Cramp function distribution

< List of probability distributions < Cramp function

The (complex) cramp function distribution, also called the error function, is a continuous probability distribution defined as [1]:

cramp function distribution -- the error function formula

The first equality in the formula states that the error function can be expressed as the integral of the Gaussian (normal) function from 0 to x. The second equality states that the error function can also be expressed as 2 times the cumulative distribution function (CDF) of the standard normal distribution, evaluated at x * √(2).

Some authors, such as Whittaker and Watson [2], define the error function without the leading 2/π.

The function integrates the normal distribution, giving the probability a normally distributed random variable Y (with mean 0 and variance ½), falls into the range [−x, x]. Integration, or the “area under the curve” is used to in calculus to find areas, central points, and volumes. The function is a very important function in statistics and probability, with applications such as:

Cramp Function vs. Error Function

The term “(complex) cramp function” is seen in literature by Russian or Latvian authors (for example, Mikhailovskiy, 1975 [3]; Bogdanov et al., 1976 and also see [4], [5]), where it is usually denoted as W(x) [6]. Elsewhere, it is called the error function (erf, for short). Other names include the Gauss or Gaussian Error Function.

The CRAMP functions in biology are unrelated.


[1] Johnson, Kotz, and Balakrishnan, (1994), Continuous Univariate Distributions, Volumes I and II, 2nd. Ed., John Wiley and Sons.

[2] Whittaker, E. T. and Watson, G. N. A Course in Modern Analysis, 4th ed. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

[3] Mikhailovskiy, A. B. (1975), Theory of Plasma Instabilities, Atomizdat, in Russian

[4] Baumjohann, W., and R. A. Treumann (1997), Basic Space Plasma Physics, Imperial College Press, London.

[5] Zagursky, V. Pilot signal detection in Wireless Sensor Networks (Latvian translation). Online:

[6] Error Functions (TeX). Online:

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