g$ is $\Sigma$-measurable.

(2) the integrals over $X$ and $g\circ Y$ are equal.

In this case $g=E[X|Y]$ is called a version of the **conditional expectation of $X$ provided $Y$**.

In more detail (2) is equivalent to that for all $B\in \Sigma$ we have

$\int_{Y^{-1}(B)}X(\omega)d P(\omega)=\int_B g(u)d P^Y (u)$

and to

$\int_{Y^{-1}(B)}X(\omega)d P(\omega)=\int_{Y^{-1}(B)}(g\circ Y)(\omega)d P (\omega)$

(The equivalence of the last two formulas is given since we always have $\int_B g(u)d P^Y (u)=\int_{Y^{-1}(B)} (g\circ Y)(\omega)d P (\omega)$ by the substitution rule.)

Note that it does *not* follow from the preceding definition that the conditional expectation exists. This is a consequence of the Radon-Nikodym theorem as will be shown in the following section. (Note that the argument of the theorem applies to the definition of the conditional expectation by random variables if we consider the pushforward measure as given by a sub-$\sigma$-algebra of the original one. In this sense $E[X|Y]$ is a ββcoarsened versionββ of $X$ factored by the information (i.e. the $\sigma$-algebra) given by $Y$.)

Note that by construction of the pushforward-measure it suffices to define the conditional expectation only for the case where $\Sigma:=\mathfrak{S}\subseteq \mathfrak{A}$ is a sub-$\sigma$-algebra.

(Note that we loose information with the notation $P^Y$; e.g $P^{id}_\mathfrak{A}$ is different from $P^{id}_\mathfrak{S}$)

The diagram

$\array{
(\Omega,\mathfrak{A},P)&
\stackrel{id}{\to}&
(\Omega, \mathfrak{S}, P^{id})
\\
\downarrow^X&&
\swarrow^{Z=:E[X|\mathfrak{S}]}
\\
(\mathbb{R},\mathcal{B}(\mathbb{R}),\lambda)
}$

is commutative (in our sense) iff

(a) $Z$ is $\mathfrak{S}$-measurable

(b) $\int_A Z d P=\int_A X d P$, $\forall A\in \mathfrak{S}$

We hence can write the conditional expectation as the equivalence class

$E[X|\mathfrak{S}]=\{Z\in L^1 (\Omega, F,P)|\int_A ZdP=\int_A XdP\;\forall A\in \mathfrak{S}\}$

An element of this class is also called a *version*.

$E[X|\mathfrak{S}]$ exists and is unique almost surely.

Existence: By

$Q(A):=\int_A X(\omega)P(d\omega)$

$A\in \mathfrak{A}$ is defined a measure $Q$ on $(\Omega,\mathfrak{A},P)$ (if $X\ge 0$; if not consider the positive part $X^+$ and the negative part $X^-$ of $X=X^+ -X^-$ separate and use linearity of the integral). Let $P|_{\mathfrak{S}}$ be the restriction of $P$ to $\mathfrak{S}$. Then

$Q\lt\lt P|_{\mathfrak{S}}$

meaning: $P|_{\mathfrak{S}}(M)=0\Rightarrow Q(M)=0$ for all $M\in\mathfrak{S}$. This is the condition of the theorem of Radon-Nikodym (the other condition of the theorem that $P|_{\mathfrak{S}}$ is $\sigma$-finite is satisfied since $P$ is a probability measure). The theorem implies that $Q$ has a density w.r.t $P|_{\mathfrak{S}}$ which is $E[X|\mathfrak{S}]$.

Uniqueness: If $g$ and $g^\prime$ are candidates, by linearity the integral over their difference is zero.

From elementary probability theory we know that $P(A)=E[1_A]$.

For $A\in \mathfrak{S}$ we call $P(A|\mathfrak{S}):=E[1_A|\mathfrak{S}]$ the *conditional probability of $A$ provided $B$*.

In probability theory and statistics, a stochastic kernel is the transition function of a stochastic process. In a discrete time process with continuous probability distributions, it is the same thing as the kernel of the integral operator that advances the probability density function.

An *integral transform* $T$ is an assignation of the form

$(Tf)(u)=\int K(t,u)f(t)dt$

where the function of two variables $K( \dots ,\cdots)$ is called *integral kernel of the transform $T$*.

Let $(\Omega_1,\mathfrak{A}_1)$ be a measure space, let $(\Omega_2,\mathfrak{A}_2)$ be a measurable space.

