**Question: **You are the mechanical engineer in charge of maintaining the machines in a factory. The plant manager has asked you to evaluate a proposal to replace the current machines with new ones. The old and new machines perform substantially the same jobs, and so the question is whether the new machines are more reliable than the old. You know from past experience that the old machines break down roughly according to a Poisson distribution, with the expected number of breakdowns at 2.5 per month. When one breaks down, $1,500 is required to fix it.

The new machines, however, have you a bit confused. According to the distributor's brochure, the new machines are supposed to break down at a rate of 1.5 machines per month on average and should cost $1,700 to fix. But a friend in another plant that uses the new machines reports that they break down at a rate of approximately 3.0 per month (and do cost $1,700 to fix). (In either event, the number of breakdowns in any month appears to follow a Poisson distribution.) On the basis of this information, you judge that it is equally likely that the rate is 3.0 or 1.5 per month.

a. Based on minimum expected repair costs, should the new machines be adopted?

b. Now you learn that a third plant in a nearby town has been using these machines. They have experienced 6 breakdowns in 3.0 months. Use this information to find the posterior probability that the breakdown rate is 1.5 per month.

c. Given your posterior probability, should your company adopt the new machines in order to minimize expected repair costs?

d. Consider the information given in part b. If you had read it in the distributor's brochure, what would you think? If you had read it in a trade magazine as the result of an independent test, what would you think? Given your answers, what do you think about using sample information and Bayes' Theorem to find posterior probabilities? Should the source of the information be taken into consideration somehow? Could this be done in some way in the application of Bayes' theorem?

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