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Visualize Central Limit Theorem in Array Plot

This example shows how to use and configure the dsp.ArrayPlot System object to visualize the Central Limit Theorem. This theorem states that if you take a large number of random samples from a population, the distribution of the means of the samples approaches a normal distribution.

Display a Uniform Distribution

The population for this example is a uniform distribution of random numbers between 0 and 1. Generate a sample set of the values in MATLAB using the rand function. Find their distributions using the histcounts function.

numsamples = 1e4;
numbins = 20;
r = rand(numsamples,1);
hst = histcounts(r,numbins);

Create a new array plot object and configure the properties of the array plot object to plot a histogram.

scope = dsp.ArrayPlot;
scope.XOffset = 0;
scope.SampleIncrement = 1/numbins;
scope.PlotType = 'Stem';
scope.YLimits = [0, max(hst)+1];

Call the scope to plot the uniform distribution.


Display the Distribution of Multiple Samples

Next, simulate the calculation of multiple uniformly distributed random samples. Because the population is a uniformly distributed set of values between 0 and 1, we can simulate the sampling and calculation of sample means by generating random values between 0 and 1. As the number of random samples increases, the distribution of the means more closely resembles a normal curve. Run the release method to let property values and input characteristics change.


Change the configuration of the Array Plot properties for the display of a distribution function.

numbins = 201;
numtrials = 100;
r = zeros(numsamples,1);
scope.SampleIncrement = 1/numbins;
scope.PlotType = 'Stairs';

Call the scope repeatedly to plot the distribution of the samples.

for ii = 1:numtrials
    r = rand(numsamples,1)+r;
    hst = histcounts(r/ii,0:1/numbins:1);
    scope.YLimits = [min(hst)-1, max(hst)+1];

When the simulation has finished, the Array Plot figure displays a bell curve, indicating a distribution that is close to normal.

Inspect Your Data by Zooming

The zoom tools allow you to zoom in simultaneously in the directions of both the x- and y-axes or in either direction individually. For example, to zoom in on the distribution between 0.3 and 0.7, you can use the Zoom X option.

  • To activate the Zoom X tool, select Tools > Zoom X, or press the corresponding toolbar button. You can determine if the Zoom X tool is active by looking for an indented toolbar button or a check mark next to the Tools > Zoom X menu option.

  • Next, zoom in on the region between 0.3 and 0.7. In the Array Plot window, click on the 0.3-second mark and drag to the 0.7-second mark.

See Also

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