A map $Q: \Omega_1\times \mathfrak{A}_2$ satisfying

(1) $Q(-, A):\Omega_1\to [0,1]$ is $\mathfrak{A}_1$ measurable $\forall A_2\in \mathfrak{A}_2$

(2) $Q(\omega,-):\mathfrak{A}_2\to [0,1]$ is a probability measure on $(\Omega_2,\mathfrak{A}_2)$, $\forall \omega_1\in \Omega_1$

is called a *stochastic kernel* or *transition kernel* (or *Markov kernel* - which we avoid since it is confusing) *from $(\Omega_1,\mathfrak{A}_1)$ to $(\Omega_2,\mathfrak{A}_2)$.*

Then $Q$ induces a function between the classes of measures on $(\Omega_1, \mathfrak{A}_1)$ and on $(\Omega_2, \mathfrak{A}_2)$

$\overline{Q}:
\begin{cases}
M(\Omega_1, \mathfrak{A}_1)&
\to&
M(\Omega_2, \mathfrak{A}_2)
\\
\mu&
\mapsto&
(A\mapsto \int_{\Omega_1} Q(-, A) d\mu)
\end{cases}$

If $\mu$ is a probability measure, then so is $\overline{Q}(\mu)$. The symbol $Q(\omega, A)$ is sometimes written as $Q(A|\omega)$ in optical proximity to a conditional probability.

The stochastic kernel is hence in particular an integral kernel.

In a discrete stochastic process (see below) the transition function is a stochastic kernel (more precisely it is the function $\overline{Q}$ induced by a kernel $Q$).

Let $(\Omega_1,\mathfrak{A}_1, P_1)$ be a probability space, let $(\Omega_2,\mathfrak{A}_2)$ be a measure space, let $Q:\Omega_1\times \mathfrak{A}_2\to [0,1]$ be a stochastic kernel from $(\Omega_1,\mathfrak{A}_1, P_1)$ to $(\Omega_2,\mathfrak{A}_2)$.

Then by

$P(A):=\int_{\Omega_1}(\int_{\Omega_2} 1_A (\omega_1,\omega_2 Q(\omega_1,\omega_2))P_1(d \omega_1)$

is defined a probability measure on $\mathfrak{A}_1\otimes\mathfrak{A}_2$ which is called *coupling*. $P=:P\otimes Q$ is unique with the property

$P(A_1\times A_2)=\int_{A_1} Q(\omega_1, A_2) P_1(d\omega_1)$

Let (with the above settings) $Y:\Omega_1\to \Omega_2$ be $(\mathfrak{A}_1,\mathfrak{A}_2)$-measurable, let $X$ be a $d$-dimensional random vector.

Then there exists a stochastic kernel from $(\Omega_1, \mathfrak{A}_1)$ to $(\mathbb{R}^d,\mathcal{B}(\mathbb{R})^d)$ such that

$P^{X,Y}=P^Y\otimes Q$

and $Q$ is (a version of) the conditional distribution of $X$ provided $Y$, i.e.

$Q(y,-)=P^X(-|Y=y)$

This theorem says that that $Q$ (more precisely $y\mapsto Q(y,-)$) fits in the diagram

$\array{
(\Omega_1,\mathfrak{A}_1,P)&
\stackrel{Y}{\to}&
(\Omega_2,\mathfrak{A}_2, P^Y)
\\
\downarrow^X&&
\swarrow^{Q}
\\
(\mathbb{R},\mathcal{B}(\mathbb{R}),\lambda)
}$

and $E[X|Y]=Q$.

In the discrete case, i.e. if $\Omega_1$ and $\Omega_2$ are finite- or enumerable sets, it is possible to reconstruct $Q$ by just considering one-element sets in $\mathfrak{A}_2$ and the related probabilities

$p_{ij}:= Q(i,\{j\})$

called *transition probabilities* encoding $Q$ assemble to a (perhaps countably infinite) matrix $M$ called *transition matrix of $Q$ resp. of $\overline{Q}$*. Note that $p_{ij}$ is the probability of the transition of the *state* (aka. *elementary event* or *one-element event*) $i$ to the *event* $\{j\}$ (which in this case happens to have only one element, too). We have $\sum_i p_{ij}=1$ forall $i\in \Omega_1$.

If $\rho:=(p_i)_{i\in \Omega_1}$ is a counting density on $\Omega_1$, then

$pM=(\sum_{i\in \Omega} p_i p_{ij})_{j\in \Omega_2}$

is a counting density on $\Omega_2$.

The conditional expectation plays a defining role in the theory of *martingales* which are *stochastic processes* such that the conditional expectation of the next value (provided the previous values) equals the present realized value.

The terminology of *stochastic processes* is a special interpretation of some aspects of infinitary combinatorics? in terms of probability theory.

Let $I$ be a total order (i.e. transitive, antisymmetric, and total).

