Apologies if this is a bit technical. I'm writing a paper describing a simulation. Inside the simulation, at each time step, some event has a certain probability of happening. Essentially, the computer "rolls a die" and sees if that event will happen or not each second.

How do you describe this action?

  1. Test if the probability will happen?
  2. Check if the probability will occur?
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  • I don't think 'probability triggers' makes much sense. What action are you referring to by this action?
    – sundowner
    2 days ago
  • The "action of rolling a simulated dice to see if it's less than 1/6" (as an example, if the probability setting is currently 1/6)
    – l3utterfly
    2 days ago
  • 1
    A probability isn't an event. "Testing the probability of an event happening", a phrase which the question already uses. Or "test if the frequency matches the probability." 2 days ago
  • Each time step the computer generates a random outcome with the assigned probability.
    – Jim
    2 days ago
  • 1
    A single action is often called a draw. So is the instance value. You then run comparisons and bin the draw accordingly.
    – Phil Sweet
    2 days ago

3 Answers 3


The condition was satisfied.

There are a few things to parse here. Use words very carefully and things will be clear.

First, the probability p is a number between 0 and 1 inclusive. It doesn't occur or happen, it just is.

Your computer is generating a (likely random) number between 0 and 1 inclusive, and testing whether the generated number is less than the probability p. In this case you would say the condition was satisfied.

If the condition is satisfied, you consider that an event, such as the triggering of an action, or logging that the condition was satisfied. In the former case you can say the action was triggered, or that the event occurred.

You could say the X event occurred, or that the X condition was satisfied, after establishing that X is the event or condition associated with probability p. In no case would you state p by name, unless you had a very wordy the condition associated with p was satisfied. In your case if you'd like to use "trigger", then the condition associated with p was triggered would work.


In game development, this might be termed a proc, but this may not be a term of art in your field.

Short for either "procedure" or "programmed random occurrence" (depending on who you ask) it is used as a shorthand for event triggering based on "dice rolls" or other conditions.

Rhymes with "dock." Used as a noun or verb.


The word you are looking for is "event"

For example, we might write, "with probability 0.5718 the event will occur.

Probabilities are numeric quantities, such as 89.2%

Events are things like, "the card player drew a spade or a club from the deck"

  • 1
    The question is about actions of testing and checking. These are not to be described as events in any relevant or useful sense of the word. And why use the same word as the question when the questioner has already used it in a specific sense and has decided it is not appropriate? Please reconsider your answer and give references for your opinions.
    – Anton
    2 days ago

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