A *stochastic process* is a diagram $X_I: I\to \mathcal{R}$ where $\mathcal{R}$ is the class of random variables such that $X_I(i)=:X_i:(\Omega_i, \mathfrak{F}_i, P_i)\to (S_i, \mathfrak{S}_i)$ is a random variable. Often one considers the case where all $(S_i, \mathfrak{S}_i)=(S, \mathfrak{S})$ are equal; in this case $S$ is called *state space of the process $X_I$*.

If all $\Omega_i=\Omega$ are equal and the class of $\sigma$-algebras $(\mathfrak{A}_i)_{i\in I}$ is *filtered* i.e.

$\mathfrak{F}_i\subseteq \mathfrak{F}_j\;;iff\;; i\le j$

and all $X_l$ are $\mathfrak{F}_l$ measurable, the process is called *adapted process*.

For example the *natural filtration* where $\mathfrak{F}_i=\sigma(\{X^{-1}_l(A), l\le i, A\in \mathfrak{S}\})$ gives an adapted process.

In terms of a diagram we have for $i\le j$

$\array{
(\Omega_j,\mathfrak{A}_j,P_j)&
\stackrel{f}{\to}&
(\Omega_i,\mathfrak{A}_i,P_i)
\\
\downarrow^{X_j}&&
\swarrow^{\omega_i\mapsto Q(\omega_i,-)}
\\
(\mathbb{R},\mathcal{B}(\mathbb{R}),\lambda)
}$

and $\overline{Q}:(\Omega_i,\mathfrak{A}_i,P_i)\to(\Omega_j,\mathfrak{A}_j,P_j)$ where $Q:\Omega_i\times\mathfrak{A}_j\to [0,1]$ is the transition probability for the passage from state $i$ to state $j$.

An adapted stochastic process with the natural filtration in discrete time is called a *martingale* if all $E[X_i]\lt \infty$ and $\forall i\le j, E[X_j|\mathfrak{A}_i]=X_i$.

$\array{
(\Omega_j,\mathfrak{A}_j,P_j)&
\stackrel{f}{\to}&
(\Omega_i,\mathfrak{A}_i,P_i)
\\
\downarrow^{X_j}&&
\swarrow^{E[X_j|\mathfrak{A}_i]=X_i}
\\
(\mathbb{R},\mathcal{B}(\mathbb{R}),\lambda)
}$

martingale?

(β¦)

An adapted stochastic process satisfying

$P(X_t|\mathfrak{A}_s)=P(X_t|X_s)\;;\forall s\le t$

is called a *Markow process*.

For a Markow process the Chapman-Kolmogorow equation encodes the statement that the transition probabilities of the process form a semigroup.

If in the notation from above $(P_t:\Omega\times\mathfrak{A}\to [0,1])_t$ is a family of stochastic kernels $(\Omega,\mathfrak{A})\to(\Omega,\mathfrak{A})$ such that all $P_t(\omega,-):\mathfrak{A}\to [0,1]$ are probabilities, then $(P_t)_t$ is called *transition semigroup* if

$\overline P_t (P_s(\omega,A))=P_{s+t} (\omega, A)$

where

$\overline P_t: P_s(\omega,-)\mapsto (A\mapsto\int_\Omega P_t (y,A) P_s(\omega,-)(d_y))$

In the dual algebraic formulation of probability theory known as *noncommutative probability theory* or *quantum probability theory*, where the concept of *expectation value* is primitive (while that of the corresponding probability space (if it exists) is a derived concept), the concept of conditional expection appears as follows (e.g. Redei-Summers 06, section 7.3):

Let $(\mathcal{A},\langle -\rangle)$ be a quantum probability space, hence a complex star algebra $\mathcal{A}$ of quantum observables, and a state on a star-algebra $\langle -\rangle \;\colon\; \mathcal{A} \to \mathbb{C}$.

This means that for $A \in \mathcal{A}$ any observable, its *expectation value* in the given state is

$\mathbb{E}(A) \;\coloneqq\; \langle A \rangle \in \mathbb{C}
\,.$

More generally, if $P \in \mathcal{A}$ is a real idempotent/projector

(1)$P^\ast = P
\,,
\phantom{AAA}
P P = P$

thought of as an event, then for any observable $A \in \mathcal{A}$ the conditional expectation value of $A$, conditioned on the observation of $P$, is

(2)$\mathbb{E}(A \vert P)
\;\coloneqq\;
\frac{
\left \langle P A P \right\rangle
}{
\left\langle P \right\rangle
}
\,.$

See also

- Wikipedia,
*Conditional expectation*

Discussion form the point of view of quantum probability is in

- Miklos Redei, Stephen Summers, section 7.3 of
*Quantum Probability Theory*(arXiv:quant-ph/0601158)

Last revised on July 19, 2021 at 15:10:47. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.